Tag Archives: learning disability

Trying to make a difference

Special Ed teachers are so frustrated with the school system that they often leave and become private tutors, as this one shared in a recent email: 

Susan, I have a real passion for the students who don’t catch on to reading and spelling when taught using regular curriculum.

In fact, that’s why I switched from being a regular ed teacher to a special ed teacher. I attended several Orton-Gillingham workshops and seminars, and I bought the first few Barton levels with my own money to use with my LD students.

For the past 2 years, I taught Barton as best I could within the special ed system – and got some fabulous results. My principal was amazed at the increased reading levels of my students.

Trying to make a difference

But with all the “red tape” and political stuff we have to deal with, the special ed system does not allow me to do what I am I really passionate about: meeting each student’s individualized needs.

I am not allowed to spend enough time, with the correct resources, in a small enough group to help my students become the best they can be.

Sadly, I know I cannot change the special ed system. So I have decided to leave and start offering one-on-one Barton tutoring.

I know not every parent will be able to afford to hire me. But I would rather serve a few children well, so they reach their potential, then continue to serve many students poorly.

Wish me luck. This is a big leap of faith, and quite a change for me. But it’s the only way I can do what I’m passionate about: helping these bright kids the right way.

My First Adult Student

As you may know, Susan Barton started in this field by tutoring adults with dyslexia. So emails like this make her heart sing.   

My first adult student was diagnosed with a ‘learning disorder’ in kindergarten. She graduated from high school, yet she could not read. When I met her, she was 26, fighting to recover from addiction, and had lost custody of her kids.

When I first started tutoring this woman a year and a half ago, she was in an adult literacy program at our local library. A friend of mine had volunteered to work with her using Laubach, but they were not making much progress.

When my friend had to move, she was worried about this woman, who was at such a vulnerable time in her recovery. So my friend asked me to take over. I was hopeful that the Barton Reading & Spelling System would work as well for an adult as it had worked for my younger students.

When I first met this woman, whenever she would try to read something, she would look up after EVERY word for confirmation from me that she had said the correct word. We are now in Book 4. Yesterday, she read an entire chapter in a real book with confidence — without looking up at me, and she was able to self-correct when necessary.

Long story short, my adult student can now read, and she has her kids back.

I am amazed, thankful, and thrilled with my success with such a “hopeless” case. Never ever give up on adults !!!

Barbara Suit, Certified Barton Tutor
Saratoga, CA

Parents are stressed

Parents are often more stressed about school starting than their kids, as this parent shared:

Linda is about to start second grade, and I am so worried.

Linda has ALL the classic warning signs! Some I didn’t even know were signs until I watched your video.

She used to say “teanut butter,” “Janjuary,”, and “Yew Nork.” It was cute back then.

She had two sets of tubes and had her adenoids out at 2.

At the end of kindergarten, the teacher said Linda could not write her ABCs on the assessment. She left out 7 letters. And Linda could not figure out which letters she had left out – not even when she sang the song.

Despite tutoring with the teacher ALL summer before first grade – no improvement. We read a book that had the word “star” in it at least 15 times. Linda read it correctly 14 out of 15 times, but on the last page, she could not read that word. I was flabbergasted!

Writing is such a chore. She definitely has dysgraphia.

And don’t even ask me how many hours a week we waste trying to memorize the weekly spelling list.

Toward the end of first grade, I had her tested at school for a learning disability. Her IQ is 120. She tested in the 99th percentile in verbal comprehension and perceptual reasoning, but only the 42nd percentile in working memory, and the 13th percentile in processing speed. The school psychologist claimed that meant she was not dyslexic. He noticed her writing difficulties, but said Linda just needed to practice more.

This summer, I had Linda work with a reading specialist 3 days a week. It seemed to help a little. Linda is currently signed up to start with this reading specialist again when she starts second grade – next week.

Her latest “incident” has been trying to learn our phone number. Through her tears, Linda tried for 30 minutes to learn it. We sang songs, tried clapping it, etc. Nothing helped her remember it. She doesn’t know our address, either.

Does this sound like dyslexia to you?

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