“I guess I am just stupid” were the words we dreaded hearing from our 8 year-old son, Thomas, as he struggled with reading in third grade. We hated seeing that sense of resignment in his eyes that that was the only explanation he had for why he struggled with such a “basic” task. We knew there was something more. This was our child who was always so curious, so insightful, so thoughtful. He had done very well with his schoolwork in the past. We were missing something. We worked with his teachers who also struggled with an explanation, and we were eventually told by our principal that “maybe he’s just average.”
Unsatisfied with that answer, we were fortunate to be able to keep searching. We were close friends with Christie at Learning Matters and had been talking to her about the programs at Learning Matters. As we changed schools, we also set Thomas up for twice a week tutoring. In the first few months, Thomas was diagnosed with dyslexia and dysgraphia. Finally we had an explanation and, more importantly, methods to help him.
Pam, our wonderful tutor, collaborates closely with our school learning specialists and knows exactly how to inspire our son. She created a curriculum to help him catch up, to become more confident, and, most importantly, to learn how to advocate for himself. She has helped him gain confidence and realize that being dyslexic is not a defect or something of which to be ashamed. Thomas’s reading markedly improved, and the progress in his standardized testing has been remarkable. Most importantly, he’s no longer angry and frustrated. Homework is no longer an hours-long argument every night. The transformation is incredible, and we owe so much to the Learning Matters team. Last week, the words we heard from Thomas reflected how far he’s come with the help of Learning Matters. As we asked him to put away a book to come to dinner, he resisted, stating “Dad, it’s such a good book! What’s wrong with just reading for fun?!”