Lionheart is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization, founded in the year 2000. Lionheart was created by professionals and families for children who needed a developmentally appropriate education in a specialized learning environment with therapeutic interventions, supported social interactions and strategies to accommodate for individual profiles. The goal was to create a new type of learning environment – one which combines the area’s finest Special Education teachers, Speech, Occupational, Music and Art professionals with concerned and active parents.
In 2008, The Lionheart School became an accredited member of the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Lionheart is also a member of the Georgia Independent Schools Association (GISA) as well as the Georgia Association of Schools for Exceptional Children (GAPSEC).
Lionheart created a progressive educational model based on the Developmental, Individual-Differences, Relationship-based Intervention Model (DIR®) developed by Dr. Stanley Greenspan and Dr. Serena Wieder. This SACS/SAIS accredited school uses an inter-disciplinary approach that prepares students for success.
The Lionheart School’s methods have become a national prototype for the education of children with autism and other challenges of relating and communicating. While many schools for children on the autism spectrum focus on rote learning and compliance, the Lionheart School emphasizes relationships, abstract critical thinking, problem solving, and social cognition. By focusing on each child’s individual differences, and maintaining the highest possible staff-to-student ratio, the Lionheart School crafts a program suited to each student’s individual profile. This results in a nurturing and supportive environment, directly addressing the child’s emotional, social and intellectual development.
Lionheart has a full-time school program, staffed with master level educators and therapists. In addition to the full-time program, Lionheart serves families by acting as a resource for their educational and/or therapeutic needs. Lionheart also has a professional outreach program which allows teachers, therapists, and others in the autism field to learn about Lionheart’s methods through personal visits or group workshops. Additionally, Lionheart works with researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology to test designs of applications and study interventions utilizing technology.
The school relies heavily on the participation of each child’s family to integrate the program into their home life. The individual nature of Lionheart’s work makes it essential that all parents and outside professionals become involved, not only to support the teachers’ efforts, but also to help identify progress and develop new strategies for their child’s ongoing success. At The Lionheart School, a child’s development is a collaborative effort, with teachers, therapists, consultants, parents and, of course, the children, all actively involved.