Exceptional Children's Foundation

Founded in 1946, Exceptional Children's Foundation is the only organization of its kind in California that provides a continuum of services designed to support individuals with developmental, learning and emotional disabilities throughout their lifespan. The ECF Kayne Eras Center is a school for children referred from eight public school districts – Centinela Valley, Compton, Culver City, Inglewood, Los Angeles, Redondo Beach, Santa Monica/Malibu and Torrance. The public schools cannot effectively address the students' complex needs and challenges including learning disabilities, health impairments, autism, dyslexia, aphasia, emotional issues, aggressive behavior, extreme mood swings and difficulty sitting still and focusing, and Kayne Eras offers a lifeline to these children. The educational approach is strengths-based, and includes intensive specialized programming, and innovative therapeutic & educational strategies to meet the unique needs of each child. For students with special needs, computer-based learning plays an important role in their education, and our grant of $19,523.00 will enable ECF to upgrade their computer lab at Kayne Eras with 12 desktop computers, 12 iPads, 2 educational software applications with user licenses, 1 tablet charging cart and 2 LaserJet printers. Approximately 190 students, ages 5-22 will use the lab each year. Adaptive technology helps these students become more active learners. Mapping software allows these students to organize their thoughts visually. Word predication software allows them to express their thoughts fully and encourages them to persist instead of giving up. The iPads provide a touch screen method of learning and have proven successful for visual learners. The specialized applications will allow students to express emotions, learn life skills that have eluded them for years, and for many will help them to communicate their thoughts for the very first time. Technology is a great mask for these children; when you look at a document, digital artwork or a professional presentation you do not know the disability of the creator and they are not unfairly judged. In this way, students will integrate into the larger world and label themselves as capable and productive contributors to the community.