Donna Weston, Founder and Executive Director
Working with any student is an honor and a privilege. In Discovery, educational therapists long to have students long enough to see them through the whole process – growing from struggling learners to independent learners. Ian is one of those. His story is so inspiring, please take time to view his story: Ian and Dyslexia: A "1 in 5" Story
Ian was one of those students who was very dyslexic! Smart, smart young man, but reading was torture. His first two years were with another educational therapist and then she moved and I took over. What a trip! I had known that he was not thrilled to be on this journey…many students are not. He put up with it and did everything he was asked, but in his third year he went from going through the motions to taking full ownership of his learning. The joy on his face when we got the results of his last full psycho-educational evaluation by a psychologist is something I will never forget. He had overcome his dyslexia to the point that he no longer had that diagnosis! Not only had his test scores changed dramatically, but the effort to learn – his ability to learn – had improved. His IQ (which measures how easy or difficult learning is for the individual) had gone up as well as his academic scores! Oh, and by the way, he applied for college – which he had sworn he would never do – and was accepted.
By the beginning of 8th grade, we were fully aware that Ian was not an independent learner. Reading was extremely time consuming and required an extraordinary amount of effort for Ian. And then he was unable to remember what was read after the fact. So, we started to use audio books. He could write papers and yet was unable to determine what a complete sentence was! With Discovery Therapies’ encouragement, we decided to have him tested in order to pinpoint what his specific difficulties were. We needed to know if he had character issues or a learning difference that needed to be addressed. His diagnosis of dyslexia was actually a relief! Now that we knew what he was dealing with, we were able to come up with a plan to help him grow.
Before the diagnosis, we had felt like we were fumbling around in the dark; the diagnosis enabled us to be led to a solution. As parents we were hopeful in moving forward. And Ian himself was relieved to know of the reason for his struggling. His DTI (Discovery Therapies, Inc.) educational therapist did a beautiful job of building trust with our junior high boy – which is not easy to do! And my observations of sessions helped me to know how to help him at home. Progress took time. The first year he dictated reports to me and then we would edit them together. The second year he demonstrated greater independence, but still needed extra help.
Upon graduation of educational therapy, he had learned how to ask relevant questions and communicate in complete sentences. He learned to love debates, and usually won them! Educational therapy helped him gain confidence in every area. Because of this he was able to gain a higher score on the SAT, he lost his diagnosis of dyslexia, and he received an acceptance letter from Liberty University. The struggles that he was able to overcome resulted in him gaining amazing perseverance and great compassion. He will now tell you that his ultimate goal is to pursue psychology in order to help others.
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