Reaching out to students with learning disabilities
Steven Spielberg, Whoopi Goldberg, Tim Tebow, and Anderson Cooper are celebrities with dyslexia; while Michael Phelps and Justin Timberlake both have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) – all of whom are well-known celebrities who have managed to not only cope with their learning disabilities, but also excel in their respective fields.
Cynthia Tinsay-Gonzales, owner and school administrator of Reach International School, saw the need for a school catering to people with special needs, particularly those who find difficulty in coping with the academic rigors regular schools, and didn’t have a place to go.
“Reach International School refers to my way of reaching out to all these people who had problems but didn’t know where to go, what to do,” Tinsay-Gonzales shared with Expat.
“Eventually, parents with children with special needs began to approach us, so we had to develop our own special education program and incorporate it with what we were already using.”
Learning support for all
Described by Tinsay-Gonzales as an inclusive academic institution for Kinder to Level 12 students, Reach accepts all kinds of learners. It even has its own testing center, Reach Educational Assessment Division (READ) that can determine a child’s educational performance level, ensuring that every student is assessed accordingly.
According to Tinsay-Gonzales, students with special needs are also likely to struggle with the activities of daily life, while some may have social challenges and intellectual disabilities as well.
She furthers that despite a number children with learning disabilities having an above average IQ, they often have a problem processing information to a degree that leads to an inability to learn at the same pace as their peers – making the matter of providing learning support of paramount importance.
“It is important to note that the children with learning disability need to know about their condition. The responsibility of the school is to find ways for them to work around it,” Tinsay-Gonzales explained.
The Reach difference
Reach International School follows an academic program adapted from the ACE (Accelerated Christian Education) School of Tomorrow (SOT) Curriculum—an innovative educational system developed in the US currently being used in thousands of schools in over 130 countries worldwide.
Like the traditional system, the ACE program has 12 levels, but unlike the traditional system, the ACE program is individualized, meaning that every student progresses independently at their own level of achievement, which can vary through different subjects.
“Chronologically, a student could be Grade 5, but what is the performance level? He can be performing in Grade 3 math, but in all other subjects he is in Grade 5. With Reach, there’s a flexibility in the curriculum to address the gaps,” explained Tinsay-Gonzales of Reach’s student-centric program.
Reach International School is located at Paseo de Magallanes Commerial Center, Makati. For more information, visit www.reachinternatonalschool.edu.ph or call (02) 715-9950.
By VIA BAROMA