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All media inquiries and questions should be sent in writing to Theresa Kinsinger, Director of Organizational Services.

  • Trinity High School takes second in state quiz bowl championships

    May 18, 2018
    Trinity High School 2018 Quiz Bowl Team

    Trinity High School's quiz bowl team competed in the Pennsylvania State Academic Competition in Harrisburg on April 27. Twenty-two high school teams who won regional competitions across the state competed in matches that tested their knowledge of history, arts, literature, geography, science and current events. Trinity represented the Capital Area Intermediate Unit’s region.

    After the initial rounds of competition, Trinity was tied for fourth place and qualified for the afternoon playoff matches. In the semi-finals, Trinity narrowly outscored Allentown Central Catholic to gain one of three spots in the finals. The championship match slated Trinity against Great Valley High School from Chester County and Friends Select from Philadelphia. The final contest remained close throughout, but Great Valley pulled away at the end. Our team finished in second place as the state runner-up. Trinity was awarded a $500 scholarship for the second-place finish.

    Trinity’s quiz bowl team consisted of senior Andrew Bowman, and sophomores Connor Coyle, Luke Capper, Michael Staiger and Greyson Sheller.

  • Hearing Loss Common in School-aged Children

    May 01, 2018

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    Close to 15 percent of U.S. children ages 6-19 experiencing hearing loss. May is Better Hearing & Speech Month and it is the ideal time for parents to learn more about the sometimes-subtle signs of hearing loss, ways it can affect school-aged children, and where to find help.

    Hearing loss can affect a child’s success in school in various ways. These include problems with language arts, vocabulary, reading, math, and problem solving as well as lower scores on achievement and verbal IQ tests. It can also contribute to social and behavioral problems inside and outside the classroom.

    To help a child with hearing loss reach their full academic potential, CAIU recommends the following to parents:

    • Know your child’s rights—All children in the Unites States are entitled to free appropriate public education under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Education services designed to meet the individual educational needs of qualified students with disabilities (including hearing loss) are provided by school districts.
    • Maximize achievement—When it comes to managing hearing loss in schools, the use of an individualized education program (IEP) maximizes a child’s success in the educational setting. The IEP may specify audiology services, speech-language pathology services, and services of teachers of the deaf or hard of hearing. Parents have a right to participate in these meetings and are a vital part of the process.
    • Champion classroom technology—Technology, such as an FM system, can make it easier for a child using a hearing aid or cochlear implant to hear and understand speech in a noisy classroom. Other technology solutions, such as a sound-field system, can benefit all kids in the classroom. Your IEP team should consider the specific and unique technology needs of your child.
    • Encourage effective teaching strategies—Talk to your child’s teacher about easy ways for them to help your child. Basic strategies—such as seating a child near the front, not turning one’s back while speaking, giving both verbal and written instructions on assignments, and using visual aids—can go a long way.
    • Educate about noisy classrooms—Noise makes it more difficult for children with hearing loss to hear classroom instruction, and it is actually a distraction for many children. Inform school personnel about ways they can make classrooms quieter. Easy techniques include placing rugs or carpets over bare floors, turning off noisy classroom equipment when not in use, and placing latex-free caps on chair legs.
  • Communication Disorders Among the Most Common Childhood Disabilities

    May 01, 2018

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    With 11 percent of children ages 3-6 having a speech, language, voice, or swallowing disorder—and almost 15 percent of school-age children experiencing some degree of hearing loss—communication disorders are among the most common disabilities in children nationwide. May is Better Hearing & Speech Month and the CAIU is urging families to learn the early signs of these disorders and seek an assessment if they have concerns.

    Hearing loss is evaluated and treated by audiologists. Speech and language disorders are evaluated and treated by speech-language pathologists. Warning signs of these disorders are listed below.

    Language disorders

    • Does not smile or interact with others (birth and older)
    • Does not babble (4–7 months)
    • Makes only a few sounds or gestures, like pointing (7–12 months)
    • Does not understand what others say (7 months–2 years)
    • Says only a few words (12–18 months)
    • Words are not easily understood (18 months–2 years)
    • Does not put words together to make sentences (1.5–3 years)
    • Has trouble playing and talking with other children (2–3 years)
    • Has trouble with early reading and writing skills (2½–3 years) 

    Speech sound disorders

    • Says p, b, m, h, and w incorrectly in words (1–2 years)
    • Says k, g, f, t, d, and n incorrectly in words (2–3 years)
    • Produces speech that is unclear, even to familiar people (2–3 years)

    Stuttering 

    • Repeats first sounds of words—“b-b-b-ball” for “ball”
    • Speech breaks while trying to say a word—“-----boy” for “boy”
    • Stretches sounds out—“ffffff-farm” for “farm”
    • Shows frustration when trying to get words out

