The Tiegerman Learning Method (TLM)
Dr. Tiegerman believes that children with language and autism spectrum disorders require a highly specialized language immersion program (i.e., the Tiegerman Learning Method) to overcome their learning disabilities. Dr. Tiegerman believes that there are many generic special education programs which focus on teaching academic content. She believes that for children with language and autism spectrum disorders, the traditional special education techniques are not effective enough. As Tiegerman expanded to include an elementary school program, Dr. Tiegerman expanded TLM with Dr. Radziewicz to include an integrated transdisciplinary curriculum which is also language based. All teachers and specialists are trained to utilize this extraordinary programmatic methodology. TLM uses language techniques to teach special education goals. We believe that language is a software program which creates a "learning to learn process" in a child's brain.
Language development involves the acquisition of a complex system of symbols. TLM teaches children to use symbols to communicate first, to acquire word meaning second and to develop linguistic structures third. At Tiegerman, we are not interested in teaching children to identify colors, shapes and numbers. We are interested in teaching children to talk about their experiences, their thoughts and their feelings. We are interested in teaching children to acquire knowledge outside of the classroom by learning to ask questions. We are interested in teaching children to share their knowledge by learning to have conversations and to tell story narratives. All of these skills provide the foundation for learning to read and to write. Reading and writing are language based skills, they are language dependent. Children with comprehension reading deficits have underlying language disorders.
The process of learning to read is similar to the language learning process. Children learn the written symbols, learn their meaning and then learn to recombine them into more complex forms and structures. Reading in Language Arts, Social Studies, Math and Science all require language comprehension - the ability to understand the language system of symbols. TLM requires teachers to regulate their instructional input up or down to match each student's level of comprehension. Teachers monitor student responding by re-directing, paraphrasing, simplifying and re-phrasing instructional input. Another important TLM technique is "Bridging" which ensures that students' responses are communicatively effective and socially meaningful to peers.