Beyond Learning Differences
There are 4.6 million school-age children in the U.S. with learning differences, and they can be neighbors, friends, family or even your own children. If you suspect your child has a learning difference, the best place to start is often by seeking the opinion of a medical or educational professional. How can you recognize a learning difference in a child? Possible signs include:
- Becomes easily distracted
- Has difficulty switching from one activity to another
- Loses things or is disorganized
- Struggles to follow verbal directions or complete assignments
- Rushes through assignments and neglects accuracy, quality, or neatness
- Dreads reading aloud or finds independent reading challenging
- Struggles with writing or spelling
- Loses confidence in school
While every child may struggle in one of these areas from time to time, one who experiences several of these issues may have a learning difference. Professional confirmation of a learning difference is the beginning of a journey for the child and his or her family. Accepting, understanding, and succeeding with a learning difference will be unique for each child, and of the many resources available, attending a specialized school can make the journey easier.
“As a mother of three children, I knew there was something different about my youngest son. If you as a parent know that something isn’t right with your child, you are probably right. Take action. Make a change. Early intervention is critical,” said the parent of a current student at the Woodlynde School in Strafford, PA.
It helps to find a school with a nurturing and caring environment combined with a small classroom size. She added, “The small class sizes mean that teachers deeply know each student, and because classes are leveled, they can provide each student with the perfect balance of challenge and flexibility.” Woodlynde School’s classes are designed specifically to meet the needs of students with learning differences and it has a 1:4 teacher-student ratio. Teachers, counselors, and learning specialists get to know each child’s unique learning profile for maximum educational benefit.
When educating K-12 students who learn differently, schools like Woodlynde strive to transform students into independent learners and confident, self-advocates for life. This allows children to experience success, which causes their confidence levels and self-esteem to soar. “Every year matters, and will make a difference. Woodlynde’s dedication to each and every student is life-changing, and I can’t emphasize enough the warmth and care at school – it is truly our son’s other home,” she said.
Combining a caring environment with rigorous college-prep curriculum and innovative learning support helps students begin to understand that there is no limit to their potential. Leveled sections of core classes, including honors and AP-level courses, can help many students experience similar levels of academic rigor as other area college prep schools.
Individualized support from learning specialists who are dedicated to each grade level provides students with the opportunity to succeed in these classes by teaching them to not only understand their unique learning differences, but to also understand the tools and strategies that work best for them. This rigorous curriculum combined with comprehensive learning support prepares Woodlynde students for the academic rigors of college.
When students develop relationship skills, a work ethic and responsible decision-making skills they are able to navigate today’s increasingly interconnected world. Social and emotional learning can be incorporated using approaches such as Responsive Classroom and a variety of in-school and after-school programming. Woodlynde’s after-school programs include 17 varsity sports teams, a student newspaper, National Honor Society, student council, special interest clubs, plays and musicals, and day and overnight trips, which enable students to learn about themselves as they explore the world around them.