CDS Onsite Program
Students with learning disabilities often have difficulty with word recognition, decoding and spelling. These fundamental difficulties impact reading comprehension. Research indicates that scaffolded, multi-sensory programs are successful in teaching students with learning disabilities the fundamentals of language and reading. At Cottonwood Day School, we integrate a multi-sensory approach across all academic content area subjects. Incorporating these approaches involves presenting new material and reviewing previously learned material using visual, auditory and kinesthetic (see glossary) methods. Not every child encodes information the same way, some are more visual, some more auditory and others are kinesthetic learners. Encoding and processing language are essential components of learning to read. Learning academic content this way ensures retention of presented information. We incorporate Orton-Gillingham instruction as the foundation of our reading program and Touch Math as the foundation of our math program.
What is meant by multisensory teaching? Multisensory teaching is an important aspect of the instruction used by clinically trained teachers for dyslexic students. Effective instruction for students with dyslexia is also explicit, direct, cumulative, intensive, and focused on the structure of language. Multisensory learning involves the simultaneous use of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic-tactile pathways to enhance written language memory and learning. Links are consistently made between the pathways of visual (language we see), auditory (language we hear) and kinesthetic-tactile (language symbols we feel) learning to read and spell.
The Orton – Gillingham Approach is a direct, explicit, multi-sensory, structured, sequential, diagnostic, and prescriptive way to teach literacy when individuals, such as those with dyslexia, cannot easily read, write, and spell. It is understood and practiced most appropriately as an approach, not a method, program, or system. It is a powerful tool of exceptional breadth, depth, and flexibility in the hands of a well-trained and experienced instructor.
Touch Math Program
TouchMath is a multisensory math program that makes critical math concepts appealing and accessible for students who struggle to understand grade-level content. TouchMath is committed to maximizing student potential through its worldwide delivery of hands-on math programs, cultivating success with individuals of all abilities and learning styles.
An emphasis on developing and strengthening students’ executive functioning skills is another key component of the Cottonwood Day School program. Executive function is defined as a set of mental processes that helps connect past experience with present action. These mental processes are used to perform activities such as planning, organizing, strategizing, paying attention to and remembering details, and managing time and space. If a student’s executive functioning skills are compromised, tasks such as organizing homework, time management, multi-tasking, recalling past information and asking for help can all be impacted, further complicating a student’s ability to perform successfully. We devote time throughout the day to work on strengthening these skills.
What are executive functions?
- Emotional Control
- Task Initiation
- Task Completion
- Working Memory
- Processing Speed
- Impulse Control
- Cognitive Flexibility
- Problem Solving
Some people describe executive function as “the CEO of the brain.” That’s because these skills allow us to set goals, plan and get things done. When kids struggle with executive skills, it impacts them in school and in everyday life.
Social & Emotional Learning
At Cottonwood Day School we teach to the whole child. In order for students to reach their full potential in school and in life, schools must provide instruction on academics and social and emotional skills. Providing instruction in Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) helps children resolve conflicts peacefully, handle emotions positively, empathize, and make responsible decisions.
What is SEL? Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.
We incorporate art daily into different content areas to help reinforce material learned.
Learning Disabilities & the Arts
The arts are more than a fun, superficial way to keep kids occupied. Art activities can help children with learning disabilities begin to overcome the challenges they face in learning in many different ways.
Because art, in all its forms, is subjective, children with learning disabilities won’t be pressured to do things exactly like everyone else. In addition to providing a self-esteem boost, art helps children with learning differences, such as dyslexia, ADHD, and sensory disorders, communicate more effectively and express thoughts and feelings in a way that makes sense to them, according to PBS.org.
Students participate in a Music therapy class once a week.
"When words fail, music speaks ~Shakespeare
Exercise can provide significant benefits for children in all of the developmental stages of life. Regular participation in physical education classes also promotes positive advancements in students with special needs.
Research has shown that physical education programs can do a great deal to improve the lifestyle of children with special needs; they can increase competency in gross motor skills, help to control obesity, improve self-esteem and social skills, encourage an active lifestyle, and maintain motivation in various areas of life.