Frequently Asked Questions

The Lionheart School serves children that have difficulty with academics, sensory processing, motor planning, visual and auditory processing, receptive and expressive language, attention, memory, executive function or social interactions. We currently accept students diagnosed with Autism, a nonverbal learning disability, language-based learning disabilities, ADHD, sensory integration disorder or other neurodevelopmental diagnoses.

Lionheart WORKS (make a link to WORKS page) is a transition program that provides individuals, 18 and older, with customized work experiences while teaching basic employment skills.

Lionheart uses a developmental relationship-based approach to learning. Lionheart looks at the student’s individual profile, the student’s strengths and challenges and develops a unique program that fits their individual needs. Lionheart recognizes that every student, even with the same diagnosis, is very different. The favorable staff to student ratio allows us to develop an individualized program, to evaluate each child throughout the year and modify the program as needed. Lionheart stresses the importance of addressing the sensory underpinnings of a child’s developmental difficulties. We look milestones of development, and work on gaps that may exist, to enable each child to stabilize and build the foundation needed to move forward. Lionheart utilizes the DIR® model of Dr. Stanley Greenspan and Dr. Serena Wieder as its foundation. Our commitment is to work closely with the parents and other professionals to meet each child’s needs.
In theory inclusion is what every child with special needs deserves. The research shows that for SOME children with disabilities at SOME times in their lives, inclusion is perhaps the best solution for them. But there are exceptions and when we just stick to the academic research, we can make mistakes. Inclusion and being with typical peers may work for awhile but for some children when they get older, and the challenges become greater, the inclusive atmosphere no longer works. Children become MORE isolated, and more alone and more unhappy as the world moves around them and they cannot keep up with it.

Children with special needs do best in a place where people understand them and love them and nurture them for who they are. They cannot go out into the world until a foundation for security and development is set — .which is what Lionheart does…plus WAY more!

For some children, being in an inclusive setting is not enough. Development is a complex process where individual profiles need to be considered and supported through specialized learning environments such as Lionheart. Aside from academic progress, children need to learn to relate, communicate, abstract critical thinkers and problem solvers. Receiving a foundation from Lionheart allows children to excel in their development which equips them for life to transfer to other inclusive settings, where they bring something to others and get something from them too. Attending Lionheart gives individuals the foundation, which provides a path for success in future years. Children are special individuals and what works for one does not work for all, hence the need for a setting like Lionheart that addresses individual needs in a loving and nurturing environment.

Each student is assigned to a classroom, but each student’s schedule is tailored to their individual profile.  Student schedules include reading, math, science, social studies and literature. Co-curricular activities include art, yoga, physical education, kitchen science, music and drama. We offer weekly school-based club electives based on affinities. Shared experiences, project-based learning, special interest topics and community based activities are embedded throughout the school year.  Homework is also based on the individual profile and given when appropriate.
At Lionheart we work hard on the development of basic academic skills, particularly word recognition, writing and computation. At the same time we pay close attention to developing student’s conceptual capacities. We address the need for students to comprehend what they read and learn to make inferences and conclusions. We believe a successful reader. Lionheart emphasizes the ‘thinking’ portion of skill development. We address math concepts in the same manner. It is not only important ;children also need to generalize what they know to other areas and comprehend what those numbers mean.

Social development and emotional intelligence is emphasized at Lionheart. Teachers and therapists address social needs throughout every day and provide opportunities for interaction and engagement. They model opportunities for social development and help students navigate social situations. Built into the program are experiential learning opportunities for the students to practice their skills. We want them to be thinkers and problem solvers; therefore our approach minimizes rote learning and memorization.

Lionheart provides an intensive and highly specialized program Social development is a priority. Our experience has been that children make the best progress by interacting with other children in small groups within carefully planned settings. For many children with social and communication challenges large groups have too much sensory input and can be overwhelming. It is very difficult to extract the necessary information from rapidly changing social settings. With this in mind, we structure interactions in a supportive setting facilitated by skilled adults. We provide more challenging and complex interactive experiences when a student is ready.
Although our program is very intensive and covers many areas of development, some children need to continue with private therapy. This of course depends on the child and up to the discretion of the parents and private therapists involved. We work closely with and other outside professionals as needed and are available to discuss your child’s comprehensive program with them.
Tuition, foundation grants, fundraising events, and contributions from individuals, community organizations, and corporations provide Lionheart’s operating expenses. Volunteerism and in kind donations from parents, board members, and the community are also extremely important to Lionheart’s sustainability. As an accredited school, we accept scholarship funding from the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program (SB10) and the Georgia GOAL Scholarship Program. 
We look at each student’s unique differences and how we can help work through specific challenges that the child faces. We also put a lot of emphasis on how involved the family is and what they have done to help overcome obstacles. Although we offer a comprehensive program, we want parents to continue working with their child at home and realize that Lionheart is a collaborative effort.
Many years of research and observation support the idea that the most effective way to teach children analytic reasoning or thinking is through opportunities that have more “emotional experience”. Observations suggest that emotional interactions play a far more critical role in intellectual functioning. Emotions are actually the internal architects, conductors or organizers of our minds. They tell us how and what to think, what to say and when to say it, and what to do. We “know” things through our emotional interactions and then apply that knowledge to the cognitive world. The ability to understand another person’s feelings and care about how he or she feels can only arise out of a series of nurturing interactions. Even academic and cognitive concepts in math are based on early emotional experiences. “A lot” or “a little” has certain emotion driven interpretations. The use of grammar is largely innate and only needs some very general types of social stimulation. We can best help our children develop tools for mastery by continually offering them nurturing emotional interactions. (Dr. Stanley Greenspan, Building Healthy Minds, p.8-11).
Lionheart rarely keeps a student on a wait list.  If a child is not accepted for the upcoming school year, we attempt to help the family find another school setting or suggest that a new application be submitted for the following year.
We will accept students throughout the year if there is an opening in a classroom and the student fits the age group and profile for that classroom.  However, we make every effort to fill our classrooms before the start of school in August. Please submit your application as soon as possible to be considered for placement during the school year.
Tuition for the 2016-2017 school year is $26,000. Limited financial aid is available.  More information available HERE
Lionheart is a state approved school that accepts SB10 vouchers. The family is required to submit all necessary paperwork to determine what their child qualifies for. Once your child is accepted to Lionheart, Lionheart will notify the state that your child is enrolled. All checks will be sent directly to the school. Lionheart requires families to adhere to Lionheart’s tuition scheduled payments and SB10 money will be applied accordingly.
We make every effort to review an application as quickly as possible. It typically takes 1-2 business days to review an application. It may take a little longer during the summer (when we are not fully staffed) and during the Winter Holidays. If you do not hear back from us within 2 weeks of submitting your application, please feel free to call us for a status update.