The world can be a very daunting place for children with learning disabilities, and so can the classroom. Their days are filled with visual and audio cues that they don’t know how to use. The same instructions that other students find simple or boring to follow are met with a lack of understanding about what is expected of them. Although they are sitting in the same classroom with a number of other kids, they are not a part of it or the world in which they live.
The availability of special education services in the public schools may prevent parents from seeing the value of schools for learning disabilities in Westchester. They believe that the time they spend with specialized teachers will give them a better opportunity to learn. There are a number of reasons that this may not be the case, including:
- Lack of Funding – Public school systems are consistently having their budgets cut, especially in the area of special education. In most schools, there simply aren’t enough children with these needs to justify spending a large portion of their budget on hiring teachers with these special skills to work with students in smaller groups, let alone providing them with the one-on-one time they really need.
- Standardized Testing – The government requires children with learning disabilities to take standardized testing just as every other child in the school is required to do. This means that the teachers must focus on improving skills that will help the children pass the test.
- A Different Kind of Learning – Children with learning disabilities don’t lack intelligence; they just find it more challenging to learn and need special types of teaching to help them overcome those challenges. It is a lot like repeating a message to someone in a language they don’t understand. No matter how many times you say it, they aren’t going to understand the message. When you change to a language they do understand, they will know what you are trying to tell them.
John Cardinal O’Connor is a school for children with learning disabilities in Westchester that provides resources and special education services to children who learn differently. We have educators who are highly knowledgeable and skilled in special education programs and applications.
Our instructors rely on multisensory teaching techniques and follow the Orton-Gillingham based reading program, Preventing Academic Failure (PAF) to provide each individual student with a well-rounded education. Failing to give them the help they need in spelling, reading, and writing today will prevent them from reaching their potential in the future.
Teaching for Today and Tomorrow
The subjects that children study in school are built on each year. They must first learn their alphabet before they learn to spell. They must add before they can work formulas. Specialized teachers understand that helping children secure the basics is the first step in learning what they need to lead independent successful lives as adults.
Potential is an especially pertinent word when discussing children with learning disabilities, since many of them excel beyond their expectations when they are given the tools they need. Without them, children may never eventually have the ability to live alone and make a living. They may also lack social skills and fail to pursue any of their dreams or interests. This outcome is not due to their inability; it is due to their not having had the education that would allow them to reach their potential.
Teachers play a valuable role in every child’s life. For the child with a learning disability, no other person plays a more valuable role in bridging the gaps that public education too often leaves behind. Schools for learning disabilities are not just places to put all the kids who “can’t keep up” or who are “too slow to learn.” John Cardinal O’Connor is a place where kids who learn differently will get the value of specialized teaching skills every day, all day long.