The Imago Dei School offers a variety of therapy services that together, address the whole child and their special gifts and unique needs.
- Early Intervention
- Search and Teach
- NILD Educational Therapy®
- Group Educational Therapy
- Music Therapy
- Feuerstein’s Instrumental Enrichment
Early Intervention is a program designed to identify young children who may benefit from an individualized program to acquire the basic skills necessary for reading and academic success. This program provides pre-reading and reading instruction that addresses perceptual weaknesses in visual and/or auditory processing, directionality or difficulty with gross and/or fine motor activities.
Search and Teach
SEARCH is based on both clinical and statistical research that focuses on neuropsychological skills basic to reading and the language arts. The importance of these skills was determined via a 2-year intensive interdisciplinary study that examined 1st graders neurologically, psychiatrically, perceptually, psychologically and educationally. Results of this study revealed that those children vulnerable to learning failure lagged in developing skills relating to spatial orientation and temporal organization. A follow-up of the original group of children, validated the clinical judgment that reading failure is associated with specific types of perceptual immaturity—namely, in visual, auditory, and body-image immaturity—all relating to orientation in space and organization in time. SEARCH uses the results of this research to formulate its program, making early identification of learning disorders in children key to overcoming potential failure.
TEACH is a combination or instructional methods and fifty-five task cards that builds a child’s pre-academic skills specific to reading and the language arts. As the companion instructional element of the SEARCH & TEACH program, TEACH provides the rationale, the step by step methodology, and the teaching materials necessary for intervention with children who are found to be vulnerable to learning failure as determined by SEARCH. TEACH organizes a program of learning according to an individual child’s SEARCH profile. As such, TEACH considers a child’s strong and weak academic areas and prescribes appropriate instructional tasks basic to reading and the language arts.
The TEACH program prioritizes pre-reading tasks from simple to complex and organizes them into a practical plan of five clusters as ascertained by the results of the SEARCH test. These clusters include:
- Intermodal skill clusters
NILD Educational Therapy®
NILD Educational Therapy® was developed to treat assumed, underlying causes of learning difficulties rather than simply treating the symptoms. It is a true therapy in that it aims the intervention just above the student’s level of functioning and raises the expectations for performance. Students are trained to view themselves as competent, confident learners. The goal of NILD Educational Therapy® is to help students develop tools of independent learning in the classroom and in life.
Students in NILD Educational Therapy® receive intensive educational therapy several times per week. This can either be in individual or small group settings. These sessions include a variety of techniques designed to address students’ specific areas of difficulty and to improve their overall ability to think, reason and process information. Techniques emphasize basic skill areas such as reading, writing, and math, applying reasoning skills within each area.
Students are taught by educational therapists, who are trained specially in NILD methodology and receive on-going graduate level training to NILD certification. Regular collaboration between the educational therapists, parents and classroom teachers is intended to assess student progress in order to help the student achieve their individual goals.
Group Educational Therapy
Group Educational Therapy (GET), part of the National Institute for Learning Development (NILD) Educational Therapy®, is a distinctive in our Imago Dei School. In GET, our Imago Dei students meet twice a week in a small group setting with 2 to 3 students and an Educational Therapist. The goal of each GET session is to strengthen the Imago Dei students’ cognitive processes by intentionally implementing a variety of techniques that will help build each student’s core academic skills, independent thinking skills, reasoning, questioning skills and self-regulation. Each of these areas are strengthened and developed as the student’s move through each session together. Each one of the techniques that are used in GET are language-based and are designed to enhance those areas where a student may be vulnerable in his or her thinking. Our time together requires each student to be actively involved as we move through each technique: having to explain his or her thinking and consider how he or she might solve a problem differently. We encourage the students to explore what they know and teach them how to access prior knowledge and experience so that they can build on their cognitive processes. Although our Imago Dei students have various developmental and leaning needs, it has been exciting to see each one of our students grow through Group Educational Therapy. Our goal for the students is not to strive to get each student to a higher academic level (although we are seeing gains in this area) but rather to help them discover the way that they think and the possibility that thinking differently could create cognitive change, thus making them stronger academically and socially.
Trinity Classical Academy offers group music therapy services for all Imago Dei grammar students with their own board-certified music therapist. Services are provided two times per week and are often the highlight of our student’s week!
What is Music Therapy?
Professional Clinical Music Therapy is said to be an art, a science and a part of the health professions. The World Federation of Music Therapists (WFMT) defines Music Therapy as “the professional use of music and its elements as an intervention in medical, educational, and everyday environments with individuals, groups, families, or communities who seek to optimize their quality of life and improve their physical, social, communicative, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual health and wellbeing”.
