Our Interpersonal Whole-Brain Model of Care is individually customized and daily implemented in

loving environments to ensure every child

and young adult reaches their full potential

— no matter the neurological or

behavioral challenges faced.

"Hope is a sustaining, motivating, and

healing force in the lives of those

touched by special needs, and the

people of Jacob's Ladder provide it

in abundance." -Leah Barnett, Mother

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Serving Infants To Young Adults

Any Neurological Or Behavioral Challenge

Grounded In Science & Guided By Love


Accredited Private School

& Global Therapeutic Learning Model

Jacob’s Ladder is a non-profit SAIS-SACS accredited private school serving pre-k through 12th grade students, as well as a therapy center serving infant through young adult students.

Our campuses throughout Metro Atlanta offer full-time and part-time enrollment options in a variety of learning environments, with level of support ranging from a 1:1 to a 6:1 student-teacher ratio.  

We also offer various full-time and part-time remote enrollment options, facilitated either in-home or virtually, serving students and their families locally, nationally, and internationally.  

In addition to serving students and their families directly, Jacob’s Ladder is committed to encouraging and empowering the global special needs community through research, training, certification, and licensure.  

Every day, our students overcome challenges and reach goals once thought impossible: 

  • those who have struggled with social cues begin establishing eye contact and engaging with the world around them in a meaningful way,

  • those who have struggled to grasp language begin communicating not only their wants and needs, but also their original thoughts and feelings, in ways that ensure that they know they are heard and understood by those around them,

  • those who have struggled relationally due to anxiety or frustration begin managing their emotions and thriving in a group setting, 

  • those who have struggled with intrinsic motivation begin to discern their unique passion and purpose, and to embrace that each day is a beautiful opportunity to work towards that which they personally care about, and

  • those who have struggled to learn in previous educational settings take steps towards unprecedented academic achievement.

Our Interpersonal Whole-Brain Model of Care has transformed the lives of thousands of families and counting because it is grounded in science and guided by love.

Grounded In Science

A student's brain must be well-connected and properly communicating in order to achieve his or her full potential in learning, physiological health, and social, emotional, behavioral balance. Because the brain is malleable and capable of immense growth and change, our Interpersonal Whole-Brain Model of Care never ceases to transform lives, regardless of students' age, diagnosis, or level of functioning.

Each student entering into Jacob’s Ladder completes a comprehensive therapeutic and educational evaluation that includes a global neurodevelopmental assessment, comprehensive academic assessment, nutritional consultation, and qEEG. 


The global neurodevelopmental and comprehensive academic assessments are completed by our dedicated clinical team. They take into consideration 300 essential indicators across a wide range of modalities, and dive into academics as well as social, emotional, and behavioral factors. They involve testing all 19 early reflexes to discern which are integrated or unintegrated, and allow us to gain an understanding of how this may be impacting the way in which a student is experiencing life.


The nutritional consultation offers a deep dive into physiological indicators such as sleep, nutrient absorption, food sensitivities, and environmental exposures. Families gain a lifelong teammate in our Dietician, a 20-year Emory Lecturer in Health and Nutrition who truly seeks to understand each family’s unique journey and the inherent complexities our students face.

The qEEG utilizes technology designed to identify and measure the specific regions of a student's brain where communication flow is lacking (hypo-coherence) and where communication flow is locked up (hyper-coherence). It results in a visual representation of areas of the brain experiencing dysregulation, as well as information on impaired conduction, brain wave balance, and connectivity between different regional neuronal networks.

Based on our findings during the evaluation process, a very intentionally customized program is designed for each individual student – one that uniquely allows the student to develop the right neural pathways and normalize communication flow within the brain.

Programming encompasses a multidisciplinary approach that consists of hundreds of interventions to be completed consistently and with high intensity. In addition to being consistently refined by the latest research in neuroscience and our own depth of experience, our interventions pull what we believe to be the best principles from evidence-based disciplines such as physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, recreational therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, applied behavior analysis therapy, and relationship-based therapy.

Studies in neurogenesis and the benefits of exposure to negatively-charged ions, for example, have informed our daily routine as well as the composition of our campuses – which are very intentionally places of peace, beauty, joy, and healing. In addition to the therapeutic principles listed above, students engage in art therapy, music therapy, animal-assisted therapy, and our Taste of Love Bakery program as part of their regularly scheduled school week.

