At Smart Step, we believe that every obstacle presents an opportunity for growth. Our current system tends to view students with "disabilities" and other challenges as having deficits. However, studies have shown that everyone learns differently and finding the strengths one has is the key to success.
We believe every individual has a purpose in life. Without a clear idea of what this is and a map of how to get there students can often feel lost and unmotivated. Part of our approach is finding the passion that each student has and using it to fuel their progress.
With the right perspective and purpose any student can take the steps towards a fulfilling and independent life.
Why Smart Step
What is an at risk student?
Has your child been struggling in school? A student who has persistent obstacles can be at risk of failing or drop out. These obstacles are often a result of risk factors such as disabilities.
The good news is when these students take advantage of specialized services, they receive better grades and are much more likely to graduate. Also, when their individual strengths and differing learning styles are highlighted, their grades vastly improve!
Failure to Launch
This typically occurs after high school. These students have difficulty moving forward and becoming independent because they lack motivation and sense of purpose. At Smart Step we use a combination of strategic goal planning and coaching to hold these students accountable. This can help them to live happy and fulfilled lives!
Nearly 1 in 5 people in the US have a learning disability. These can hinder a student's ability to be successful in school. The most common of these are:
- Language processing disorders
- Auditory and language processing disorders
Many accommodations are available for students with these disabilities. Smart Step will help students discover which ones work best and ensure that the school is providing them.
Although not considered a learning disability, Autism has an impact on students inside and outside of the classroom. The right intervention includes a great deal of structure and the understanding that every child with an autism spectrum disorder is unique. At Smart Step we take into account their specialized strengths which makes all the difference!
A mental health diagnosis can exasperate normal school stressors. Students suffering from any of the following may have a tendency to avoid school, which results in frequent absences and poor grades.
- Boarderline Personality Disorder
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Smart Step will assist students to receive accommodations in classes and encourage them to be used.
ADHD- The symptoms of ADHD are inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, which make focusing on doing school work very challenging. These students have difficulty sustaining attention and often miss important details in assignments.
Executive Functioning Disorder- Students with this disorder have problems with impulse and emotional control, flexible thinking, working memory, self monitoring, planning and prioritizing, and task initiation- all of which are vital components of flourishing in school.
Cerebral Palsy- Students with this disorder can experience impairments that are both physical and intellectual. A variety of accommodations are used to help these students succeed.
Down Syndrome- Students with Down Syndrome can have intellectual and physical impairments; many of which affect the rate at which they learn.
The severity of all these disorders varies greatly that is why we take each individual's strengths into consideration when developing support strategies.
Heather Pritchett M.S., Educational Counselor- With over 12 years in the field of education, Heather's passion is to help all students thrive! She began working with “at risk” populations as a disabilities tutor. During this time, she gained a deep understanding of appropriate classroom accommodations, and the most effective study techniques. Her most significant experiences, however, occurred while working as an academic counselor at a therapeutic living program. It was there she acquired both the practical skill to help students tackle obstacles, and the knowledge necessary to make the system work for them. Collaborating with psychiatrists and psychologists, she developed individualized academic plans for a wide range of diagnoses.
Most recently Heather has acted as assistant principal and career counselor at a transitional school for autism. Here, she has truly witnessed the struggle that students with autism face in school and in the world. Having insight into the specialized needs of these students, she has helped hundreds meet their goals. She coaches them through every step using a model that is caring, engaging, and effective.
What We Do
Smart Step is a one of a kind education counseling service for 'at risk' students in high-school and college. We are here to help students flourish academically and conquer their personal goals in order to create a fulfilling life. Specializing in academic support and transition planning, we work one on one with students to asses challenges and develop an individualized academic plan (IAP). These plans can include, but are not limited to, the following:
- College application assistance,
- Transcript evaluation
- Transfer planning
- Ongoing accountability meetings
- Connection to appropriate resources
- Navigation of the school system
- Study and test taking strategies
- Advocating for students with disabilities
Using effective interventions and strategies Smart Step will be with your young adult every step of the way.