Difficulties in spoken, written and pragmatic language can hinder a student’s ability to engage in the learning process.
When new students arrive at Dearborn, we study the most current evaluations and determine whether more assessment is warranted in order to plan for a student’s instruction. Our Learning Center offers diagnostic testing in the areas of reading, writing, mathematics, language and pragmatics to determine appropriate interventions and design an individualized plan that can help students move past their learning challenges and develop strong literacy and comprehension skills.
Our Learning Center provides one-on-one and small group support for students who need assistance with reading, writing and mathematics. While many are struggling with language-based and nonverbal learning disabilities, it is our goal is to get all students working at grade-level or above as quickly as possible.
Our Learning Center specialists are also available to help students improve study and test-taking skills, and to catch up after an absence.
Speech and Language
Impairments in spoken and written language, including pragmatic language, may directly impact a student’s ability to develop age-appropriate skills and may hinder their ability to access grade-level curriculum. Full-time speech pathologists provide services to the almost 50% of our high school students needing speech and language services.
Given that many of our students have language-based or nonverbal learning disabilities, an accurate assessment and recommendation of needed interventions is critical to student success. Areas most frequently addressed include phonemic awareness, articulation, expressive and receptive skills, written language and pragmatics.
Reading and Writing
At Dearborn we use the Wilson Reading System to teach emergent readers and students with language-based learning disabilities. When indicated, instruction is augmented by the Wisnia Kapp Reading Program, a rule-governed multisensory program that involves phonological awareness training using storytelling and imagery.
Students receive specialized instruction in concrete comprehension strategies that are then applied in the classroom. Learning Center special educators, reading specialists, and speech and language pathologists use a multisensory approach including visuals, graphic organizers, and metacognitive strategies that engage students in taking an active role in their learning.
Learning Center teachers assist students in systematically reviewing computational skill areas needing mastery. They also increase students’ ability to use the language of math to solve applied problems. Again, these strategies are applied across the curriculum at Dearborn Academy.
What We Know
The broad educational community knows a lot more than we used to about student and adolescent behavior, how students learn and what causes students to struggle. We know that many students who have reading difficulties have higher than average IQs and that reading difficulties are not all the same. We know that students who can’t sit still are not deficient and that exercise, diet, sleep and the right classroom structure can help students overcome many learning challenges.
We understand the effects that emotional trauma has on learning and how learning differences can promote trauma. We know that students who struggle academically also struggle with a lack of self-esteem, fear and feelings of isolation. There is a critical intersection of learning, therapeutic and emotional support that allows students to recover, re-learn, and re-enter the world happier and better equipped to thrive and be more secure.
Since the 1940s, Dearborn has focused on what it means to learn – especially when a student learns differently – and today we continue to be at the forefront of differentiated learning practices. We are committed to ongoing professional development, so our teachers and staff can avail themselves of the latest research and constantly develop new programs to assure the most positive outcome for each student.
We work with researchers to explore new methods and approaches, and every day we ask, What does teaching – both academic subjects and skill building – look like in this setting?