With another school year upon us, kids of all ages are getting ready to return to the classroom. When a child goes through a life-changing injury or illness, Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals makes sure they stay on top of classwork through our therapeutic learning centers (TLCs) on both campuses. Our teachers work with the school, the family and the patient to create an individualized learning plan for children using age and grade-appropriate materials directly from the child’s teacher. This program is unique to Madonna and is funded through generous donations from Madonna’s Foundation. Thanks to partners in the Foundation, the TLCs receive library materials, computers, iPads and other learning materials, ensuring education can continue without disruption.
Denise Shearer is one of the three teachers in Madonna’s TLCs. She’s been a teacher for 20 years, with three of those at Madonna. She meets with patients several times a week, walking them through any subject they may need assistance with, from science and math to language arts and social studies.
“I was presented with this job opportunity by an outpatient therapist that was working with my husband, as I am a proud wife of a stroke survivor,” Shearer said. “I enjoy advocating for families and working with patients as they return to school.”
Shearer first learned about Madonna while her husband was a patient here. She was inspired by the work that was being done within the walls of the hospital and decided this was where she needed to be. She says her favorite part of her role is the one-on-one interaction she gets with each student.
“TLC is able to meet the diverse needs of the student by working at their pace and level in a quiet learning environment,” Shearer said. “Working collaboratively with students, families and schools optimizes the students’ transition to school.”
While the school year may just be getting started, our TLCs are year-round. Summer provides an opportunity to work with students on recovering credits, pre-teaching new materials for the upcoming school year and utilizing additional strategies to promote continual learning.