After 45 years of feeling worthless

This is why adults are my favorite type of student: 

Howard will be graduating from Level 10 of the Barton System in a few weeks.

Howard is an adult who was referred to us from a literacy center because they were not able to help him.

When Howard was young and in school, he was teased mercilessly because he could not read. He defended himself the only way he knew how — with his fists. The schoolyard scuffles turned into street fights, knife fights, and jail time.

When he came to us, he could not read the word “cat.”

He did not pass your student screening, so I had to start him with LiPS program and then took him into Level 1. He made slow but steady progress, although he considered dropping out because he felt the early words were too babyish. Luckily, he stuck with it, and he continued to improve.

Once, when we were walking out, I said to him, “You’re getting a little better each day.” He replied, “And I’m holding my head a little higher each day.” After 45 years of feeling worthless, he finally started feeling good about himself.

I wish I could say this story has a happy ending. Sadly, last April, Howard was diagnosed with ALS and the doctors only gave him 1-2 years. It’s been hard watching this once big, strong man deteriorate so much. He’s lost most of the control of his muscles, but his mind still works. We’ve been working very hard to finish the Barton System before the inevitable occurs.

I’m happy to say Howard will complete the entire Barton program in a few weeks. This is important because Howard has never achieved any scholastic success of any kind in his life. Your graduation certificate will be his first diploma of any kind.

Of the hundreds of students I’ve seen at the Dyslexia Reading Connection, none have made me more proud than Howard. He’s worked his tail off despite ever increasing obstacles, he’s never complained, and he’s always worked hard. I’m so happy to see him finally succeed in an academic pursuit.

Peter Ducklow
Dyslexia Reading Connection
Appleton, WI

One response

  1. Thank you, after hearing this story I am livened that after 29 years I could learn to read. I just need to find a tutor…Let me know any good ones that could offer remote tutoring services.

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