Karla Barnett, a mom of two from Rochester Hills, was tired of hearing excuses about why her son with special needs wasn’t finding success at school. She knew he was capable; he just wasn’t being challenged in the way he needed.
So Barnett started asking questions about Jonathan’s curriculum and what staff was doing to help. Five IEP meetings later, they had a plan.
“Once we started getting him more services and more challenging curriculum, they realized that his academics started soaring,” she says. “If we know where his gaps are, we can work on that at home.”
Starting June 18, local families can now find similar support at Barnett’s new Dynamic Kids tutoring center in Rochester Hills – a nonprofit tutoring program for kids ages 5-18 with special needs like autism, ADHD and Down syndrome.
“It won’t be a cookie-cutter program,” she says. “It’ll be based on how the child learns.” Barnett, an engineer, is bringing on a master’s level special education teacher to direct the center and a team of tutors. Subjects will include math, reading, writing and comprehension, all taught in sensory-friendly rooms and with lessons coordinated to needs identified in the student’s IEP.
“So what they’re doing at the center correlates with what they’re doing at home and at school,” she says.
Tutoring sessions will last 30 minutes, plus 10 minutes for the tutor to work with the parents. “Homework” will be required. “It’s a commitment,” Barnett notes, like other types of therapy. Pricing isn’t yet set but will be “affordable,” she adds.
Making sure all children find success at school is a mission close to Barnett’s heart. “It might be a struggle at first, but it gets easier,” she says, adding that her son loves homework now. “We can’t let society or the doctors or the school system determine what your child can or cannot learn. They’re not throwaway kids. They’re smart, they can learn – they can do everything you can do.”