Developmental Disabilities Program - Intensive

Population Served

The CASE Developmental Disabilities Programs' Intensive strand serves students grades Preschool - 8 who exhibit significant delays in cognitive development, which may impact all or some of these areas: communication, oral motor, fine motor, gross motor, sensory, vision, hearing, social skills and health.


Program Description

The CASE Developmental Disabilities Programs - Intensive are located in a number of our member district schools and typically provide placement in each location for three years. These programs provide individualized education programming for students preschool through grade eight using a model that focuses on the strengths and needs of the students in all developmental areas. Most instruction is delivered in a 1:1 staff to student ratio. Speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy are integrated into the students' daily schedules, as needed. Generally, therapy is provided within the classroom to enhance the opportunities for coordination of therapy services and classroom programming. For those students who are medically compromised, this program has the capability to serve students who require nursing services in the classroom. The room is air-conditioned to meet the medical needs of students in the class. A registered nurse is typically full time in the classroom.

Various service options are available, in formats ranging from individual to small group instruction. Activities include gross motor group, circle/meeting time, oral motor group, language group, communication activities, fine motor skill development, cognitive work sessions, symbolic or sensory play times, activities of daily living and/or life skills activities. A student may receive therapies such as speech/language therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy, as determined by the IEP. (See our list of services available).



The curriculum for the class is determined by the students' IEPs and follows the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks. Monthly themes and special activities throughout the year are reflected in most aspects of the program, including therapies, as appropriate.


Inclusion Opportunities

All students are identified with age-appropriate grade levels. As appropriate, they may be included in general education activities with their grade level for "specials" (e.g., art, music, physical education, library). Students participate in all school activities and our classrooms often set up special jobs within the school that gives them an opportunity to socialize and practice skills. A CASE staff member accompanies students to inclusionary activities.

In many of the schools, there is an opportunity for reverse mainstreaming.

The Preschool Program is located in the same wing as the Bedford Integrated Preschool within Bedford High School. Activities with typically developing peers are incorporated into the schedule for CASE students, as deemed appropriate by the Team, to enhance the development of language and social skills, and to provide opportunities for the students to practice their skills in a more typical preschool setting.


Home/School Connections

Home/School communication is an important part of the CASE programs. A daily notebook travels between home and school to keep staff and parents current regarding students' progress and to facilitate language use in both settings. Parents can also determine with the teacher if email is a good option. Opportunities for parent involvement include attending Open House and special classroom events, or volunteering in the school. Annual IEP meetings and progress reports also offer additional opportunities for parent/school communication.

The Home/School component of the CASE Developmental Disabilities Programs at the preschool level includes regular consultation with parents, called clinics, throughout the school year that focus on teaching/sharing school programming so that parents can carry over some of these ideas at home.

CASE also provides a parent support group throughout the year. At times, speakers will be brought in to focus on particular topics.


Extended School Year

A five-week summer option is available for students whose IEPs call for an extended year program. The CASE Extended School Year Program, which is currently held at the air-conditioned, Russell Street Elementary School in Littleton, addresses the students' IEP goals and benchmarks over the summer in the same manner as the school year program. Integrated activities with children who do not have special needs, however, are not available during the summer session.


Staffing and Services

  • DESE Certified Special Education Teachers
  • Teaching Assistants
  • Speech and Language Therapists
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Physical Therapists
  • Teacher of the Visually Impaired
  • Deaf/Blind Services
  • Orientation & Mobility Services
  • Consulting Teacher of the Deaf
  • Nursing
  • Reading Specialist
  • Board Certified Behavior Analysts
  • School Counselors
  • CETT (Assistive Technology Team)



Placement in a CASE program follows consensus by the sending school district, parent, and CASE staff. Current, signed IEP and placement pages are required for enrollment in all CASE classes. Referrals to a CASE program are initiated by the school district. Parents may obtain additional information about this or other CASE classes by contacting the special education office in their school district. District personnel may obtain additional information by contacting the CASE office as noted below.


Please direct inquiries and referrals to:

Deanne Cefalo
Program Administrator