Learning Ally Blog: Access and Achievement

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Now more than ever, people with learning and visual disabilities are flourishing in the classroom, launching productive careers and becoming assets in their communities. This blog spotlights remarkable individuals who demonstrate that having a visual or print disability is no barrier to educational success.


From Struggling Student to National Honor's Society!
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by Eileen Tait-Acker, Headstrong Nation My son, Evan was identified dyslexic at age 8 in second grade.  He had struggled in the public school for a year and Evan in Milford Singerswas on the cusp of qualifying for special education.  I believe he was "stealth" like many dyslexic kids are, bright and verbal, but with asynchronous reading and writing skills, and you could see that the school day was killing him.  As the school didn't identify him initially, I chose a cyber school model for him, had him re-evaluated and Evan was found to have SLD (Specific Learning Disability) in reading and writing and was about a year and a half behind. We were able to get him started with an OG (Orton-Gillingham) product the cyber school offered (Barton), and I worked with him daily, and his reading specialist also administered it to him 4x/week virtually, online. As Evan loved to hear a story and would retain information that he learned really well, we decided to join Learning Ally to give him the ability to be more independent in reading, as it wasn't always physically possible for me to read to him "on demand". Our family is a Learning Ally family! We have availed ourselves of much that Learning Ally has to offer, including audiobooks, webinars for parents, empowering YES webinars, parent consultations, and the highly informative IMG_8666 (2)"Spotlight on Dyslexia" event.  We have grown with Learning Ally from the time it was called the RFB&D (Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic) and my son Evan's books were sent to us via snail mail on discs,  to the present where he can enjoy ear -reading his books with voice text across multiple platforms. Evan puts his ear buds in and is ready to go with the touch of a button!
Learning Ally audiobooks have enabled my Evan to keep pace with his peers in the classroom.  He can enjoy stories which he chooses on his own and he also is able to read his teacher assigned novels, which helps him to be exposed to rich vocabulary and a world of literature and learning without getting bogged and fatigued from reading the text from a conventional book.
He's gone from a struggling reader to reading grade level and beyond, and Learning Ally audio books have played a big part in his success! 
Evan is currently a 7th grader.  We transitioned him back to public last year in 6th with an IEP.  We were unsure of how the transition would be.  We were delighted that we got Learning Ally through the school! He has made great strides in reading fluency through OG and Learning Ally back up.  I believe it has also helped his spelling by helping him to make connections. Evan Honor SocietyThis year, he was even inducted into the National Junior Honor Society! Last year he made distinguished honor roll for the last two marking periods. We are very proud of his accomplishments! (I try to tone down the bragging, but the thought of how far he's come brings tears to my eyes!) So, in summary, Evan's doing pretty well and with the right compliment of remediation, accommodations, assistive tech and the Learning Ally app, homework goes much more smoothly!
As a mom of a dyslexic son, an employee of Headstrong Nation, (a non-profit which empowers adult dyslexics) and a slow reader herself, I can fully appreciate that dyslexia persists throughout the lifespan.  Dyslexic children grow into dyslexic adults, and Learning Ally grows with them, through high school, college and beyond into career and adult life!  Ear-reading IS reading,  and Learning Ally has been instrumental in helping my child succeed!  Thanks, Learning Ally! PS: Here's a video of Evan being interviewed for his accomplishments. This child who has so often called himself stupid, stated he'd never go anywhere in life, and who felt he'd never have any friends is learning that with the right supports, perseverance and self-advocacy skills, he can get what he needs to thrive and begin to serve others in the process!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=835RVoWYWbw



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