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Back to School: Celebrating Amiyr's Learning Journey

Back to School: Celebrating Amiyr's Learning Journey
Amiyr in red shirt, smiling.
October 21, 2020
Laughter rings through the halls at The Day School at The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh. FUN, after all, is one of our core values. Amiyr Mack, a sixth grader, loves to be a source of the merriment.

“Amiyr is such a character,” chuckles his teacher, Elisa Stanley. “He’s quite the jokester and really enjoys social interactions, especially with the teachers and his therapists. Because Amiyr is highly motivated and engaged in a wide variety of learning activities, he has been able to achieve many goals during his years at The Day School.”

“Every school day is a good day for Amiyr,” his mother, Brittany, explains. “He’s excited every morning to go, and he’s still excited in the afternoons when he tells me all about his day. The Day School is a special place, and Amiyr excels there.”

Amiyr, age 11, was born with cerebral palsy. At The Day School, he benefits from highly individualized instruction from Elisa with support from two classroom aides, complemented by physical, speech, occupational, and behavioral therapies that strengthen his current abilities. This fall, The Day School is operating on a hybrid model, so Amiyr attends in person four days a week and virtually on Fridays.

“Amiyr loves electronics, so he adapted immediately to virtual instruction,” says Brittany. “Technology is a great motivator for him. Amiyr can work independently on his technology for periods of time during the school day and regularly chooses his iPad for entertainment. YouTube is Amiyr’s favorite, especially videos of drummers. He’s very musically oriented.”

During class time, Amiyr is building his vocabulary and comprehension of written material through a research-based curriculum designed to teach students with disabilities to read. He is also learning simple addition and working on behavioral goals like good listening and following directions. He loves GymBop®, The Day School’s combination adapted physical therapy and music class, and also meets with his therapists during the school day.

“Team effort. These are the two best words to describe how The Day School works,” Elisa describes. “We have one focus – the child. Together with Mom, our team sets specific goals for Amiyr, and then we work collaboratively to encourage him to meet those goals. For instance, Amiyr consistently achieves new reading goals. I teach reading comprehension with a secondary focus on vocabulary, and Amiyr’s speech therapist practices vocabulary regularly with Amiyr. Mom reinforces both of these areas with him at home. Team effort!”

“Without a doubt, Amiyr is a good communicator,” Brittany concludes. “He’s able to clearly express his wants and needs, he’s kind to his school friends, and he loves to be the entertainer in our family. Every day I am thankful that I made the decision to send Amiyr to The Day School.”

Our experienced teachers are transforming the lives of many amazing children and their families. You can be a lifeline to amazing kids like Amiyr. Please consider making a gift to support our Amazing Kids Fund at amazingkids.org/giving.

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