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General & Education - donation helps Blairwood Academy help math-challenged students (Bahamas)
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Posted on July 23 2009 04:49 PM
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Luxury Realtor Mario Carey’s donation helps Blairwood Academy help math-challenged students
Monday, 02 February 2009 14:37

Luxury Realtor Mario Carey, far left, beams with pride as son Cole, next to him, and fellow Blairwood Academy student Alex demonstrate TouchMath – a learning tool to provide ‘Math relief’ to children with learning challenges - under the direction of education and behavioural specialist, Myrna Hoogers. The academy that specialises in providing testing and education for children with developmental challenges was able to introduce the increasingly popular TouchMath program recently, thanks in large part to the Carey family’s generosity. Name a single subject that can turn the verbal elite into tantrum-throwing lunatics and instantly transform wordsmiths into wannabe warriors. You got it. Math.

“If Math can do that to ordinary folks, imagine what it can do to someone with learning disabilities,” says Mario Carey, a luxury market Realtor to whom handling numbers usually means configuring square footage under roof and linear beachfront. President of Mario Carey Realty, Carey learned what it’s like to live with Math disabilities not from his profession but from his son, 12-year-old who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, a high functioning form of autism. “Cole, our son, goes to Blairwood Academy where there are special programs for students with special needs, but one area they really needed a boost was Mathematics so we zeroed in on that and made a contribution we hope will bring what we are calling ‘Math relief’ for students with math disabilities.” It’s actually called TouchMath.

More than 100 students attend the not-for-profit school on Village Road . Housed in a converted classic Bahamian home, the one-of-a-kind institution provides testing and assessment, individualized learning, supportive classroom environments and behavioural and management services for parents and children. They recently added a program for children with autism, the fastest-growing development disability in the U.S. where one in every 150 children is born with the condition ranging from slightly detached behaviour to the most severe cases with multiple sensory disorders and total disengagement from society.

“TouchMath is a program that uses all the learning styles -- touching, hearing and seeing,” explains education and behavioural therapist Myrna Hoogers, who uses the ‘See it, Hear, it, Touch it, system to teach Math at Blairwood. “Each number from one to nine has certain points on the number.” Repeated use of number one with one circle on it, two with two circles and on up to nine with nine marked circles makes the number real, not abstract. Circles can be Bingo chips or Smarties.®” The system is gaining popularity in lower grades and is now being used in special education programs. According to Hoogers, it’s “like training wheels for math and we are very grateful to Mario Carey and his family for making those wheels available for our students.”

Luxury Realtor Mario Carey, far left, beams with pride as son Cole, next to him, and fellow Blairwood Academy student Alex demonstrate TouchMath – a learning tool to provide ‘Math relief’ to children with learning challenges - under the direction of education and behavioural specialist, Myrna Hoogers. The academy that specialises in providing testing and education for children with developmental challenges was able to introduce the increasingly popular TouchMath program recently, thanks in large part to the Carey family’s generosity. As for the Careys, having a son with Asperger’s syndrome has re-affirmed their commitment to community. Afternoons and Saturday mornings often find Dad and Cole in a golf cart on Paradise Island , searching for wayward golf balls to collect, sell and donate to REACH, an organisation providing support and educational services for those with autism.

“It’s one thing to be successful in business,” says Carey, but it’s a totally different thing to be successful as a parent; one of the important lessons to teach is that of helping others.”

Photos: Luxury Realtor Mario Carey, far left, beams with pride as son Cole, next to him, and fellow Blairwood Academy student Alex demonstrate TouchMath – a learning tool to provide ‘Math relief’ to children with learning challenges - under the direction of education and behavioural specialist, Myrna Hoogers. The academy that specialises in providing testing and education for children with developmental challenges was able to introduce the increasingly popular TouchMath program recently, thanks in large part to the Carey family’s generosity.
(Photos by Alexavia Dorsett, DP&A)
 
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