We came to Linda when my daughter, Kirsten, was about to enter 4th grade. I came to Linda because I had a feeling that something was not working right with Kirsten from a reading perspective. Beginning in kindergarten through first grade, we worked with a regular reading tutor who was recommended by the school district.
When Kirsten was in second grade, we tried the Kumon program. In third grade, we tried another tutor who would help with reading and math. Eventually, I started working with her on my own. Through this time, Kirsten was doing OK by the school district’s standards. She was getting B’s and even some A’s. But, my observation was that this was very, very painful for her. And it didn’t seem to me that all was right. The level of effort she was putting in -- compared to what she was getting out -- just seemed disproportionate.
My husband has dyslexia, which we had raised up to the school district throughout the entire process. We thought that perhaps Kirsten had dyslexia, but their assessment was that she was progressing and was doing fine. When I began to work with her and not getting outside support, I realized that something was definitely wrong. Kirsten just wasn’t grasping concepts for reading. She hated to read. At that point we went and got an independent test done because I was anticipating that I would have to fight with the school to get her what she needed. We also got the results of the PSSA which showed that she was right on the borderline for reading and math between basic and proficient, but just over the line. This was a concern to me, but I knew it would not be a concern to the school, so I decided to take action on my own.
I then met Linda. Linda is a very powerful, charismatic person and she really believes that the kids have the ability to read. She is amazing. She’s tough in the sense that she’s going to tell you what is going on and is going to push you as a parent -- just as much as the children -- to do what needs to get done. Her level of confidence in the children and enthusiasm for teaching, all while loving them through the whole process, is absolutely amazing.
That first summer was our dark time. It was a very hard time for us – and especially for Kirsten. Linda was the light for us at the end of the tunnel. We grabbed on to her and hung on – through the ups and downs. Kirsten didn’t always want to do the work and challenged Linda by pretending she didn’t know something. This was a tactic that had worked for her in the past with her teachers who would then give her extra help. This was a technique Kirsten also used with her peers and even with her mother. Linda called me on it and said you have to let her do this and you have to back off. I had been covering Kirsten’s bases for so long that that was really difficult for me to hear her say, but in my heart, I knew Linda was right.
Kirsten saw Linda that first year twice a week because she was so far behind and we had a lot of work to do. Kirsten, at the same time, did get assistance from the school in fourth grade. They would pull her out for reading and math. In fifth grade she had caught up with her peers and we made the decision not to have her pulled out of class. We continued with Linda all through 5th grade including over the summer.
Kirsten moved up into proficient at the end of her fourth grade year. When she tested last year for the PSSAs in fifth grade, she was solidly in the advanced section for reading and even math. It’s crazy how far Kirsten went. She went from needing a math tutor in 3rd grade to being asked to participate in the advanced math program in 6th grade. Though we decided it was best for Kirsten to continue to build her confidence by participating in the advanced class, for her just to be asked was the most amazing thing– a true mark of her own personal success.
Linda also worked on some Kinesiology with Kirsten. So far, Kinesiology has helped Kirsten significantly. I also made some changes to clean up our diet which has always been pretty organic and natural, but now Kirsten does not have any food dyes, additives or preservatives. This is a far cry from the days when she was in third grade and and would throw herself on the floor and cry when she did her homework, to having a sixth grader who comes home, opens the books, does her homework, and if she has questions, she asks. If she is struggling with something, we work together to look it up. It is a 180-degree turnaround from where we were.
If a person learns something about one particular subject area, generally speaking, she can apply that knowledge to other areas. With Kirsten, my observation was that she had a hard time connecting the dots. The Kinesiology has really helped her to pull that together. She can take learning that she has had in one area and apply it somewhere else. She was not able to do this before. I think the Kinesiology was a huge factor for her and enabled her to make those connections.
I also felt that Kirsten previously had a word recall issue. She would pause before she would say a word. This wasn’t really noticeable to other people, but it was certainly noticeable to me. That has gone away, which I think can also be attributed to the Kinesiology. Previously, Kirsten would simply zone out. We would be trying to work on schoolwork and her brain would just not be working. She would try to focus and couldn’t do it. I am so happy to see that this behavior is also completely gone. She is focused and on-target. Her brain is working all the time now.
From the time that Kirsten was in kindergarten through third grade, every single year I had a teacher tell me that maybe you should have her tested for ADHD. This happened every year. And every year I would get the books and I would read all the knowledge base there was on ADHD, and I would conclude that Kirsten does not have ADHD. It is frustrating because I feel that so many children are being medicated and being misdiagnosed. Kirsten is a high-energy person, but she is focused and full of creativity and spirit. It makes me so sad for parents and children who don’t have the luxury of having a Linda in their life, or have the time to do the research that they need to do. As for Kirsten, she did not have ADHD – my child’s energy level, enthusiasm and lust for life was – and is -- not gone. She is still her wonderful, spirited little self.
Kirsten is now 11 years old and has been working with Linda for the past two years. Kirsten went from never wanting to read aloud to volunteering this year to do the morning announcements in school. She also ran for student council (which involved a public speech), volunteered to be hall safety and participated in other school activities. I believe this is because her confidence has increased dramatically as a result of the reading improvement.
My recommendation is this: you need to go and talk to Linda because she is going to show you another path that is going to lead to success for your child. The hope that you thought you did not have – you are going to find when you talk to Linda.