    Voice disorders

    • Uses a hoarse or breathy voice
    • Uses a nasal-sounding voice

    Hearing loss

    • Shows a lack of attention to sounds (birth–1 year)
    • Does not respond when you call their name (7 months–1 year)
    • Does not follow simple directions (1–2 years)
    • Shows delays in speech and language development (birth–3 years)
    • Pulls or scratches at their ears
    • Has difficulty achieving academically, especially in reading and math
    • Is socially isolated and unhappy at school
    • Has persistent ear discomfort after exposure to loud noise (regular and constant listening to electronics at high volumes)
    Families can learn more about these signs, get tips for helping their child, and find a searchable database of the professionals who treat communication disorders at http://IdentifytheSigns.org.
  • CAIU Innovation Grant winners develop alternative communication systems camp for families

    Jan 31, 2018
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    Jill Bradley and Yvonne Shreffler, preschool speech pathologists at Capital Area Intermediate Unit, recently won a CAIU Innovation Grant to develop a camp for nonverbal preschoolers and their families who communicate or wish to communicate with Augmented and Alternative Communication Systems (AAC). The two-day camp, named Let’s Talk AAC, will be held April 20 and 21.

    Let’s Talk AAC will provide parent education and activities for children ages two and a half years through preschool who are nonverbal and use AAC to communicate. The first day will feature a parent training session while children practice using their system in fun learning stations with trained volunteers. Parents and children will also have the opportunity to do activities together. During the second day, parents and children will go on a scavenger hunt at the Capital City Mall. During the hunt, parents will assist their children with functional use of their system to encourage children to ask questions and request items.

    What is AAC?
    AAC users use a variety of communication systems. Systems range from no tech to high tech and include sign language, gestures, picture exchange systems, language boards, and a variety of voice output systems that range from simple switches that say pre-programmed words or phrases to apps on tablets to specially designed computer systems with built-in language.

  • Spring Sign Language Classes

    Jan 19, 2018
    Registration is open for the following Sign Language Classes which are scheduled on Tuesdays from 6-8:00pm, February 20 to April 10, 2018.

    Level I - This is a beginner class. No previous experience with sign language is needed. The course will include ABC's and numbers, basic vocabulary, light conversation and an introduction to Deaf Culture.

    Level II - Not available for Spring Session

    Level III - This class will focus on using ASL in conversation. It is designed for those who have completed Levels 1 and 2 and would like more exposure to American Sign Language. Topics covered will include classifiers, non-manual markers, idioms, and ASL grammar within conversational topics.

    Deadline to register is Monday, February 12, 2018.

    For more information regarding registration and to view the brochure please Click Here.
  • CAIU BOARD TO CONSIDER APPOINTMENT OF EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

    Dec 06, 2017

    Saia, AEnola, PA – After an extensive search and interview process from a rich pool of candidates, the Capital Area Intermediate Unit (CAIU) Board of Directors will consider the appointment of Dr. Andria Saia as the Executive Director of the CAIU at a special board meeting to be held on Thursday, December 7, at 8:00 a.m. at the Capital Area Intermediate Unit, 55 Miller Street, Enola, PA. 

    The CAIU Board of Directors received applications from top educators in the tristate area. Among the applicants were superintendents, assistant superintendents, and candidates with extensive experience as administrators at intermediate units.  

    The finalist, Dr. Andria Saia, was most recently the Assistant Superintendent of the Chester Upland School District, where she managed student services and transportation; oversaw board policy and administrative regulations and the supervision of secondary principals; and served on the Superintendent’s leadership team and as the union liaison.

    “We are extremely pleased to appoint a person with Dr. Saia’s experience and background as the next Executive Director of the Capital Area Intermediate Unit,” said Jean Rice, President of the CAIU Board of Directors. “She will be able to continue and expand upon the great work of the CAIU under leadership of Cindy Mortzfeldt.”

    Mrs. Mortzfeldt will be retiring at the end of December after working at CAIU for more than 31 years.

    “Dr. Saia’s experience as an assistant superintendent, intermediate unit administrator, and attorney provide her with a unique set of experiences and skills that will serve CAIU and its member districts very well,” said Rice.

    Prior to Chester Upland, Dr. Saia supervised special programs at the Delaware County Intermediate Unit in southeastern Pennsylvania. She also was a practicing attorney and a shareholder for 10 years in a law firm specializing in school law, where she provided legal services to school districts across the Commonwealth.

    “I am honored and excited to be chosen to lead the Capital Area IU in sustaining and improving the great work of its educators,” said Dr. Saia.  “Borrowing a quote from Anne Frank that I have always thought profoundly applicable to education: 'how wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.’”

