In a Little Bit of This and That about Dyslexia/ADHD, I said I would brag on Woodland Hall Academy from time to time. Woodland Hall Academy is a nonprofit private school in Tallahassee that has been teaching children with dyslexia/ADHD and related learning differences like Aspergers since 1975. Truly WHA exemplifies the adage, “If they don’t learn the way we teach, we teach the way they learn.”
Woodland Hall Academy meets the student where they are, not at some prescribed point where “they should be.”
Take this true scenario for example:
Does it make sense for a 9th grader who has 5th grade math levels and doesn’t understand the process of dividing, much less fractions – does it make sense to require that 9th grader to take Algebra?
“Well, the State of Florida requires all 9th graders to take Algebra.” This was the reason given for scheduling the student into a situation set up for failure.
Her grandparents did not agree with the scenario and brought the student to Woodland Hall Academy. On top of her dyslexia, she had dyscalculia (a math disability). Math instruction at WHA began with multiplication concepts and processes. Her class consisted of 5 other students ages 13 – 16 who also needed to be taught math beginning at this point. Systematic, multisensory instruction was given and those scowls whenever math was mentioned started turning into confident smiles as math became comprehensible for the first time in their lives.
Woodland Hall Academy proceeds at the students’ pace of learning. If it takes two years for students to learn fractions, percents and decimals, then that’s the amount of time WHA takes to teach it. Time and the proper teaching techniques are needed to allow the students to truly master the material.
I once had a class of five teenagers who were struggling in math. We spent two years learning the processes and concepts in fractions, percents and decimals. Without these mastered, they could not truly succeed in Algebra or move on to higher math. By taking the time, not only did these students succeed in the high school math courses, but they all earned college degrees. One became an engineer and another majored in Business Administration. Time is not a luxury at Woodland Hall Academy; it is a necessity for learning.