School Options: A Different Approach Leads to Different Results

Imagine what it would be like if your child didn’t have to struggle in school, if homework didn’t have to take hours and hours, if your child was excited about learning and going to school. Your life and your child’s life would be different.

Students with learning and attention challenges can and should become good readers, good learners, and confident, independent young people. The Therapeutic Literacy Center School Options Program is committed to helping students grades 2 – 12 to be successful in school and in life.

The School Options Program is a unique, flexible, and completely individualized approach to helping students achieve academically and become the best learners they can be.

School Isn’t Working for My Child

Traditional school works for most kids, but research tells us that about 30 percent of any population has some degree of difficulty with reading or school. For this and a variety of other reasons, school just isn’t working for some students.

When School Isn’t Working Because Of Learning or Attention Challenges…

Learning requires a strong set of underlying learning, or processing, skills. These are the mental tools that need to be solidly in place in order to learn efficiently in school. These include such skills as memory, attention, auditory and visual processing, processing speed, motor organization, and reasoning.

When children struggle with learning, there is usually something in these underlying processing skills that is weak or not supporting the learner well enough.

Weaknesses with underlying processing skills will stress a person’s attention. This does not mean that the learner has attention deficit disorder. ADD or ADHD can certainly cause difficulties with learning and following through with schoolwork and class work, but many attention challenges are a symptom of weak processing or learning skills, not the real problem.

What we know about learning challenges is that most can be permanently corrected. Current brain research and vast amounts of clinical evidence prove that the brain can develop new and more efficient ways of processing information. Skills such as reading or math that were hard to learn before can be learned and retained much more easily.

This is not an overnight process. It takes consistency, intensity, and specifically targeted instruction to retrain the brain. But it can be done and the outcome is well worth it. Students quit trying to just survive school and actually achieve and enjoy success. They get the opportunity to reach their potential and have the future they should have.

When School Isn’t Working For Social Reasons…

Having friends and fitting-in socially is important for everyone, but weak underlying processing/learning skills can get in the way of some children being successful in the social arena.

One of the most heart-warming outcomes of improving learning skills is that students often begin to make and keep friendships for the very first time.

Better underlying learning skills allow students to understand what is happening around them more easily and accurately, communicate better and more appropriately, and act more mature, resulting in improved social skills.

We are very aware of how important friends and social interactions are for students. In the School Options Program, we provide many safe, fun opportunities for students to interact with each other. Learners who need specific coaching on social skills get guidance and practice in a secure, supportive environment so that they can carry these skills with them outside the learning center.

Each student’s program is created specifically for him or her and taught on a one-to-one basis, allowing for a great deal of flexibility to meet student and family needs.

This is not a one-size fits all: Each learner is different. Therefore the specific focus of their instruction should be different. Instruction is tailored so that students get value and growth out of every session.

Intensity and focus: Retraining the brain to process information more effectively requires targeted, intensive instruction using specialized and specific programs and techniques.

Remediation of basic academic skills also requires intensive, frequent instruction so that gains can be made rapidly, stopping the cycle of getting further behind every year.

One-to-One Instruction: Working on a one-to-one basis allows us to adjust the instruction to the student. We want to move students forward as rapidly as possible without leaving holes in the learning. Students working one-to-one get immediate feedback so that they never practice doing skills incorrectly.

Flexible scheduling: Our School Options Program follows the regular school year calendar. However, because we work with each student individually, we are able to tailor the schedule to each family’s needs. Students need to complete 180 days of school – either part time or full time or some combination with their current school of enrollment.

The primary goals of the School Options Program are:

  1. To help students to permanently resolve their learning challenges so that they can successfully learn in any setting.
  2. To bring reading, spelling, math, writing, and study skills up to the student’s grade level. With these skills in place, students are equipped to expand their knowledge in other subject areas and perform well with school and work assignments.
  3. To provide a learning environment that supports the whole learner, building confidence, independence, problem solving, social skills, and enjoyment of learning.Academic instruction will be aligned with California state standards.