What Makes The Total Learning Center Unique
All of the staff at The Total Learning Center are highly trained in multi-sensory teaching. There is a close collaboration between the parents, school and the staff at the center. The child’s emotional, educational, and social needs are all considered when a program is developed.
The staff actively participates in developing a school program for the child that will lead to his/her overall success. All instructors are highly trained in the Wilson Language Curriculum which is an Orton Gillingham based program. This program provides direct instruction in letter to speech sound association, decoding (word attack), spelling and written language skills application.
The staff has been formally trained in all aspects of this curriculum. The staff is highly skilled in incorporating into each lesson supplemental strategies and concepts that will further reinforce concepts taught in the Wilson Curriculum. The lesson plans are designed to meet the needs of the student or small group on a daily basis and are modified after each lesson based on the student’s ever changing academic needs.
Until mastery learning occurs, each lesson needs to be written based on the strengths and weaknesses of the student’s performance on the previous lesson. Each lesson is written to insure that the student will experience success based on their learning style. Since activities change throughout the lesson, children who have difficulty sustaining attention can be engaged throughout the session.
The Wilson Program: School vs. Total Learning Center
The Wilson Program was designed as a diagnostic and prescriptive program with the lesson plan written and developed by an educator with an expertise in instructing the dyslexic child. There are 10 parts to the lesson plan and each part of the lesson is written based on the child’s trouble spots and areas that need to be addressed in order to advance in the program.
Each day measurable progress is charted working towards 95% accuracy and fluency in both reading and spelling before advancing to the next sub-step in the curriculum. Measurable mastery learning is essential before the student advances.
In the school setting often the students do not have the required 45 – 60 minutes set aside specifically for this curriculum and it often is mixed with traditional reading programs. In order for this program to be executed with integrity the criteria developed by the Wilson Curriculum must be strictly adhered to which leads to mastery and automaticity.
At the Total Learning Center, the educational needs of the student and his/her ability to sustain attention determines if the student is provided with private or small group instruction. In the public setting often children are placed in a group based on the availability of the instructor and the student’s schedule.
Some of the teachers in the public school setting are using the Wilson curriculum without formal training or have completed a week-end workshop rather than being certified in the program.
All students must be tested by Marge Weiner, the director before placement in private or small groups. Testing is done by appointment only. Testing and consultation takes approximately one to one and one half hours to complete.
After the testing is completed, Marge Weiner will meet with the parents and discuss the results and make specific recommendations in terms of remediation needed and accommodations that would benefit the student in the classroom. The parents are encouraged to bring in any testing that has already been done by the school: 504 plans and I.E.P.’s (Individual Educational Plan), so that a program can be developed that will best meet the student’s educational needs during the remedial process.
Testing is done once a week in the mornings during the school year and can be scheduled by calling the center.
As a result of the testing specific recommendations are made in terms of further testing that may be needed by an audiologist, neurologist or psychologist when needed.
Often parents contact this center due to the frustration of the parents who cannot receive formal evaluation by the Child Study Team. The testing can further document for the parents and the school the student’s learning profile specifically in the areas of sounds, decoding, spelling, reading comprehension and writing skills.
Based on the results of the testing the parents can share this information with the child’s school, in the hope of obtaining services through the school. Many parents choose to attend classes at The Total Learning Center with close collaboration with the staff at their child’s school, so that the remediation can be successful.