Pioneering Colorado School Among First To Address Learning Differences

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Havern School group lesson
Teacher Kathleen Riley works on reading with a group of students at Havern School.

It wasn't long after the term "learning disability" was used for the first time at a conference in Chicago that a group of nuns from the Sisters of Loretto in Denver started a school for children with learning disabilities.

Founded in 1966, Havern School was one of the first in the Rocky Mountain region to focus on kids diagnosed with dyslexia and other academic challenges.

The diagnosis typically is made when a child exhibits an average or above-average IQ in one measurement but a below-average IQ in another.

While most experts now say a child has "learning differences" rather than "learning disabilities," to avoid any negative connotation, the school decided to keep the earlier term because they say the diagnosis deserves intensive attention.

Havern marks its 50th anniversary this year. Cathy Pasquariello, who's the head of school, spoke with CPR's Andrea Dukakis.