The philosophy behind the program is basically simple. We say in effect, “Kid, it doesn’t matter how miserably your environment has failed to teach you the basic concepts that the average five-year-old has long since mastered. We’re not going to fail you. We’re not going to discriminate against you, or give up on you, regardless of how unready you may be according to traditional standards. We are not going to label you with a handle, such as dyslexic or brain-damaged, and feel that we have now exonerated ourselves from the responsibility of teaching you. We’re not going to punish you by requiring you to do things you can’t do. We’re not going to talk about your difficulties to learn. Rather, we will take you where you are, and we’ll teach you. And the extent to which you fail is our failure, not yours. We will not cop out by saying, “He can’t learn.” Rather, we will say, “I failed to teach him. So I better take a good look at what I did and try to figure out a better way.”
Engelmann, S. (2007). Teaching needy kids in our backward system: 42 years of trying. Eugene, OR: ADI Press.