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Meeting Special Needs

Bloomingdale is committed to the premise that with early support, children with special needs can succeed in school. The Mainstreaming Model we developed in 1973 is designed to give these vulnerable children the support they need for the opportunity to succeed.

Our Model is built on a powerful idea: give children earmarked for failure such a strong foundation of support and special services that when they graduate into elementary school they can succeed and move ahead in mainstream classrooms. 

At Bloomingdale:

  • Special needs children are fully included in the vibrant academic and social life of their early childhood classrooms.
  • Our team of special education teachers, speech therapists, and occupational therapists works one-to-one with youngsters with developmental delays, communication and speech disorders, emotional disturbances, and learning disabilities.
  • Each site has a one-to-one room where the child meets regularly with the therapist.
  • The special education staff and the classroom teachers work as a team to understand each child's needs and design a program to meet these needs.
  • Parents are involved at every step. They gain an understanding of their children's needs so that they can advocate for their children once they leave Bloomingdale.
  • Children continue to receive support after they graduate. We help find the best possible setting for each child, and parents become the catalyst for strengthening communication between Bloomingdale and the public school. We become a resource to the child's new teachers, sharing successful ideas and approaches.
  • Children return for after-school tutoring and homework help as needed.
  • Parents have Bloomingdale's support and our advocacy for their children long after their children have left us.

More than 50 percent of our children are diagnosed with handicapping conditions. All funding for special needs staff and services is raised privately. 

How do we measure our success? We look at the children. They are doing well and moving ahead in mainstream elementary school classrooms. They are graduating from high school and attending college. Bloomingdale's model was "selected as an exemplary program of national significance" and is included in the Compendium of Exemplary, Comprehensive Programs for Young Disabled Children (FPG Child Development Institute, University of North Carolina, 1982).