    Dr. Saia will begin her duties as CAIU Executive Director on January 1, 2018. The CAIU Board of Directors was assisted in the search process by the Chester County Intermediate Unit. The Chester County Intermediate provides executive search services to school districts and intermediate units throughout the Commonwealth.

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  • Elizabeth Sheaffer receives the 2017/18 Josephine J. Decima Award for Excellence in the Field of Special Education

    Dec 04, 2017
    Elizabeth Sheaffer, 2017 CAIU Decima Award Winner

    The Capital Area Intermediate Unit is proud to announce that Elizabeth Sheaffer, a teacher at Boiling Springs High School, is the winner of this year’s Decima award. Sheaffer is an educator in a multiple disabilities classroom, which she likes to refer to as a multiple abilities classroom. The Decima award was established to honor the life of the late Josephine Decima, a former CAIU educator, who helped pioneer the field of special education in central Pennsylvania. Sheaffer was presented with the award at the South Middleton School Board Meeting on December 4.

    “My older brother was born with a chromosomal abnormality and diagnosed at birth with cerebral palsy, mental retardation, deafness and blindness,” said Sheaffer. “It is his positive educational experiences [at Western Pennsylvania School for the Blind Children] that lured me to this teaching profession and led me to believe that every single child deserves an opportunity to be educated, no matter how severe his or her disabilities are.”

    Sheaffer said she is honored to receive the Decima Award, but added that student success is a team effort that includes passionate paraprofessionals, knowledgeable therapists and supportive administrators.

     

    About Josephine Decima

    During her nearly 40-year career in teaching, Josephine J. Decima was a pioneer in the field of special education in central Pennsylvania. She believed that students with special needs were entitled to a strong academic program supplemented by life-skills training. She fought tirelessly to improve instructional programs and experiences for children with physical and mental challenges. Decima was a lifelong advocate for special-needs children, and an inspirational role model for teachers.

    The CAIU proudly established the Josephine J. Decima Award in 2010 to recognize and honor teachers who exemplify her outstanding work on behalf of students with special needs.

  • CAIU Executive Director Search Underway

    Nov 06, 2017

    The CAIU Board of Directors has been working with the Chester County Intermediate Unit to search for an executive director to replace Cindy Mortzfeldt, who is retiring in December.

    The position has been advertised throughout the commonwealth and tristate areas. In addition, focus groups have been conducted with superintendents and administrators from school districts served by CAIU, as well as with CAIU staff and parents. From the focus groups, the board will develop a candidate profile and an array of interview questions that center on the needs and challenges facing the intermediate unit.

    The CAIU Board of Directors is on target to have the search process completed by late fall in order to have an executive director who can assume his or her responsibilities at the CAIU in December 2017 or as soon as possible thereafter.

    We look forward to working with the community to bring an outstanding educational leader to CAIU!

  • Deadline Extended for Nominations for the Decima Award in Special Education

    Oct 03, 2017

    Do you know an educator who goes above and beyond in the area of special education? Please consider nominating them for the 2017 Josephine J. Decima Award. This award is presented annually to a teacher in the CAIU’s service area whose commitment and service in the field of special education epitomizes the qualities that Josephine Decima demonstrated in her work with children.

    The winner will be honored by the CAIU and presented with a $500 monetary award donated by the Decima family.   

    Nominees should demonstrate:

    • Advocacy for the educational needs of all children, especially those with physical and mental challenges.
    • Compassion for students with special needs.
    • Commitment to help children with special needs become a vital part of the community.
    • Effort to provide valuable and practical life experiences for students with special needs.
    • Willingness to share knowledge, skills, and experiences with colleagues in order to strengthen educational programs and pedagogy.

    Nominations
    Nominations can come from professionals or the community. Nominees must be an educator of students with special needs who works within the CAIU service area, and must hold PA Level II Certification in the area of special education.

    2017 Decima Award Nomination Instructions and Application
    (Download to complete application)

    Nomination Deadline: Friday, November 10, 2017

  • Fall Sign Language Classes

    Sep 06, 2017
    Registration is open for the following Sign Language Classes which are scheduled on Tuesdays from 6-8:00pm, September 19 to November 14, 2017.

    Level I - UPDATE: THIS CLASS HAS BEEN CANCELLED

    Level II - This class assumes that the participant has acquired basic skills taught in an introductory course. The course will continue vocabulary development. Level II will also introduce classifiers, directionality, and some basic ASL grammar.

    Deadline to register is Tuesday, September 12, 2017.

    For more information regarding registration and to view the brochure please Click Here.