I always knew that I wanted to be a special education teacher. In college, I was taught that students with learning disabilities would always have them. “That’s how they are. That’s how they will always be. They will have to learn how to deal with it.”
We didn’t learn how to “fix” the disabilities. We just learned how to accommodate and modify. For example, if they couldn’t read, we would read it to them. And so on.
When I taught at the elementary school level, I believed that when my students went to middle school, their teachers would continue to work on fixing their weaknesses. I had no idea that where they were in their reading level when they left me in 5th grade was where they would still be when they graduated high school. It was heartbreaking.
In my last year of teaching, I taught 6th grade. I had 17 students with learning disabilities that were reading between a kindergarten and a 4th-grade level. I had 45 minutes per day to teach them to read. The focus was on getting them prepared to pass the state test. They were allowed to have their tests read to them. No one really cared if they could read, just that they could pass the test. My students were bright and could pass the test as long as it was read to them.
The weight of knowing I wasn’t going to be with them when they went to take their driver’s test or fill out a job application was overwhelming. Who cared if they could pass the test if they didn’t have the critical skill of reading? I came home crying almost every night. There had to be something more that I could do.
I began searching for ways to help my students and found a website that talked about how they were different than a typical tutoring center or school. Their work was based on how the brain processes information. With the right training, the brain can be strengthened to get rid of whatever is actually causing a learning disability in the first place.
This was so different than what I had ever heard before, but it made so much sense to me. For the first time, I felt a sense of hope that I would be able to help all of my students.
I attended the training and was so excited to use these strategies with my students. I spoke to the administration and the special education supervisor and was told that it wasn’t possible to use these strategies in the school. It didn’t matter how effective they were. (After all, while it’s not the schools’ fault, the way they measure success is the number of students who pass the SOLs.)
I was so frustrated! My hands were tied. I had the knowledge, but I wasn’t able to use it. I couldn’t take it anymore so I opened our learning center in March 2003. There was such a need for our specialized work that we grew quickly. I stopped teaching full time so I could focus on running the Learning Enhancement Centers.
We have helped thousands of students since that time. People call every day with stories of their children’s struggles. It’s the most exciting feeling to know that we can offer hope to families like yours.
If you or someone you love struggles with learning, we understand your pain and can help by:
We have the solution you’ve been looking for. We’re dedicated to finding out what’s causing the problem and determining the most efficient way to solve it. We won’t waste your time. If we’re not the right place, we will absolutely tell you. There are three no-risk ways to start the ball rolling.
You can call for a free phone consultation, schedule an evaluation, or attend a parent information night. We’re looking forward to helping you soon.