Assessments of strengths and needs of clients, music therapists use both instrumental and vocal music to target non-musical goals. Music therapists design treatment plans, monitor ongoing progress through evaluation and participate as members of the interdisciplinary team to support a vast continuum of outcomes.
Why It Works
- Music captivates and maintains attention
- Music can increase appropriate social skills (turn-taking, following directions, cooperation, and participation)
- Music provides a way to express self through verbal & nonverbal means
- Music encourages positive forms of behavior
- Music develops independence, leadership, creativity & decision making skills
- Music strategies can develop new recreational and leisure skills
- Music can make positive changes in mood & emotional states
- Music enhances movement, including improvement of fine and gross motor functioning
- Music provides immediate feedback
- Music is success-oriented
There is much Biblical and clinical evidence that exposure to and involvement in music has beneficial effects on a person’s well-being. At Trinity, our music therapy sessions use music as the tool to help facilitate specific goals laid out for our IDS students. These goals include, but are not limited to, increasing social skills, increasing fine and gross motor skills, increasing speech and language development, improving auditory processing skills and sensory-motor skills. Our music therapy sessions also allow for musical expression through a few performance opportunities a year at our Trinity Christmas Concert and our Spring Concert. Our music therapy students love to make a joyful noise unto the Lord!
Christ who is the ultimate example of an effective ‘therapon’. He is the ‘Wonderful Counselor’ and the source of our health and healing. It is by Jesus stripes that we are healed and it is to Him that we can release our burdens and our sorrows (Isaiah 53:4-5). It is by the truth given to us in that word of God that we are made free (John 8:32). Coming before the Lord with thanksgiving, making a joyful noise to Him (Psalm 96:2) and glorifying Him with sacred music and song can be a catalyst in receiving the manifestation of His power to heal and deliver through music therapy.
For more information:
Feuerstein’s Instrumental Enrichment Imago Dei – All grades
20-30 minutes daily, in class
Program Distinctive (to focus on the following):
What Is Cognitive Enrichment?
Thinking skills are cognitive skills; therefore, Cognitive Enrichment is the process of improving thinking and subsequent learning skills. The goal of public education is to ultimately produce independent thinkers who can solve problems and engage in life-long learning. As John Dewey said, “all which the schools can or need do for pupils is to develop their ability to think.”
Each content area requires thinking. Unfortunately, thinking as a skill is seldom addressed directly in school curricula, like mathematics, history or English. Rather, it is assumed that thinking skills and learning readiness will develop through the study of content. Ideally, they should, but in many cases they don’t. Many people come to the classroom or the workplace without the “learning to learn” skills they need to succeed. Cognitive deficiencies make it impossible for them to learn as well as they should, because they are unable to benefit from the content instruction, whether it comes within a public or private school or via job training, and regardless of its quality.
For such students, Cognitive Enrichment is needed and can be accomplished through focused instruction in developing one’s thinking skills and subsequent capacity to learn. Cognitive Enrichment is also beneficial for students who do not appear to have deficiencies. Just as the teaching of content is designed to increase each student’s understanding within the content domain, so too can cognitive skills be nurtured and enriched for all students.
Cognitive Functions are specific thinking abilities or skills. They can be taught and learned and strengthened at any age. There are three phases of cognitive functioning: Input—Elaboration—Output. (These phases are similar to the three phases of information processing.) At the input phase, information is taken in; at the elaboration phase information is processed through association with previous knowledge; and at the output phase the results of the processing are conveyed.
Structural Cognitive Modifiability is characterized by the belief that the structure of the brain can be changed by systematic and meaningful intervention. This position is supported by current brain research in the field of brain plasticity. If you accept this position, it follows then that intelligence is not fixed or immutable.
Mediation is the interactional process between a learner and an intentional adult (the mediator) who by interposing him/herself between the learner and the external source of stimulation guides (mediates) the learning experience by selection, focusing, and feedback. Such a learning experience is referred to as a Mediated Learning Experience (MLE).
Bridging refers to the process through which cognitive skills are transferred (bridged) to learning content.
Professor Reuven Feuerstein, the founder and director of the International Center for the Enhancement of Learning, has through clinical research identified a set of cognitive functions that can be considered prerequisites for learning. That is, learners who do not have access to these prerequisite skills will be handicapped in learning new skills and or new material regardless of the quality of instruction or the effort put forth by the learner.