Fueling empowered learners and compassionate communities through the science of being human.
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Made for exceptional kids

 

Cajal Academy accepts children who have high cognitive profiles who are looking for an intellectually-engaging environment in which to develop their gifts, including students who have learning, social and emotional differences. Our program, environment and approach is different by design: we recognize that a traditional classroom environment and curricular approach were architected for a different time and place, and without the benefit of all modern science reveals about the basics of how children’s bodies and minds work together. Our goal is to empower each child with the strategies they need to monitor, manage and advocate for their various learning, social, physiological and emotional needs, while inspiring them to ignite and develop their own learning sparks, through project-based learning that relates back to their real world experiences.

We are currently accepting applications on a rolling basis for an expanded pilot program of up to 12 kids for the fall of 2019, drawn from elementary and middle school grade levels. Eventually, we expect that we will expand to a student body of approximately 100-150 kids in grades K-12. Our class sizes are and will always be small: each student has an individualized program, and students will work in small groups within each cohort of 12 students, according to their strengths and support needs with respect to a given element of a particular project. Our academic studio is co-taught by content and clinical experts, so that our instruction is as integrated as a child’s life-experience is. This also results in small and highly-trained staff to student ratios, with additional, one-to-one therapeutic intensives where appropriate.

Finally, we recognize that where children have had a bad experience or felt unsuccessful in prior school environments, they may require a gradual and highly-supported adjustment into a new program. Cajal Academy is a trauma-informed school, and our staff is trained in understanding how to identify and support both emotional and neurological factors that may contribute to children’s emotional, social and learning experiences.

 
 

 Who are Cajal Academy kids?

 
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We are looking for bright, passionate and/or “twice exceptional” kids — but in a world of over-politicized labels, what does that mean?

At heart, we are looking for children who are curious and inquisitive. They might say things other kids their age wouldn’t think of. Or see inter-connections others didn’t realize were there. Perhaps they excel in one area of science, writing or math, perhaps they are academic scholars across the board—or perhaps their light shines brightest in the arts and academics just don’t seem to be “their thing.” Their neuropsychological profile might soar across the board, or they might have a jagged profile, with for example disproportionately low working memory or processing speeds relative to their high reasoning skills. Some of our kids will come to us just looking for smaller, more intellectually-stimulating and/or movement-based environment; others will have identified learning disabilities, or struggle with executive function, sensory integration and more.

We are looking, in other words, for the great diversity of kids.

And, we are looking for families who are excited to embrace innovation and to help us build a new community: one in which we will model for our kids the value of fostering different perspectives and ideas, and the truth that supporting others makes us better ourselves. Our mission is not just to help our kids achieve academic excellence but to empower them to live their best lives. That requires a nurturing space in which it is safe to take risks, which requires cultural support not just at school but at home. We believe Fairfield County, CT is the perfect place to spark a movement of communities who care for all of our children’s success as we do for our own.

If this feels to you like the right fit for your child’s needs and like the kind of community and innovation you would like to be part of, please reach out. We look forward to hearing from you.

 
 

Specialized instruction, therapeutic intervention and expertise to address the challenges that threaten to hold kids back

Our program serves the needs of kids with “above average” to “superior” reasoning skills, including those with complex profiles, or who have learning, executive function, social or medical disabilities, within a “mainstream” environment. Our program is specifically designed for kids with asynchronous profiles, including kids who have a bimodal distribution of intelligence with high reasoning skills and comparatively low processing speeds or working memory. Cajal Academy is one of just a handful of programs in the country that integrates appropriately challenging academic programming with therapeutic services for twice exceptional children, including especially those who have neurological, immunological and musculoskelatal differences that benefit from an occupational and physical therapy-supported program.

Any strengths and/or challenges that you feel inform your child’s learning and/or life-lived experience (either positively or negatively) should be shared during the admissions process; here are some sample diagnoses for which our program would be well-suited:

 
 
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Executive Function Challenges

ADHD, ADD, Difficulties structuring information to encode, organization of thought, ideation, sequencing & planning

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Atypical Neurological Development

Neuro-maturational delay, hyper-kineticism, neuropathy, motor overflow & perseverence

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Specific Learning Disabilities

Dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, nonverbal learning disorder

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Complex Learning Profiles

Bi-modal distribution of intelligence and/or intersecting learning, social, emotional and/or physiological challenges

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Variable Availability to Learn

Medical diagnoses including connective tissue disorders, mast cell activation syndrome, lyme disease, cerebral hypoperfusion

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Chronic Medical Conditions

Neurological differences, including neuropathy, dysautonomia, connective tissue disorders & hyperkineticism

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Social Challenges & ASD

Social communication disorder, high-functioning autism spectrum disorder & social cognition challenges

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Musculoskelatal Disabilities

Hypermobility, spina bifida, spinal cord injuries & cerebral palsy

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Sensory Integration Disorder

Proprioception, vestibular, tactile, audtory & visual sensory integration for both sensory-seeking & sensory-averse learners

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Anxiety & Depression

Anxiety, trauma & PTSD (including school-related causes) & depression

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Fine & Gross Motor Planning

Handwriting support, balance, coordination, gait & mobility challenges

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Visual Processing Challenges

Visual perceptual, spatial, tracking & convergence