They are there for them

Broadfording Christian Academy has developed program to help students with learning disabilities

Broadfording Christian Academy has developed program to help students with learning disabilities

October 22, 2007

Broadfording Christian Academy's mission to meet the needs of all learners exists through not only college-preparatory academics, but also services for students with learning disabilities.

BCA has developed a program for students with learning disabilities through the National Institute for Learning Disabilities. The educational therapy program is designed to treat students with learning disabilities by working with the underlying cause of the difficulty, turning students into independent thinkers inside and outside the classroom.

Two certified therapists, Christy Spicer and Ginger Brindley, are trained to work with students, assisting in students' ability to think, reason and process information.

Spicer is the director of the program at BCA. She said she has always had a passion for children with special learning needs. Spicer said her master's program in special education focused on changing the outside factors of a child's education, such as the curriculum, environment or instruction; there was never a chance to learn how to help a student strenghten or overcome their weaknesses.


"I never thought I would be able to offer this kind of hope to students with learning disabilities," Spicer said.

The therapists said the program offers a unique approach to helping children with learning disabilities. Students involved in therapy are taught to think clearly and effectively for themselves.

They said skills given to students by the program's therapists allow the students to overcome their learning weaknesses.

Educational therapists are trained to develop language and thinking through asking students questions, giving students a chance to defend and reflect upon their answers.

Research has shown that the students' ability to think can be changed through intensive, focused attention from program therapists. The attention from the therapists, given over an extended period of time, transforms students from dependent to independent thinkers.

"NILD Educational Therapy is not a quick fix. It requires a minimum of three years for students to progress sufficiently so they can become independent learners," Brindley said.

This style of educational therapy is an investment for parents, but one that can have positive effects on a child's future.

"I have worked with this program for 13 years and have seen students whose parents thought they would never go to college complete not only a bachelor's degree, but also begin pursuing a master's degree," Brindley said.

BCA Principal Rick Burkett said adding the NILD Education Therapy programs to the academy embraces the school's vision to meet the needs of all types of learners.

"I think there is a common perception that all private schools only take students with the highest test scores, and so on. But our vision is more inclusive," Burkett said.

Burkett's only regret is that the school still has a small staff and a small space for the program.

"We've found something here that works, and it is opening doors for students who might otherwise fall through the cracks or who might be passed along without really overcoming a learning deficit," Burkett said.

More information about NILD Educational Therapy at BCA can be obtained by calling the academy at 301-797-8886, ext. 161.

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