Learning Differences

Is your daughter struggling in school? Some girls need to discover success in ways not provided by large, traditional high schools. Here are some examples of how students learn differently, and ways that Purnell can help. Want to learn more? Email our Admissions team, or call (908) 439.2154.

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)

Dyscalculia

Dyslexia

Dysgraphia

English as a Second Language (ESL)

Executive Functioning Disorder

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Definition

A disorder that includes difficulty staying focused and paying attention, difficulty controlling behavior and hyperactivity.

Student Profile

Makes "careless" mistakes in schoolwork. Teachers may think she is lazy, and scold her for not paying closer attention to directions. She often starts her work, but she rarely completes anything. When she does, it is clear she rushed in the end because she was up against a deadline. Her teachers and her advisor have gotten together and recognize that she struggles in particular with work that requires a lot of thought or sustained attention. She often forgets regular activities, like the time activity period or sports begins.

How Purnell can help

Your daughter will be successfully supported at Purnell. Her teachers and her advisor are in regular contact. And she will utilize the Learning Specialist once a week to be sure she is organized and self-advocating when she needs help.

soccer goalie

I know I can ask for help whenever I need it, and the small classes give me more time with my teachers. Purnell has made me feel more confident as a learner and as an individual.
Alex has ADHD and an Auditory Processing Disorder, and she has found success in Purnell's small classes and with a supportive faculty that truly understands her learning style. Alex loves sports, especially soccer and basketball.

Auditory Processing Disorder (APD)

Definition

Also known as Slow Working Memory or Central Auditory Processing Disorder, this is a condition that adversely affects how sound that travels unimpeded through the ear is processed or interpreted by the brain. Individuals with APD do not recognize subtle differences between sounds in words, even when the sounds are loud and clear enough to be heard. They can also find it difficult to tell where sounds are coming from, to make sense of the order of sounds, or to block out competing background noises.

Student Profile

Struggles with directions. She will often forget announcements, oral directions, and struggles to recall regular procedures. When a teacher explains an activity, she appears to understand, but when she starts her work, she often does it incorrectly. When a teacher asks her a question, she either stares blankly or immediately replies, "I don't know." However, during active group work, she clearing understands the material. Socially, she struggles with sarcasm and fast-paced dialogue, so she often sticks to herself. Teachers have assumed she has Inattentive type ADHD because she stares into space often. In her previous school, she received very low participation grades in all classes because she didn't answer questions or join discussions. Her work is usually completed well, but it may take her many hours to complete every night.

How Purnell can help

Your daughter will benefit from our teaching style; our classes deliver information in a number of ways. We list an agenda on the board for every class, in addition to an agenda on Haiku. Teachers explain directions and make them available on Haiku for later. Teachers understand that your daughter needs extra time to process before answering, so they are careful to wait until she is ready to answer before moving on. We will also accommodate her assignments by modifying them to a manageable load while still adhering to necessary content.

Dyscalculia

Definition

Affects a person's ability to understand numbers and learn math facts. Individuals with this type of learning difference may also have poor comprehension of math symbols, may struggle with memorizing and organizing numbers, have difficulty telling time, or have trouble with counting.

Student Profile

She may be a brilliant writer, even a straight A student in all classes, except math. She may love Biology, struggle with parts of Chemistry, and really struggle with Physics. She is often late, and when she tells her teachers she didn't realize it was time for class, they don't believe her. In History, she may never remember dates. She also struggles with following directions that follow a sequence.

How Purnell can help

We'll make sure that your daughter gets 1:1 math help so we can work on the basic skills she needs, like addition and subtraction, and support her in class by pre-teaching some of the concepts. We'll help her become fluent with technology that helps her with organization and mathematics in her daily life.

Karlie

The small class sizes ensure that I get the help and attention I need. My advisor helps me to stay on top of my assignments.
KARLIE IS DYSCALCULIC. BUT DESPITE HER CHALLENGES WITH NUMBERS, SHE COUNTS MANY ACCOMPLISHMENTS WHILE AT PURNELL, INCLUDING SERVING AS STUDENT BODY PRESIDENT.

Dyslexia

Definition

Affects reading and related language-based processing skills. The severity can differ in each individual but can affect reading fluency, decoding, reading comprehension, recall, writing, spelling, and sometimes speech and can exist along with other related disorders.

