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Seton Special Services: Serving Students with Special Educational Needs

Seton Special Services: Serving Students with Special Educational Needs

Seton’s initiative to offer special services has made home-schooling possible for children challenged with learning or medical problems. With over ten years experience adapting lesson plans, modifying assignments and creating original material, our specialist counselors have helped thousands of families make homeschooling an option.

Our goal is simple: if a student is having difficulties with home-schooling, we work to make the experience a success.

Students who come to us for help in Special Services usually have a learning disability. Sometimes the parents have received a formal diagnosis for their child and other times not. Other students need assistance due to medical problems. A small but steady group of students do not have any learning or medical problems. This is often the case in high school.

1. Adapted Lesson Plans

In order to help students be successful with Seton’s program, we have created adapted lesson plans and modified assignments to go along with many of the regular courses. These adapted assignments include short objective tests in place of essay work and quarter tests, various levels of adapted book report forms to help elementary students learn the process of putting together a book report, and structured essays with an outline to help high school students continue to develop their writing skills.

Since the goal is to have the students use as much of Seton’s regular curriculum as possible, the last ten years have been spent creating these adapted materials which previously did not exist. The response from parents and students has been overwhelmingly positive. Parents have been thrilled to see their students learn from challenging materials such as Seton’s American History, Biology, and Religion courses, but be tested in a way that was manageable for their students.

2. Remedial Program

In some cases, of course, using a Seton book may not be a good fit, at least not yet. Prerequisite skills may need to be addressed. This is often the case with Seton’s challenging English grammar books in grades 1-8. For students who are not ready to work with these, we offer a few different grammar programs that will allow the student to build up a foundation. We also have a composition program to teach writing skills to elementary and high school students in a step-by-step fashion. We carry alternate materials in other subject areas as well.

3. Dyslexia DVDs

If there is one thing that parents have heard about Special Services, it is that we have a DVD program for helping children with dyslexia learn to read and spell. That is true, but we actually have two different dyslexia programs that we have been using successfully for close to 20 years. It is a blessing to be able to offer them to students who need them, and phone calls from happy parents whose children are finally learning to read are amongst the greatest joys we receive from being Seton counselors.

4. Customized Curriculum

If a student needs a customized curriculum, the course modifications are discussed in a phone conference call where the parents and Special Services staff agree on what is best for the student.

Each course is discussed in turn and all of the options available are compared. Thus, while evaluations that have been sent to Seton (if any) are certainly consulted, the input of the parents is of the utmost importance.

5. Four Diploma Choices

You may be wondering if working with Special Services will prevent your student from graduating or receiving a diploma. Absolutely not. Actually, we offer four different diplomas; the Basic, Vocational, General, and Academic, to assure that regardless of the student’s level of achievement in grade 12, there is a diploma option for them.

6. Additional Resources

Special Services is pleased to offer a few additional resources that you may find helpful. Our website now has a number of videos recorded by Dr. Catherine Moran on differences in learning styles, recognizing learning disabilities, and ADHD. We also sell a book titled Homeschooling Children with Special Needs by Sharon Hensley. The book is a good introduction to numerous aspects of educating a child with special needs at home, and it provides references to further reading as well.

If you feel Special Services may be able to help you, please email or call us. We would be happy to discuss the particulars of your situation and let you know what we can do to help.

Stephen Costanzo. 300jpgStephen Costanzo

Director of the Special Services Department. 

Stephen holds a Master of Teaching in Special Education and, since 2004, has designed thousands of adapted curricula for struggling Seton students of all ages.  He has taught children with learning difficulties in the public school system and has experience administering and interpreting achievement tests and designing and implementing IEPs. He is married with seven young children.

Karen Hunt 300Kathleen Hunt

General/Academic Counselor

Kathleen’s teaching career spans eighteen years and includes time spent with children in both regular and special education. Her background and B.S. in Elementary Education enable her to assist parents and students with the support and encouragement that is often needed when homeschooling a child with special needs. She is married with two children and five grandchildren.

TaitStudent Success: Tait

Tait is one of the best examples of student success that the Special Services Department has encountered.

A member of a large homeschooling family in California, he was first enrolled in Special Services for his 9th grade year in April of 2004.

Tait was diagnosed with dyslexia during his elementary school years (around grade 2), and he completed at home a remedial literacy program designed for students with dyslexia. Years later, he was enrolled in our Special Services Department so that he could begin high school. Though the literacy program had helped him improve his reading, he was still reading at only a 6th grade level at the beginning of grade 9. Consequently, his 9th grade curriculum materials were chosen accordingly.

As the years passed, Tait decided that he wanted to achieve the same level of academic success as his older siblings, who had previously completed Seton’s standard high school program. In 10th grade he asked to receive a copy of both the adapted and non-adapted versions of A Tale of Two Cities, the final piece of literature for the year. The regular version must have impressed him. For his junior and senior years, he decided that he did not want to use adapted/abridged literature anymore; he indicated that he would rather use standard literature as part of his customized program, even if it meant that high school would take him longer.

Tait took advantage of the flexibility that homeschooling offers and made use of adapted schedules to complete his courses. He amazed his mother and Seton counselors with the quality of the essay work he was completing at the end of high school. He ended up being accepted to several colleges and plans to study history before possibly entering the military.

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