Office of Special Needs
Testimonials

 


 
As a struggling Kindergartener at St. Lambert School, Joseph was found to have a significant progressive hearing loss. Not only did he need to be fitted for hearing aids, but it was also determined that an FM System was necessary for him to be successful at school. The immediate expenses of the hearing aids were already stretching the family’s finances. Joseph’s parents very much wanted to keep Joseph enrolled at St. Lambert School, though the additional cost of the FM System was troublesome when it could be provided for free at public school locations.

The good news is that between the REACH Grant and supplemental donations from Knights of Columbus Councils and WalMart & Citibank volunteer incentive program grants we were able to cover the $2500 cost of the FM System.

It has been determined that Joseph’s younger sister also has a progressive hearing loss. The family was able to better plan for her needs and anticipated expenses for her FM System. The parents are extremely grateful for the “hand up” they received when faced with this large need. Most of all they are grateful that their children were able to remain in Catholic school, the school of their choice! “St. Lambert has been HUGELY important to our family,” says dad.


 

 
We have a wonderful third grade student that has benefited by the REACH Foundation. She has severe limits on her hearing and because of the REACH Foundation she has been provided with an FM hearing system. This system allows her to hear her teacher and classmates while eliminating outside noise. This is the difference between hearing aides that amplify all sound and the FM System that will amplify just the voice in the microphone. The class also utilizes a speaker system. This system allows students and teachers to use a microphone to amplify their voices. According to national studies, classrooms that utilize a sound system see higher test results and higher student satisfaction. Thank you, REACH Foundation, for helping our girl and her class!



 

 
Aberdeen Catholic School is very grateful to have received a REACH grant that provides students with learning disabilities the opportunity to write using a computer program called Writing with Symbols. This program allows students to have pictures appear over the words as they type. The students have gained more self-confidence and have improved their spelling skills. Another great feature of the program is that it reads the text back to the students. The students are feeling more independent and for some who disliked writing before, they now ask when they get to do more writing. A special thanks to all who have supported REACH and have the desire to see ALL students succeed in their fullest potential.



 

 
As a second grader at St. Lambert School, Maria’s language processing skills were significantly delayed. Through evaluation and support services at our local USD Scottish Rite Children’s Clinic it was determined that she was a strong candidate for a special short-term intensive computerized language learning program, Fast ForWord, designed to reinforce the skills critical for sustained focus and attention, listening comprehension, sequencing, organizing, and reading. Maria’s family was unable to pay for this program and the program was unavailable to our Catholic school, but a REACH grant covered the cost! Maria made impressive gains in her skills and in her confidence. As a fourth grader she was dismissed from special education services and now as a sixth grader at St. Lambert School she is holding her own with her classmates. REACH was there to give Maria the extra hand she needed to build language foundation skills to be successful and continue in her Catholic education!



 

 
Dyslexia is a learning disability that is not covered by an Individualized Education Plan. Because of this, many children who suffer from this disability often go through their school career with little or no help. We have been fortunate enough to have contacts through the Scottish Rite Speech Disorders Clinic. Through their help we have been directed to services and programs which have benefited many students in our school. It is unfortunate that many of these services and programs are very expensive. If it had not been for the REACH grant we received, we would have not been able to purchase the necessary programs to best serve our students. The money we received from this grant will be enriching students’ lives well beyond this year. Thank you REACH!


 

 

On behalf of the Saint Mary staff, I extend my thanks to the REACH Foundation of the Sioux Falls Catholic Diocese. The work and efforts of this Foundation extend beyond financial support. They have facilitated educating our Catholic brothers and sisters about the inclusion of all children in faith and academic formation. We are blessed with a diverse student population. The number of students with special needs continues to grow. Purchasing materials and resources is critical to providing those students with the best education. Thanks to REACH grant awards we have received, occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, and educational materials that augment our instruction. We pray for the continued success of the REACH Foundation in helping to provide additional funds for Catholic youth.


 

 
Professional training is an important aspect for effective teaching. With a careful eye on budgets Catholic schools strain to provide this training for their staffs. In 2007 a REACH grant provided the funds to purchase a SONDAY System kit for each of our Sioux Falls Catholic Schools (SFCS) elementary sites. Federal funding is unavailable to Catholic schools to meet special education needs and yet these kits were deemed necessary to provide for a number of elementary children struggling in reading. With the REACH Foundation giving the seed money for these kits, a foothold was created for justifying a Diocesan Foundation grant to fund trainer fees for proper use of the SONDAY System kits. Instead of costly travel out of state for a few, the grant funded a daylong seminar in Sioux Falls for staff members from SFCS and other diocesan schools. Now this SONDAY System is being widely used by our Catholic schools to give specific phonemic awareness and phonics tutoring for primary aged students. REACH was a critical catalyst in providing this professional training to benefit our Catholic school children.


 

 
Several students in the Kindergarten classroom had sensory issues that we needed to address. We had children that had poor attention span, low energy, high energy, emotional outbursts, couldn’t keep their hands to themselves, etc. all stemming from sensory issues. We received a grant from REACH that allowed us to purchase seat cushions designed to help these students become more focused on their learning by taking care of their sensory needs. The seat cushions helped the children who needed to wiggle have their sensory needs met without distracting others. I saw a huge improvement with the help of your grant. Thank you for your grant.