Mild Dyslexia

Student Profile

Can read fairly well, but she really struggles with long, dry readings. She loves short poetry, but she is having a tough time reading Hamlet independently. She is using Shakespeare in Bits on her iPad, but she still struggles to remember what she read. During the previous novel, she really loved the story when it was read aloud, but reading independently was difficult. She struggles with writing papers in particular. She has great ideas, but when she submits her paper, the teacher is really concerned about her lack of organization. She is very successful in science class, in particular, in engineering where she gets to build and create things.

How Purnell can help

Your daughter will enroll in our Literacy Skills class, where her writing should improve dramatically. She'll use graphic organizers like Inspiration for her work, and her teachers will use very visual materials, which plays to her strengths. Her classes will be multi-sensory, which makes them easier for her to connect to the material. Having a laptop will help her in many ways, including text-to-speech and speech-to-text programs.

Severe Dyslexia

Student Profile

May often say the teacher doesn't help her or she doesn't care about the class, but it is clear there is something deeper to her English struggles. She becomes frustrated with written exams and reads at a lower grade level.

How Purnell can help

Your daughter needs a two way approach. We'll provide her with 1:1 Orton-Gillingham language remediation to make her functionally literate, and make sure she becomes fluent with assistive technology so she can learn the necessary content to keep up with her peers.

Sam dancing

Purnell has shaped me to be more independent, and I'm ready for college.
Sam is a dyslexic student who would like to take her two passions--anatomy/physiology and dance--and explore possible careers in dance, sports science, or physical therapy.

Dysgraphia

Definition

Affects a person's handwriting ability and fine motor skills. Problems may include illegible handwriting, inconsistent spacing, poor spatial planning on paper, poor spelling, and difficulty composing writing as well as thinking and writing at the same time.

Student Profile

Can read fairly well, but she really struggles with long, dry readings. She loves short poetry, but she is having a tough time reading Hamlet independently. She is using Shakespeare in Bits on her iPad, but she still struggles to remember what she read. During the previous novel, she really loved the story when it was read aloud, but reading independently was difficult. She struggles with writing papers in particular. She has great ideas, but when she submits her paper, the teacher is really concerned about her lack of organization. She is very successful in science class, in particular, in engineering where she gets to build and create things.

HOW PURNELL CAN HELP

Your daughter will enroll in our Literacy Skills class, where her writing should improve dramatically. She'll use graphic organizers like Inspiration for her work, and her teachers will use very visual materials, which plays to her strengths. Her classes will be multi-sensory, which makes them easier for her to connect to the material. Having a laptop will help her in many ways, including text-to-speech and speech-to-text programs.

English as a Second Language (ESL)

Student Profile

Speaks enough English to engage in conversation, but her TOEFL score is too low for college admissions. She is successful in math class, but she struggles with science vocabulary. She is a hard-working student, and she wants to take the most competitive classes. However, she lacks the foundational vocabulary to jump into advanced classes.

How Purnell can help

Purnell's ESL classes can support your daughter in her English immersion experience. They will help her to improve her conversational and academic English, and they will prepare her to take the TOEFL for college admissions. Purnell's Seminar classes also help students from other cultures.

Jessica

Purnell provides me opportunities to develop interests in many different areas-art, science, and engineering are now my favorite subjects.
Jessica is an ESL student from China. She appreciates Purnell's excellent arts and STEM programs.EFDExecutive Functioning Disorder


Executive Functioning disorder

Definition

An inefficiency in the cognitive management systems of the brain that affects a variety of neuropsychological processes such as planning, organization, strategizing, paying attention to and remembering details, and managing time and space.

Student Profile

Active participant in class. Always has great ideas for projects, and she is a leader during the brainstorming phase of group projects, but students don't want her in their group because she often doesn't follow through on her part of the project. With independent work, she struggles to meet deadlines, often loses vital pieces of her work, or even completes some parts of the homework, but never submits them. When teachers check in with her periodically about the completion of long-term projects or assignments, she rarely has anything to show them, but she is very convincing that it is complete, just not with her at the time. When it comes time for deadlines, however, she doesn't have anything to submit. She is most successful with someone to oversee her work, but not actually help her do it.

how purnell can help

Your daughter will be successfully supported by the Purnell advisory system and regular appointments with the Learning Specialist. She needs help organizing her work, but also needs to be held accountable for small, chunked deadlines. Her advisor will require her to sit with him at the proctor's table during evening study hall to keep her on task and check her work with minimal distractions.

Want to learn more? Email our Admissions team, or call (908) 439.2154.

Visit Purnell

Is Purnell right for you? There's one way to find out: come and visit. Contact our Admissions team today.

Well-prepared and highly confident, 100 percent of Purnell girls are accepted to college.

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