Specialized Schools for Dyslexia
There are a number of excellent private schools geared to students with dyslexia — in fact, far too many to list or describe them all in this book. However, a brief profile of some of the schools will help you get a sense of what you might look for. Most schools offer remedial teaching based on traditional Orton-Gillingham principles as well as providing a full academic curriculum. Some of the schools are geared primarily to helping their students gain sufficient proficiency in reading and other academic skills to reenter mainstream schools; others are intended to provide a comprehensive and high-quality education with the expectation that they will retain students through completion of their educational program.
The Assets School in Honolulu, Hawaii, is a combined K-12 day school for gifted children and/or children with dyslexia. The curriculum is individualized and matched to meet each child's specific needs. Faculty are specially trained to provide acceleration, remediation, and enrichment. The school provides a model for providing an environment that nurtures the strengths and gifts of children with dyslexia while at the same time providing support and specialized teaching to assist them in areas of weakness.
The Lab School of Washington
The Lab School of Washington is a K-12 day school with campuses in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland, that offers innovative teaching to students with learning disabilities. The curriculum emphasizes hands-on experimental learning and the use of the arts to teach academic skills. Elementary education incorporates work with computers and storytelling as well as art, with a continual emphasis on project-based learning through junior and senior high school levels. More than 90 percent of Lab School students go on to college.
Many private schools also offer summer sessions that are open to children who are not enrolled during the school year. This may be a good alternative if you are reluctant to enroll your child in a specialized school full time. There are also many summer camp programs for children with dyslexia or related learning problems. Some focus on providing a fun environment to help build self-esteem, but others include extensive tutoring and support.
The Landmark School
Located in Massachusetts, the Landmark School offers both day and boarding programs for children in grades two to twelve. The Landmark academic program emphasizes achievement rather than grade placement levels, with a primary emphasis on development of oral and written language skills at all levels. The elementary program provides a daily one-to-one tutorial for children aged seven to nine; class size is limited to a maximum of six. Middle school children up to age fourteen continue with the daily individual tutorial and receive rigorous remediation in language and other skills in classes of six to eight students. The high school program continues with the same format, but provides a full college preparatory curriculum as well as elective courses and classes in visual and performing arts.
Boarding Schools for Boys
Two boarding schools for boys with dyslexia are the Greenwood School in Putney, Vermont, and the Gow School, located in upstate New York. Both schools offer remedial teaching based on the Orton-Gillingham model, as well as a full academic curriculum.
The Greenwood School is a prepreparatory program for boys aged nine to fifteeen who need special help mastering grade-level skills in reading, writing, spelling, or mathematics. Most Greenwood graduates go on to attend mainstream private and public high schools; only 20 percent continue their secondary studies in specialized remedial schools.
The Gow School offers a college preparatory curriculum to boys in grades seven to twelve. With a 4 to 1 faculty/student ratio, the school provides instruction in classes with three to six students, allowing individualized attention to all students.