Placement is determined based on many factors, such as the level of support that will ensure a student experiences consistent challenge and consistent success each day. Programming is implemented each day by a dedicated team of teachers who come from a wide variety of related backgrounds, and who care deeply about our mission and the families we serve.   

Guided By Love

Research is clear — a student must perceive an environment as “safe” in order to maximize learning and new neural growth. If an environment is not perceived to be safe, the brain generates a sympathetic nervous system (fight-or-flight) response and a flood of cortisol and adrenaline. Growth, change, and access to higher reasoning cannot occur in this survival state.

Interpersonal relationship deeply shapes and influences the development of a student's brain. Our commitment is that each student will experience their customized plan of care in a safe environment with instructors that embrace our core values of hope, truth, and love.

Over the past several decades, our Interpersonal Whole-Brain Model of Care has been consistently refined by the latest research in neuroscience and integral evidence-based disciplines, as well as by our own depth of experience walking this journey alongside thousands of Jacob's Ladder families.

Our commitment to remain grounded in science and guided by love is steadfast and unwavering.

See How Jacob's Ladder Changes Lives


Like You, We Want Your Child To Reach Their Full Potential

"I tell people all the time – it’s a miracle. He is getting his life back. And we are too. We used to not be able to go anywhere because of the worry of what will happen. The last couple of months is the most peace we have felt in a very long time.”

- A Hope School Parent


The Journey of Jacob's Ladder

Letter from Founder

As of this writing in May 2021, much has changed for Jacob’s Ladder, and yet, much has purposely remained the same.


We have experienced much growth and opportunity over this journey of 26 years. Our campus and staff have grown; our programs are more sophisticated and refined. The methodology has been solidified and has been converted into a digital platform that allows us to greatly expand our reach, affording the opportunity to serve children and families despite location,  as we complete a telehealth digital service platform.


What hasn’t changed?


Over the past 26 years we have remained faithful to our core values of Hope, Truth and Love:

HOPE is a cherished trust in transformation and a life lived through possibilities.

TRUTH is integrity in action, character and speech based on what is accurate and honest.

LOVE always HOPES and perseveres, regardless of circumstances and is a choice we make to value and honor another with our actions.

We have deepened our belief that within these core values true healing and transformation are possible. Actually expected. Taking the best in neuroscience and neurobiological advancements and applying them in a culture richly steeped in love—both are important, both are necessary for growth. The Jacob’s Ladder Interpersonal Whole Brain Model of Care (IWBMC) provides targeted individualized intervention delivered daily. This targeted intervention occurs within an authentic relational model of interaction, allowing the experience of safety and connection. Our model is no magic bullet. It takes time, collaboration, and dedication. These are defining elements, and must be present as our staff daily utilize each and every moment as a therapeutic opportunity.


The journey of 26 years has been a miraculous one. It has been a humbling and gratifying experience to meet the thousands of children and families that have been served thus far at Jacob’s Ladder. I have witnessed much transformation. Jacob, the namesake of our school is 28 years old this year. He is a phenomenal young man—a teacher, a trainer of a yellow lab named Grace, and the mission holder of Jacob’s Ladder. He has a true gift of understanding and connecting with his students, paired with a grace filled strength that helps to lead them forward. He also has  great insight for situational assessment and strategy development. A miracle to witness given his beginning in life. My daughter Aubry is now in her early 30’s, and is an integral part of the school. Through the years she has completed extensive training and has become well versed in every aspect of Jacob’s Ladder both clinically and operationally. Maybe even more importantly though, she has her own story to tell. She has grown up , the daughter to a mom who focused an extraordinary amount of time and energy on her younger sibling. And, she grew up as a sibling to her little brother Jacob, who struggled mightily at times. She will tell her story in time. I mention this because many of you  also have a family system with a similar dynamic—it has been such a mixture of profound joy and sorrow, as I am sure it has been for most of you reading this letter.


If you are a parent in the midst of a new diagnosis , or are in the ongoing difficulty that comes with watching your child or loved one struggle, I hope I get the chance to meet and speak with you. I would consider it great joy to help.


In closing, I must share this; the greatest gift about this journey with Jacob, Aubry, and the creation of Jacob’s Ladder has been the deepening of my faith. Learning how to depend on God in each and every step.


As Christ said to the Apostle Paul,


      “My grace is sufficient for you, my strength is made perfect in weakness.”

                                                                                                   2 Corinthians 12:9


It was in the weakness, the brokenness and the struggle, that we found life.


Amy O’Dell