East Hill Academy provides educational services to children with serious learning disabilities. A learning disability is generally speaking a neurobiological condition that impacts how a person takes in information, how they integrate that information and how they retrieve it. More simply stated, it means that these children process and learn information differently. It means that their “learning style” is different and needs to be addressed differently in order for understanding to take place. EHA has developed a unique, highly structured educational delivery system and combines it with diversely structured classrooms to meet the distinctive and challenging needs of our students.
EHA’s success in improving the academic, social and emotional achievements of our students is through a combination of specialized computer-assisted instruction, customized curriculum, specially designed classrooms and well qualified staff.
Children with learning disabilities often exhibit significant difficulties learning through traditional methods. Research has been striving to find new ways to improve the overall academic achievement of these students by implementing computer technology in the classroom.
In several studies, Williams et. al. (2002) and Moore & Calvert (2000) research suggest that computer-assisted instruction may be more effective for teaching certain skills than direct instruction. The evidence in these studies indicates that the use of computer-assisted instruction is positively correlated to the student’s motivation, attention span, time on task and information learned.
Using technology is an effective method of improving a student’s academic motivation, attitude, interest and performance. It gives children with learning disabilities more opportunities to engage in basic skills practice and communication activities. Using computer technology can provide appropriate reinforcement consistently throughout the learning process. It can also automatically collect comprehensive data on the student’s performance and may provide more accuracy than personal instruction alone. Children with learning disabilities have often been described as “visual learners” making computerized curriculum highly motivating to the student. When effective technology is matched to an individual’s abilities and skills, it can significantly improve a student’s achievement scores in all subject areas. Each student at East Hill Academy will have his or her own computer and will be connected to the schools Wi-Fi system throughout the day. The staff will utilize many different highly specialized educational websites to help the student’s progress in their learning process.
Along with this educational system, attention is paid to decreasing sensory and anxiety causing issues (i.e. light, sound, smell, touch) in order to help modify behavioral problems for each student. Every aspect of the classroom design is geared towards reducing the student’s anxiety and sensory issues. Each student’s education plan is unique to his or her challenges and abilities within the classroom. Specific behavioral strategies are developed and implemented as needed on a daily basis. Structured routine is another foundation for the classroom environment. Children with autism and other related learning disabilities often demonstrate severe anxiety in response to any transition in daily routine. Positive reinforcement is at the heart of everything we do at EHA. Building a child’s self-esteem along with developing a positive teacher-student relationship increases that child’s desire to learn the information presented.