Frequently Asked Questions
What is the philosophy of your program?
We believe that learning disabilities are differences in how children learn and process information. The particular set of learning strengths and weaknesses vary from child-to-child. For example, children diagnosed with dyslexia have different learning profiles than children with Asperger syndrome. For this reason, we believe that instruction must be individualized to compliment each child's learning style. We believe that children with learning disabilities can and should become independent learners. The parents, child, and teacher must understand how the child learns and applies strategies and methods for optimal success to minimize their difficulties. While learning disabilities do not get "fixed," the children do learn how to be confident and competent life-long learners.
Do you accept children with behavioural problems?
We do not accept children who have academic difficulties as a result of a moderate to severe behavioural or emotional impairment. However, we are willing to assist those families in finding a more appropriate setting.
Do you accept children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)?
In reviewing applications for the program, attention difficulties are considered and often coexist with learning disabilities. However, if we have cause to believe that a child’s attention problem will significantly interfere with his/her learning and may not be modified, or has behaviours that will impede upon the progress of other students, we will not accept the student.
Do you provide "language" services?
We have found that a large number of learning disabilities are language-based. Children with reading disabilities, such as dyslexia, often have some difficulty in spoken language as well as written. We believe that oral communication, comprehension of language, vocabulary development, and conversational skills should be a part of the program. Children receive individual or small group services as needed. Much of the language work is done in the classroom with the teacher and a speech-language pathologist (if contracted) who work together.
Please click here for additional information about the educational professionals who partner with Dunblaine staff and parents.
What method do you use to teach the children?
Although no single method of teaching is appropriate for every child with a learning disability, we believe direct instruction methodology has been highly effective for children that benefit from a structured, systematic approach to learning. We provide an individualized program for each child that will optimize their needs and abilities.
Please click here for additional information about our curriculum and programs.
How do you know if a child is "right" for your program?
We carefully examine the comprehensive diagnostic evaluation prepared by a registered psychologist to make certain that there is a mild to moderate learning disability. We then invite the prospective student for an interview that includes informal testing. This provides Dunblaine with an honest assessment of the child’s specific academic and social/emotional skills. The principal shares this information with the parents, and if decided that the school is able to successfully provide a complimentary program for the child, a visit to one of our classrooms is made as well.
How long do children stay in your program?
The average length of stay is about three years. Some children leave after two years, while others stay throughout the entirety of their academic careers.
What do you expect from the parents of children at Dunblaine?
Parents are a critical part of our community at Dunblaine and must be prepared to fill certain necessary roles.
First, parents are active participants in their child’s education: we provide individual conferences to assist parents in understanding their child’s learning needs and abilities, which may include suggesting experimental changes to home routines, environments, and communicated expectations. Parent cooperation and feedback are crucial, both to help us continually tailor our approach for your child the classroom, as well as for meaningful and sustained academic, social, and emotional change at home.
Secondly, as a charitable, non-profit organization, the Dunblaine School relies upon the dedicated support of families. Parents are encouraged to actively participate and volunteer their time through committee work, fundraising, transportation (car pooling), etc. Attendance to three General Meetings and Social Events throughout the year is compulsory. With everyone doing his or her share, the commitment is not onerous.
What happens to children when they leave?
Most children return to regular education settings. Some go into larger private schools that may provide enriched programs that compliment a student’s strengths. Others may continue to receive specialized support services within a private school or regular education setting.
Do parents get assistance in selecting a new school?
Yes, the staff at Dunblaine are available to families of children leaving the school. Our senior staff member often meets with parents with a child transitioning onto highschool, and a selection of schools are suggested with an appropriate curriculum based on the overall learning needs and abilities of the child. Also, Dunblaine hosts an annual information session on schools, inviting Principals to discuss their programs, based on parental interest. Overall, the final choice as to where families apply and which schools they select are, of course, the families' decision.
How do children do when they leave?
Parents typically report that their child is doing well, and they are very pleased with their child’s positive disposition to continue to learn and succeed.