Home / Local Stories  / Learn: Education & Enrichment  / The Delaware Valley Friends School—Where Kids Gain Tools For Success

The Delaware Valley Friends School—Where Kids Gain Tools For Success

Specializing in educating bright children with learning disabilities, this Quaker-based school is proving that students who learn differently can be successful in school - and in life.

Delaware Valley Friends School - Tools for Success

It’s estimated that 4.6-million children, in the United States, are diagnosed with a learning difference or disability. The Learning Disabilities Association of America defines this as a “neurological condition that interferes with an individual’s ability to store, process or produce information.” Dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia are among the most common. ADHD and executive function challenges are also issues that can affect a student’s ability to learn in a conventional classroom.

As awareness grows about LDs, so too does our ability to diagnose at a younger age. Signs of an LD can be present in children as young as second and third grade–and for some even earlier than that. Beginning in the second grade, children experience a fundamental shift in their learning. This is when they begin reading to learn, and are expected to be more independent in their understanding and application of math facts and tools.

For students with an undiagnosed LD, this can be a time of frustration and confusion—they sense a gap between themselves and their peers and, no matter how hard they try, they can’t close it. Parents see changes in mood and behavior. Their child resists going to school, complains of things like stomach-aches, having trouble sleeping, and appears anxious.

Parents of children with an undiagnosed LD are left feeling confused and heartbroken, as they watch their once well-adjusted child struggle daily. Many receive difficult reports from teachers, and have to face the reality that their child is not meeting educational benchmarks. It’s as this time that many begin taking steps towards diagnosis.

The road to a diagnosis of an LD is most certainly a process and can take months—and sometimes years. When families are handed a formal diagnosis—an explanation as to why their child has been struggling—there is a sense of relief. But the diagnosis is only the beginning. Parents are left with many unanswered questions and feelings of uncertainty.

At the top of that list is: How will their child get the education they need?

As they begin exploring options and alternatives, many are fortunate enough to find The Delaware Valley Friends School (DVFS)—A Quaker-based third through twelfth grade college preparatory school located in Paoli.

The Delaware Valley Friends School has been educating children with learning differences for more than 30-years. DVFS embraces each student’s personal and academic potential, while addressing individual learning challenges. The school teaches to each child—building confidence and the skills they need for success in school and beyond. The Lower School’s program (grades 3-5) extends this expertise and warm, nurturing environment to younger students who learn differently.

Lower School Director, Jason Seggern emphasizes the school’s belief that “a child’s elementary school experience should be filled with wonder, joy and laughter, but these are also the most important years for building fundamental skills in literacy, math and social interaction.”

“We teach the whole child at DVFS,” adds Lower School Assistant Director Christy Zawadzkas.

“Our program directly addresses the students’ individual learning challenges using research-based, multi-sensory instructional approaches to close critical gaps in their learning, while still providing a rich environment where they can grow, explore and play.”

From the moment a student walks in the door, DVFS engages them in reflective conversation—putting the student in touch with their individual learning needs and giving them the tools to become successful learners.

“They become independent advocates for themselves,” says Seggern, “leading to successful futures.”

The Delaware Valley Friends School is the right place to seek the kinds of instruction, guidance and support those with LD need for success.

The Delaware Valley Friends School is located at 19 E. Central Avenue, Paoli. For more information and to schedule a tour, please visit their website at dvfriends.org.

Delaware Valley Friends is a coed Quaker, college preparatory school for bright students, grades 3-12, who struggle with reading, writing, math, memory, processing, ADHD, executive functioning, and other learning differences.