“Clayton Academy’s student population includes 30 K-8 students, some of whom have been diagnosed as having mild-to-moderate learning disabilities, attention disorders, autism spectrum disorders and related language and social difficulties. Since 2001, the school’s faculty has used the All Kinds of Minds approach to help them design and implement the best academic program possible for the comprehensive education of students who require a smaller, nurturing learning environment.
Clayton Academy Executive Director Dr. Barbara Geno comments, “We have found our students learn more successfully when we address their individual learning differences with corresponding accommodations and interventions as part of our integration of All Kinds of Minds into our teaching practice.”
At initial parent-teacher conferences (based upon “Management Plans” created through the Attuning a Student process), a neurodevelopmental framework is routinely used to provide parents with a clear, concise tool to enhance their understanding of their children’s learning profiles. Dr. Geno notes that this, coupled with “Learning about Learning Workshops,” has made a marked difference in how parents perceive their children’s academic abilities. Parents describing their children’s experiences at Clayton Academy have made comments such as “….for the first time, my child understands how she learns,” and “….my child was able to verbalize his learning needs.”
In Clayton Academy’s small, multi-sensory and multi-aged classrooms, all students’ learning plans are developed through the Attuning a Student process and tailored to meet their varying needs and skills to be learned. At the same time each student’s self-confidence is supported through “Specialty Classes” designed around the student affinities reflected in the “Affinities Checklist” submitted by each student.
Clayton Academy Director of Special Services Jane Hepler remarks, “We have reformatted our teaching processes, updated and modified our curriculum, and incorporated the basic premise of AKOM—supporting teachers in changing how they describe and respond to students with differences in learning—as we provide the academic foundation necessary for our students to reach their true potential. We have also found that integration of the All Kinds of Minds approach dovetails advantageously with other programs, such as Handwriting Without Tears®, the S.P.I.R.E. Reading Program®, etc.”