Content Editor

Sep 25
SIMMER, SIMR, -- What is Everyone Talking About????

Jean Polichino, OTR, MS, FAOTA
Senior Director, School-Based Therapy Services, Harris County Dept. of Education

test.bmpThe season for witches, broomsticks and simmering potions has arrived! Wait – simmering? Didn’t I hear that recently in some TEA communique???? Oh yes, that was “SIMR.” What on earth is a “SIMR?”

Every six years, the U.S. Department of Education (U.S.DOE) requires states to develop a State Systemic Improvement Plan for the education of children with disabilities. This plan specifies indicators for improvement in performance (graduation and drop-out rates, suspensions/expulsions, participation and proficiency, etc.), with each state setting targets for students within its borders. Beginning in 2013, the U.S. DOE also requires that each state develop it’s own unique SIMR, e.g., a statement articulating the overarching result a State intends to achieve through the implementation of its plan. It has to be an observable child-level outcome that will show whether or not the state is making real progress in improving the education of students with disabilities. Here is the SIMR developed for the state of Texas:
(Texas will) Increase the reading proficiency rate for all children with disabilities in grades 3 – 8 against grade level and alternate achievement standards, with or without accommodations.
In coming months, you will see and hear more about this literacy focus where you serve. As occupational and physical therapists, we have a unique knowledge base that can significantly contribute to local efforts to address this important outcome. It is a great opportunity to showcase our unique perspectives and critical skill-sets in problem-solving for children with disabilities.
What ideas are “SIMR-ing” just beneath the surface that will demonstrate your value in this priority effort for our state? I’ve included a few of mine to get you thinking....
§  Seating and positioning solutions
§  Computer/IPad access solutions
§  Strategies for visual tracking
§  Software ideas for reducing writing barriers