Tag Archives: adult

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

The right type of tutoring works !!!!

Parents, if your child’s school does not provide the right type of tutoring, then you need to provide it after school.

Some parents hire a professional tutor for the reason this tutor shared:

The Barton System continues to feed my soul. I am so grateful for having this opportunity to witness firsthand how your program changes lives.

A mother was in my living room the other day listening to her son read the stories from Book 3, Lesson 1. He had gotten this far in only 8 sessions with me, yet his school had threatened to retain him in first grade.

His mother started sobbing and shared that in college, she had failed Freshman English seven  times. So she finally dropped out. “Why didn’t they have this when I was a child? I could have succeeded,” she cried.

Naturally, I started crying too.

Thank you, Susan, for changing the world!

Many parents tutor their own children using the Barton System with great success, as this mother shared:

I am replying to your email to share with you our joy.

My 10 year old son, Mike, is at the end of level three. Today I told him to read the end-of-the-lesson story aloud by himself, while I checked for your e-mail.

I quietly noticed he was applying the rules, checking for tricky letters, and moving right along – all by himself. Before he finished, he even noticed his fluent reading.

He turned to me and said, “Mom, I can read. This woman (meaning you) understands me!!!”

It was a moment I’ve been praying for. Thank you for all the hard work that you do.

But I get the biggest thrill of all when the parent gets tutoring, as this Barton tutor shared:

Jerry discovered his own dyslexia at age 50, when his son was diagnosed. Jerry shared that he could not physically keep doing logging, but he had always turned down desk jobs because they involved paperwork. He was always coming up with inventions to solve mechanical challenges, but he could not follow through and market them because of his spelling and writing challenges.

So I started tutoring him using the Barton System. He has been getting tutoring 2 to 3 times a week for about a year.

Six months ago, he was hired by a local technology company. Jerry works with the owner designing new products. He is doing well and has received several raises and promotions.

Just last week, he wrote his first letter ever – to his son Frank in boot camp. His son said he cried when he read it. He wrote back to tell his dad that he was his hero!

By the way, the Barton Reading & Spelling System is not the only system that works. For a list of other Orton-Gillingham-based systems that work, click here.

Tech Tools are not enough

Technology tools help adults with dyslexia survive. But as the following emails prove, they never stop wanting to improve their reading and spelling skills.

One woman wrote:

I watched your video on dyslexia, and I am exactly like your brother’s child.

I am 48. I am using Naturally Speaking software to write this. Otherwise, I would spend my entire day trying to fix my spelling mistakes.

I’m at the point where my heart is on the floor. I have tried every program in school, out of school, and on the internet.

At the moment, I’m doing a program that is supposed to increase your brain power to try please my mother for the last time.

My tears were flowing as I watched the demo of your program. Your program is the best I have seen in all my life. It makes so much sense to me.

I’m upset to realize that the form of dyslexia I have is complicated. I am also sad because I know this problem will never go away.

I don’t have to tell you the agony that a person living with dyslexia goes through. Because of that, when I was 16, I decided not to have kids. And that was a wise decision.

Things that happen in the classroom also happen at work, as this man shared:

I am 30 years old. I have always struggled with reading. I received extra help in school through Title 1 Reading, Special Ed, and summer school. As you might suspect, I hated school and would avoid going whenever possible.

Recently, I was at a seminar for my work and was asked to read out loud to the group. I was mortified.

Is there anything that would help me – an adult who has struggled for so many years – read better?

Yes. Adults with dyslexia can improve their reading and spelling at any age – so they will not have to avoid careers, as this woman did:

I am a deep thinker. I love learning about different religions and talking about God with my friends. So I would like to get a Masters degree in Theology.

But with that degree, I would end up being a teacher – which I am afraid to do because I would have to write things on the board.

I would also have to grade papers, so I would need to know more about punctuation than just a period and a comma.

And I might even have to read passages aloud to the class.

As the following man shared, companies that employ dyslexic adults are often willing to pay to improve their skills.

I am 56 years old, and I have tried a lot of things during my life to overcome dyslexia.

It started when I was in second grade. I can remember my mom crying when she tried to teach me my spelling words.

I attended summer tutoring for 4 years in a row to try to learn to read. Finally, the tutor said he would not work with me any more because it was a waste of money.

I took phonics in college, but it did not help. In fact, I failed a speech therapy class because I could not hear the sounds.

Many years later, I went to a dyslexia center. But they said they could not help me because I was too old.

Your video nailed me to a tee. When you talked about left and right confusion, that’s me. I always use spell check, and yes, sometimes it does say “no suggestions” or I pick the wrong word from the list because I can’t read them all.

I am in charge of a region with 145 centers that generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. My company is trying to find something to help me. Is it too late? If not, what would you recommend?

No, it is never, ever too late to greatly improve the reading, spelling, and writing skills of adults with dyslexia. The oldest student I personally worked with was 69 years old when we started. The oldest Barton student I have met was 83.

If adults get at least 2 hours of one-on-one tutoring by someone using an Orton-Gillingham based system designed for adults, such as the Barton Reading & Spelling System or the Wilson Reading System, their skills – and their self-esteem – will get so much better.


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