No Tears Tutoring
“If you have kids who are struggling with dyslexia, the greatest gift you can give them is the sense that nothing is unattainable. ”
Orlando Bloom, actor
Understanding a child with special needs can be a daunting task–for parents and educators alike. Students with learning differences and challenges often suffer–academically and socially–and have low self-esteem. Ellen Werther, earned an endorsement in special education while earning her master’s degree. As part of her graduate-level work, she extensively researched dyslexia and other learning disabilities. She and her team have worked with students with dyslexia, dyscalculia, ADHD combined, processing disorders, ODD, and Aspergers Syndrome.
Often, parents come to us because they have been told by the school (or suspect) their child has a learning disability. Sometimes, during tutoring and/or parent coaching, we uncover learning differences and challenges not caught by the school.
Whenever possible, we meet with the parents and teachers or school administrators to discuss these concerns informally. As necessary, we work with parents to set up a Child Study, beginning the IEP process. Navigating the IEP process can be challenging and confusing. If an IEP is already in place, we work with parents to ensure it includes “SMART” goals and accommodations; and that these are being followed by the student’s teachers.
Recently, we worked with a 7th grader whose birth mom drank during pregnancy. As a result, the young lady suffered from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), which manifested in a profound learning disability in math and challenges with attention and organization.
Her teachers, while well meaning, did not fully understand FAS and presented material in a way the young lady found confusing and overwhelming. We worked with her twice a week, reteaching basic math concepts–going back to material she had missed in earlier grades. We worked with the parents and school to change her math placement and to modify assignments. Eventually, the young lady began to grasp the basics. As she became stronger in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, she was able to work with fractions and then moved on to manipulating simple algebraic equations. Whereas before, this student hated math–she felt inadequate and was easily frustrated–she now enjoys the subject.
While she is still performing below grade level, she has made tremendous progress. She is beginning to enjoy math and wants to come to tutoring. We have amended her IEP and have helped her teachers better understand how to work with her.