LAWRENCE, Ind.– September is national Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Awareness Month and the staff at one local school wants parents and students to know they’re not alone. The Fortune Academy in Lawrence focuses on teaching students with learning differences. Classes are smaller, four to six students per class, and teachers are certified in a specific approach to learning called the Orton Gillingham Program.
“Academically, ADHD can affect reading, writing, calculating, anything wth multiple steps where they have to remember multiple steps and we help them by breaking things down tin to very small chunks of learning and then we build upon those,” said Lori Jones, Assistant Head of the Lower School at Fortune Academy.
According to the CDC, Indiana children are diagnosed with ADHD at a slightly higher rate than the national average. About 13 percent of children ages 4-17 are diagnosed.
“Your child might be frustrated by school, very frustrated by homework. You know that your child is bright and capable but they’re not really living up to their capabilities academically,” said Jones, whose son recently graduated from Fortune Academy.
That was how 9th grader Caroline Adie felt.
“I was having lots of trouble at my old school I was falling behind,” she said. Caroline and her mother looked at other options to find the place where she could succeed.
“I think as a parent you need to look at your individual child and see where they are and what options are available. Honestly, we’d never considered a private education but we knew that she wanted to go to college and something had to change,” said Caroline’s mom, Amy Adie.
Jones said ADHD symptoms show up in social settings, too.
“You know that they have good hearts and want to make friends but they’re having a little trouble doing that,” said Jones.
She said she knows Fortune Academy isn’t the right fit for every student, but that the parents and staff there can serve as resources for parents looking to help their child succeed with a learning difference.
“There’s a lot of neurological research now that supports learning differences, that shows that someone with ADHD or dyslexia has a processing difference, but their brain is not damaged and they’ve been able to actually show that on an MRI,” said Jones. “I think doctors are becoming more aware and parents are able to get more infomrfation than they used to, but we’re not where we want to be. We need to get the word out and let people know this is a real thing,” she said.
Click here to learn more about The Fortune Academy.