Issue 23 | September 7, 2012 | Important Dates & Featuring Neil Crawford
We listened to you and found a family who would tell us about the high school experience of their student with a learning disability. This is the saga of an overcomer; all the facts are true, but the names are changed; I'm sure you will understand.
Inside NARHS: Portfolios Due October 31
August 31 was an important due date. People are calling because they think they owe a late fee now since their portfolio has not arrived. Don't worry. You have until October 31 to get your portfolio to your advisor without a late fee imposed.
For all Maine families and others assigned to Maureen, her mailing address is 120 Voter Road, Farmington Maine, 04938, phone 207-778-3545 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For all other advisors, send the portfolio to 14 S. 6th Ave. Yakima, Wa 98902, attention to your advisor's name.
FEATURED STUDENT: Neil Crawford
When Neil was in first grade, he was apparently struggling with reading, writing and spelling. With both parents and teachers aware of Neil's limitations, the family tried a series of tests, including vision exams, but all tests showed nothing. The optometrist did not hold answers to why Neil would not see things or write words in straight lines (nor could Neil verbalize how he saw things differently.) His eyes would skip across lines so much that it was difficult to comprehend what he was reading.
At third grade, the teacher was so concerned, she wanted to put Neil back into the second grade. When the parents resisted, she had him put into a special reading program at school allowing for accommodations for the apparent disabilities. He made no progress in that program. His handwriting and reading skills were falling far behind those of his peers. The school's programs had no answers to boost Neil's academic performance. If there had not been a home schooling option, it would have seemed like a dead end for Neil's education.
Neil entered home schooling at "fourth grade" knowing full-well that he had a learning problem. Since Neil did have a strong interest in science and math, Sarah felt it was important for Neil to progress as quickly as possible in both of those subjects, primarily to strengthen his confidence. Sarah was a certified teacher who had been trained in Writing Road to Reading techniques, so she used those with Neil but made little progress. One "small" break through came when the parents discovered that Neil was exceptional at memorizing. So Sarah taught him to memorize the spelling of words, short story sequences, verses, and math facts. Neil could remember it all quite vividly. Through those exercises he developed a memory that was exceedingly skillful. Even to this day, when Neil hears something, he remembers details that are remarkable.
As Sarah thinks back on those early home school years, she feels that the one attribute that got Neil through was that he was very motivated to learn. He never gave up. Mom also tried to have him work through educational therapy (NILD) with a therapist and at home. But despite all Sarah's efforts, through elementary and middle school he kept puttering along at a slower than normal pace.
A major break through came in high school when he took courses at a coop-like program. Despite his limitations, Neil's drive to learn caused him to challenge himself with courses such as speech and composition. The teachers of those classes proved to be the key that unlocked skills Sarah did not know existed. The composition teacher, in particular, would build him up by writing notes of encouragement. He got a good grade in a "hard" class, and he finally gained the confidence that was lacking. It gave him the courage to try some other things.
From that great start, he got involved with Child Evangelism Fellowship, spending as much time as he could volunteering at the clubs. He had to spend literally hours reading and memorizing the Bible stories and the timing of the events as they were told. It wasn't long before he mastered the skill. Exercising his memory had turned out to be the way he compensated for his disability. That compensation effort had hatched a super ability in another direction.
With those challenges successfully behind him, Neil went on to take Biblical philosophy courses on line at Liberty University where he gained an understanding of the subject which is quite mature. That learning he was also able to not only incorporate into the CEF stories but also express in a way that children can understand.
The latest breakthrough came about 2 years ago, when Sarah met Dr. France Morrow, author of Shoot for the Stars, A Practical Guide for Helping Your Child Achieve Success in School and the Workplace (more about this guide is printed below Neil's story). Along with therapy that Dr. Morrow introduced to Sarah was also information on the affects of light sensitivity on a person's vision. Colored plastic overlays CAN relax the eyes causing the printed page to appear stationary. When Neil's mom showed him the variety of colored plastic overlays set over his reading material, Neil said, "I did not know that words could be still!."
For more information see READING BY THE COLORS, author Helen Irlen
SHOOT FOR THE STARS by France Morrow (psychology professor at Washington State University) poses these questions:
Does your child struggle with reading?
Have memory or attention problems?
Here's how to remove the HIDDEN barriers to your child's reading and learning!
The manual tells exactly how to diagnose learning barriers (at home) and then recommends specific computer software that exercises the student's eyes, ears and brain in order to strengthen the weak areas. The software recommended is published by Parrot. The book is available through Amazon.