Programming and resources for highly at-risk children and youth and the professionals who work with them

NEARI Brain-Based Education and Resource Center

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Alternative Assessment and Educational Services for Chronic Learning and Behavior Problems

Since 1999, NEARI has been using a brain-based approach to evaluating and teaching the children and youth referred to the NEARI School. This method translates the latest research about how the brain learns best into practical classroom and counseling strategies. We are the only center of this kind in the region and have demonstrated success with a wide range of children and youth who have not been able to succeed in any other setting.


NEARI’s brain-based approach is grounded in the belief that:

  • every child can learn and has unique learning needs;
  • not all learning disabilities are life-long problems requiring compensatory interventions; and,
  • success depends on identifying and treating the underlying weaknesses rather than just the symptoms of classroom and social failures.


At NEARI, brain-based strategies are designed to favorably impact on the specific, intractable learning and behavior problems students bring with them. Often, these are problems that parents and professionals have tried to ameliorate for years in other settings without success. Areas include:

  • Developmental delays in cognitive and social functioning;
  • Reading, writing and vision issues;
  • Visual motor and visual spatial weaknesses;
  • Auditory and language processing problems;
  • Expression and communication issues;
  • Executive Functioning and sequencing problems;
  • Vestibular, object control, reflex and fine-motor weaknesses;
  • Memory and attention issues;
  • Sensory integration, stress and mood regulation problems;
  • Unusual learning styles and mixed dominant profiles;
  • Problems forming meaningful relationships; and
  • Difficulties consistently demonstrating acceptable behaviors.


Upon entrance to NEARI, students are assessed using a battery of screens and tests to identify areas of weakness. The assessment results are then fashioned into an individual learner profile, which guides NEARI teachers and other staff in their work with students. Each learner profile includes a set of intervention strategies to address identified problems. Such interventions are carried out both during academic classes and at other non-academic times during the school day.


In addition, NEARI has special classrooms for students who need more intensive neuro-developmental interventions. These students have traditionally carried labels, such as Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), Aspergers, High-functioning Autism, and Nonverbal Learning Disorder (NVLD). These young people present with significant weaknesses in social pragmatics, inference-making, sensory-motor integration, hyper focus, attention and organization. Their profiles call for specialized brain-based cognitive and physical exercise programs to jumpstart capacity.

Since the brain-based program’s inception, major changes in student performance levels and motivation have occurred year after year and the number of confrontive interventions has dropped markedly.


Last, NEARI has now expanded its brain-based work into several public schools and the greater valley community with private fee-for-service clients (children and adults). NEARI continues to evaluate its outcomes, explore and integrate new research-based methods and expand these unique services to the larger community.



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