Dear Teaching Staff at Shuman’s ATA in Venice:
I just returned from my son, Daniel’s Individual Educational Program re-evaluation. In April of 2006, Daniel was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, ADD – Inattentive Type, Specific Learning Disability in Math, Reading and Written Expression, Language Impaired and requiring Occupational Therapy for Sensory Issues. Although Daniel tested with an above average IQ and excelled in Math and Science, specific learning disabilities and behavioral issues held him back. He repeated Kindergarten and if not for the IEP would have been held back again in 2nd grade.
A year ago, the school performed a Functional Behavioral Assessment due to disruptive behavior, both with teachers and fellow students. At the time, the school wanted to remove him from his regular education class and place him in a full time special needs class. This would have made it difficult for Daniel to continue his progress in Math and Science. I felt that it wasn’t the right fit for him but felt at a loss to know how to help him. Daniel seemed as frustrated as the rest of us. It was agreed that we would watch him until the September of 2008 and then make a decision on his class placement.
In June of 2008, I placed Daniel in a Tae Kwon Do Class at Shuman’s ATA.
The staff there was very patient with Daniel. Mr. Mirville, Mr. and Mrs. Frajerman, Master and Mrs. Shuman and Mr. T. Sprague stand out in my mind. They took time to work with Daniel one on one. I watched Daniel gain confidence. We began to use ATA forms at home to deal with the physical component of Daniel’s frustration.
There was also a camaraderie at the school that impacted Daniel. I remember watching his first testing. Daniel forgot the answers to certain questions and got nervous. The entire group of students sitting and watching the testing began to cheer for him. I could see Daniel relax and renew his effort instead of giving up.
Daniel has continued with ATA through out the school year.
This year we have not had any referrals from the school. At the IEP meeting today, it was noted that the behavior issues documented last year have been completely extinguished. Daniel has been more confident. He is willing to attempt new challenges. Instead of becoming frustrated when he can’t complete a task perfectly the first time, he is willing to practice. He no longer argues with his teachers or refuses to work. He is over-achieving in his occupational therapy and the documented sensory issue are now almost non-existent. One of Daniel’s teachers told me she had asked Daniel how he had become so mature this year. Daniel replied that it was because of Tae Kwon Do.
Daniel’s teachers say the cessation of the behavior problems is allowing Daniel to make leaps in his academic progress. As a result, Daniel’s test scores have improved. He made A/B Honor roll this year for the first time in his school career. Daniel is a happier and more confident kid.
I am convinced that Daniel’s involvement at Shuman’s ATA and the quality instruction and interaction he has received there has been a key in his success. Thank you all so much!