How do you decide if you can meet the needs of my child?
We carefully examine each child’s comprehensive diagnostic evaluation to determine if there is a mild to moderate learning disability, and, if so, to see what the underlying learning deficits are. Next, we ask that parents bring their child in for an interview, tour, and placement testing. From this, we obtain information about the types of errors a child makes in oral language, reading, spelling, written language and math as well as in pragmatic language or social skills. We then compare the child’s learning profile and educational needs to those children who will make up the remainder of the class. If the child fits our overall profile and the needs can be met in the group, he/she is appropriate.
How will I know how my child is progressing in your program?
- You will receive two comprehensive written reports each school year describing your child’s achievement in all areas of the curriculum.
- Three formal parent conferences are scheduled throughout the school year. While the classroom teacher leads these conferences, all professionals who work with your child attend a portion of as many conferences as possible. Conferences are scheduled for a minimum of 45 minutes. This gives parents and teachers an opportunity to discuss academic progress, classroom performance approaches being used, social skills, etc. Goals and recommendations are discussed. We encourage our parents’ active participation.
- The Directors of the Wardlaw School work closely with the professional staff and actively engage with our parents. They attend as many conferences as possible. We ask our parents to pick up the phone or send an e-mail to the teacher or Director if you have a question or a concern.
- Formal diagnostic testing, informal progress monitoring, and achievement testing occur throughout the year.
How successful are students once they leave the Wardlaw School?
Based on feedback from parents, schools, and students themselves, we can with confidence say that our students achieve academically and are advocates for their own needs. They are able to use the foundation constructed while in Wardlaw to access their full potential. The life journey of our former students reveals individuals who are resilient and motivated architects of their own achievements.
Do you accept children with emotional or behavioral problems?
Our program serves children diagnosed with a mild to moderate language-based learning disability. We do not accept children whose difficulty with behavioral or emotional regulation would interfere with their ability to learn in a group setting or would interfere with the learning of others.
Does the Wardlaw School accept students with ADHD?
Research studies indicate that between 25% – 40% of students diagnosed with dyslexia also have ADHD. Many of the same areas of the brain are involved in both conditions. Our experience in the Wardlaw School is consistent with these research findings. Our teachers provide parents with important observations regarding how well children are able to manage and direct their attention in the classroom and in less structured settings. We work closely with parents if attentional issues appear to interfere with academic progress or social interactions. We do not accept children who have solely a diagnosis of ADHD.
What is your position on medication for children with ADHD?
In keeping with current research, we believe that ADHD is a neurologically-based problem that, in many cases, is helped by medication. Medication alone, however, may not be the most effective treatment approach. Medication does not remediate learning disabilities, it can only make a child more available for instruction. The diagnosis of ADHD is not the job of a school; it is that of a physician with input from parents, teachers, and other professionals who work with or test the child.
The Wardlaw School classes are small and provide structure that may be sufficient to enable children with ADHD to learn without the need for medical intervention. If, however, a child’s self-image or rate of progress is affected significantly by attention problems, we consider it our responsibility as educational professionals to discuss this with parents and recommend that they consult with a physician to determine whether medication is an option for their child. In addition, teachers will discuss with parents the possible impact of attention problems on a child who is leaving the program and returning to a school with larger classes. If a child is on medication, our teachers provide feedback to parents and physicians to help assure maximum benefit.
Medication is not required by the Atlanta Speech School; however, if our structure is not sufficiently effective and a child’s attention problems interfere with his/her ability to achieve the program goals or with the learning of other children, our program is no longer appropriate. Assistance in finding another placement will be provided.
How does the Wardlaw School fit into the constellation of services offered by the Atlanta Speech School?
The Atlanta Speech School was founded in 1938 to meet the needs of students with hearing loss in the Atlanta area. To further meet the needs of the community, the Language and Learning Disabilities Department of the Atlanta Speech School was created in the 1950s. This was the forerunner of the Wardlaw School. In 1991, as the result of a generous gift, the name of the Language and Learning Disabilities Department was changed to the Wardlaw School of the Atlanta Speech School. It is one of four schools and five clinics under the umbrella of Atlanta Speech School. Each of these schools and clinics has its own mission and meets the needs of a well-defined group of students.
The professionals in the Wardlaw School are highly trained to provide specialized instruction in language and literacy for students who have been identified with dyslexia and related language-based learning disabilities. We are proud of our history of serving the children and families throughout the Atlanta area.
What is offered in the summer and after school?
Our after school program is open to all of our students and offers a wide range of enriching classes. Offerings vary throughout the year. Examples of classes include: chess, cooking, topical science sessions, art, karate.
Our summer programs offer a variety of academic options to keep our students engaged with learning during the summer break. These include both individual and group instruction in reading, written language, math, and study skills. Teachers provide recommendations to parents regarding the type of summer work that would best benefit a student.
There is an additional charge for both of these services.