Our names are Dr. and Mrs. Kassem and we are the founders of ClearWater Academy. Dr. Kassem is an established physician on the south side of Atlanta, where we have lived for over 20 years. ClearWater Academy was founded for our child with learning differences and others like him. We would like to take this opportunity to share with you our very personal story or “journey” as we call it.
Frustration and Fatigue
Like so many parents of special needs children, we were searching for an answer or solution. We had gone the public school route; however, our child was not progressing academically, socially and emotionally. Like many parents of special needs children, We found ourselves in the car – a lot!!! Driving to and from various after school programs or therapies, because our child was not receiving what he needed in the typical academic setting. This situation was not only exhausting, but time consuming. It also had an effect on our family individually and as a whole. Less time was spent with our other child, and our son had no time to “just be a kid” after school.
Searching for a Better Way
Our quest was for a better and more effective way to holistically educate our son and gain back our family time. In addition, we sought a program that actually had an individualized plan on “how” to address his challenges while developing his strengths. We began researching the private schools on the south side of Atlanta. Unfortunately, we found that private schools on the south side were either for children with very mild learning disabilities or programs that served the severe and profound. No educational programs existed on the south side for high functioning children with learning differences like our son. We knew that he was bright, but just had a different way of learning. We believe that children with special needs cannot be successful when placed in a classroom that utilizes the same strategies for all students. We believe every child is a unique individual and we need to figure out what their learning style is or more accurately; “how they learn best.”
Our next journey was a short one. We checked out several schools on the north side of Atlanta. We found logistically they were too far and relocating was not an option. The programs that we did investigate were not comprehensive and lacked academics. Some schools had an “a la carte” type program where parents did a pick and choose whether to have or not to have specific therapies like Occupational and/or Speech. It was our belief that ALL the needs of the child with learning differences MUST be met in order for the child to become a successful learner and adult.
We Couldn’t Find the Right School, So We Built It
It became clear and imperative (even urgent), that we do something to help our child and other children like him. We needed to fill a critical educational gap on the south side, as well as setting forth a state-of-the-art model for how children with special needs must be educated. We firmly believe in family time. We firmly believe in an all-inclusive program for, again, we believe ALL the needs of the child MUST be met, not just some of the needs.
As parents we wanted it all! We believe in high standards and expectations. We were given the opportunity of building a school from the ground up. Certain criteria were non-negotiable. We became committed to starting a state-of-the-art, research-based school program focused on academics and technology, with balanced therapies to regulate the child physically, socially and emotionally as well as providing age appropriate career coaching–all during the school day! We envisioned an expert staff trained above and beyond traditional educational training. For the physical environment, we wanted small class sizes of 4-6 students; a home-like, sensory-sensitive environment paying close attention to colors, furnishing, artwork and lighting; lots of windows providing natural light and of course, no fluorescents. These are just a few criteria; we could go on and on! ClearWater Academy was born! Read on and study the rest of our website to understand all we have to offer! We are extremely proud of all our accomplishments and believe our program and results speak for themselves.
We Believe in Early Intervention
Scientific and medical evidence suggests that early intervention during the formative years with the right academic strategies and curriculum as well as social and emotional programs in conjunction with therapies can contribute to the successful development, growth and well being of the child. This in turn can lead to more self reliance, confidence and integration into adulthood and society. It’s all about enhancing the quality of life for your child and family.
At ClearWater Academy, we are committed to supporting and working with your child with that aspiration and goal in mind. Our individualized student focus and low student to teacher ratio enables our caring and professional staff to apply world class programs to enrich your child’s developmental, social, and learning abilities.
The Children We Serve
ClearWater Academy specializes in educating diverse learners from first grade through attainment of a high school diploma. Our student body is comprised of but not limited to those on the autism spectrum with various other neurodevelopmental challenges which include delays in motor planning, social interaction skills; executive functioning; sensory, visual and/or auditory processing; receptive or expressive language; academics; attention and/or memory.
The Methods We Use
We employ methods such as the DIR®/Floortime™ approach, Orton-Gillingham methods, SRA NumberWorlds, SPIRE, occupational and speech therapy, and therapeutic riding. Most of all, we make it fun in a pleasant, peaceful, serene, and holistic environment tailored to children with learning differences.
Please explore our website or call us at 770-631-3650 for more information, to discuss your child’s needs, or to start the application process. And remember, the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship program closes in mid-September every year, so be sure to apply soon.
Dr. and Lynne Kassem
Founders, ClearWater Academy