Woodland Hall Academy (WHA) was designed around the philosophy that dyslexia is not just a reading problem and ADHD is not just hyperactivity or inattention. These are neurological differences that affect learning and language, and hence every aspect of life. A dyslexic has as much difficulty learning appropriate right and wrong as they do left and right or learning to read. They are simply wired differently, which can be an asset if they learn how to learn their way. ADHD often coexists with dyslexia. WHA is an ADHD medication free school. We address the issues created by ADHD with behavioral interventions, unique teaching techniques and diet and allergy control so that the child
with ADHD will learn to focus and use their energy and attention in productive ways.
Therefore, WHA is designed from a holistic approach to address learning, social interaction, and behavior, and these are taught with highly systematic, multisensory teaching strategies that address the difference in the student’s neurological makeup. The student is engaged through a patterned, three-part lesson borrowed from Montessori to move from concrete to literal to abstract use (application) of whatever they are being taught. In combination with the three-part lesson and multisensory instruction, each new skill or piece of information is taught and built on previously learned behavior or information, so the system is deductive and didactic. The skill or information becomes the students’ own and they can use this information to add new information. In other words they are taught how to learn their way and to enjoy the process of learning.
In addition to its focus on teaching academic skills, Woodland Hall Academy is unique in that it provides a safe environment with limits and with expectations that the students will be the best they can be, developing positive self concepts, appropriate social behaviors, self control, and a feeling of being a part of the community, not outside or isolated from the community.
Unfortunately, most of our students’ learning differences – be they dyslexia, ADHD, or Aspergers – are not recognized or properly diagnosed until they have been pretty beaten up by the education system. Most are pretty damaged by the time a parent finds proper intervention, so WHA is like a good rehabilitation center for a wounded soldier.
We have to put them back together by having realistic success and expectations, giving them skills piece by piece and expecting (and helping) them to succeed, not fail. When they develop the same expectation of themselves and gain full independence, they go on with their lives without the fear of failure, knowing they have developed the behavior and coping skills that will allow them to compete in the productive world as an adult. They leave WHA able to have positive, successful lives without undue stress. They are allowed to become productive, self-sufficient citizens and to be the best they can be.
Patricia K. Hardman, Ph.D.
Founder and CEO
How Woodland Hall Academy Came to Be
Dr. Patricia K. Hardman founded Woodland Hall Academy in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1969. Some parents from Tallahassee learned of this unique program and began to take their students to Charleston in order for their child to attend the Summer Program. One summer, 16 students from Tallahassee spent the summer in Charleston attending Woodland Hall Academy’s Summer Program.
Dr. Miley Miers and Mrs. Pat Krause along with several other parents asked Dr. Hardman to open a school in Tallahassee. In 1975, in the little one-room schoolhouse at the end of Velda Dairy Road, Woodland Hall Academy was established in Tallahassee. The present building housing Woodland Hall Academy was constructed in 1979 at which time the school moved into its permanent location at 5246 Centerville Road.
Dyslexia Research Institute, Inc. Board of Directors
Woodland Hall Academy is a program of the Dyslexia Research Institute, Inc., a nonprofit 501(c) 3 organization. Dyslexia Research Institute is governed by a volunteer board of directors.
Dyslexia Research Institute also offers adult programs, career consultation, advocacy, teacher training, and other resources for individuals inquiring about dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorders and related learning/language differences. (www.dyslexia-add.org)
On behalf of Woodland Hall Academy, we would like to extend a very warm welcome to you and hope that our website will give you an insight into life at our school and what makes it such a special place.
At Woodland Hall, we pride ourselves in the fact that we know and care for each and every one of our students and that we place them at the heart of everything that we do. Our sole purpose is to help each individual with learning differences unlock the way they learn so that they can develop their true potential. The rich, varied and inspiring curriculum is planned to enable every student to have access to high quality learning experiences matched closely to individual need within a safe, secure and stimulating environment. We are dedicated to excellence and enjoyment in all aspects of school life, as well as helping mold the future of your next leaders. By doing so, they will have the opportunity to give back – just as so many of our current staff and board members have done. Woodland Hall Academy’s board members are volunteers who come from all aspects of our local community and give their time and energy to ensure that students achieve overall growth. Their efforts are comprised primarily of fund raising, developing grant initiatives and other financial enterprises to help provide scholarships and keep the program within financial reach of families.
Partnered with the amazing daily work of our school staff, together we strive to see that each student will achieve his or her full potential. Whether you are a parent of a child or a supporter of our life-changing mission, we encourage you to become fully involved in all aspects of the wonderful environment of Woodland Hall Academy. No website can fully convey the nature of a school, so I would personally like to invite you to visit Woodland Hall Academy and to experience for yourself our friendly, vibrant and dynamic learning environment.
The heart of our children’s education lies in our partnership with you.