Finding a School for a Verbally, Visually Gifted boy with a Processing Disability

When your child has special educational needs, you'll fight to make sure he gets the best education possible. When I was in school, too many years to count, schools were starting to address learning disabilities and special needs. Schools were still a one size fits all method with an emphasis on written analysis of a child's knowledge. Today there are so many options and various programs for children with a vast array of learning disorders.

In Alberta there are so many schools to choose from that I found it a little overwhelming. French Immersion, German Immersion, Spanish Immersion, International French, Science focused, Math focused, traditional, for gifted students, for sports students, and what we finally choose - Fine Arts based.

I wanted to make sure my son got the best education for his special needs and I finally found it. Since birth he was always ahead when it came to developmental milestones by months. In kindergarten and grade one his teachers were amazed by his reading and verbal abilities and mentioned that he may be gifted. In grade 2 his teacher noticed that although he was very skilled verbally and read at a grade 4 level, his writing was below his age level and he was having problems staying focused in class.

The teacher suspected ADD - don't they all! Thankfully the school administration is very proactive in assessing children's needs and didn't just arbitrarily label him ADD because the psychologist was able to discover that he was bored and had a hard time processing what he wanted in written format. Granted he does have a huge imagination and spends a lot of time in it, but he doesn't have ADD.

I am very thankful that there are so many options out there for families who want to offer their children an education that is different from the one size fits all type. Although my son's former school did everything they could to meet his needs and provide him with help, it was limited because of the number of children with different needs. Last year he was different, the only one in a class of over 20 that needed a scribe and had special computer privileges. Now there are 10 kids in his class who receive a photocopy of the class notes to help them follow along and he's not the only one who can't get his written journal done. This has improved his self esteem because he doesn't feel alone or special anymore. This school is amazing and I am grateful that it is available for children like my son.


Anonymous said...

I live in California and I'm looking for a school to address my son's special needs. He's also twice gifted (bright but also special needs), and he is challenged with auditory process and expressing through writing. He is only in kindergarten, but we are laready seeing issues. Does the school you found have a specific type of learning curriculum. I'm investigating to see if Waldorf might be a better model. Any thoughts?

Carennedy said...

I am not familiar with the Waldorf School. What is important is that the school provide an IPP for your child, an individualized program plan. It enables the teacher to provide your child with special considerations based on the child's goals.

For my son, a school that enabled him to be assessed via verbal means and enabled him to present his projects orally and given extra time for written work. It helped that the school provided him with challenges and engaged him via methods that interested him, like drama.

Know your child's needs and make sure the school is equiped to manage them.


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