Success Stories

Benjamin's Story

Benjamin was a 1st grader when he came to our program. He was very small and had some behaviors that are typical of a much younger student. His language and communication skills were delayed; as was his fine motor coordination. He was sent to our school because of his inability to function in a regular public school classroom and the frequent tantrums and outbursts that he had which impaired the learning of the other students. Safety was also an issue for Benjamin, as he would run out of the classroom and down the street when he was upset about an assignment that he did not want to do. Several times he darted into traffic without taking his safety into consideration. Academically he was at the pre-school level and just barely knew his alphabet and how to count past 10.

The school district funded a 1-to-1 behavioral assistant for him in order to keep him safe for the first 30 days. During that time, we set up a special curriculum geared towards his functioning level, and had him evaluated for Speech and Language and Occupational Therapy.

With the behavioral assistant, Benjamin was able to take frequent time-outs before he reached his boiling point and he was placed on a token system where he could earn coins for completing tasks and trade them in for objects or privileges at the end of the day. He received on-the-spot coaching and direction as issues came up and he responded very well to this intervention. He was able to interact during recess and lunch with the other students and then he was able to work in groups of 2, 3 and 4.

Sustaining attention for whole class assignments was still very difficult, except when the presentation was of particular interest to him. One day, a canine officer came to Canyon View School with his dog and showed the classes what they do. Benjamin was very interested, watched the demonstration, and asked several questions afterward, demonstrating that he heard and understood the demonstration.

After the 30 days, we phased out the 1-to-1 aide and Benjamin did well working in small groups in the classroom or with a partner. The natural curiosity and joy for learning that all young children have emerged and he began to finish assignments and learn some of the pre-literacy skills that prepared him for reading. Math came easily to him with manipulatives, which was appropriate for his developmental age and he was able to transfer that to pencil and paper eventually. Benjamin attended the B.R.A.I.N. Lab daily, and as a result we saw improvements. Benjamin stayed with us through third grade, at which point he was caught up academically and had his behavior under control. He transferred back to the public elementary school, where they could not believe he was the same child. He has returned several times to visit with his old teacher and to visit the B.R.A.I.N. Lab. He is excited about new friends, library books and, most of all, playing at recess and lunch. In many ways, he is a typical little boy!

What Benjamin needed was an intensive individualized program that would capitalize on his strengths and minimize his deficits. He needed to be taught at his level and not at the level of the typical child his age. The little successes lead to bigger ones and he went from staff dependent to more independent in a relatively short time. Benjamin wanted to succeed just as much as his parents and teachers wanted him to, but the key was building his confidence, skills and academic endurance. Helping him to communicate and move better also helped him in the classroom and with his peers. We love working with this young population. We give them a firm foundation in behavior and academics and they soar like baby eagles. Progress comes more quickly and more dramatically in children this age. Our primary staff members have many years experience in teaching the basics and have infinite patience for the process.

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