Learning...Every Child Is Different

December 3, 2008

A week ago, Nick's school had parent teacher conferences to review the first semester report cards and to give updates on your child's progress so far this year. I look forward to these meetings because I always come away from them with lots of good info.

Anyhow, if you remember when the new school year started back in September, we hit a couple bumps in the road. Fifth grade was filled with lots of changes, and his teacher emailed me shortly after school started to discuss some of the issues Nick was having with his tests. Knowing that this year was a struggle from the beginning, I was mentally preparing myself for the report card that I was about to see.

Imagine my surprise to see a report card of straight A's.....I think I was in a state of shock!!

Now, I am not writing this to brag about Nick, but to share how and why he went from failing his weekly tests to straight A's on his report card.

When his teacher and I talked back in Septemeber she felt that he was having a very difficult time taking tests that required a lot of independent reading. Because Nick has a form of Dyslexia, they were willing to read the tests to him and he was to answer them verbally, then write the answer on the test paper.

Nick does not attend a public school, so there is not a traditional resource room available for additional help when needed. Unfortunately, it is all up to his classroom teachers. As far as I am concerned, they have gone above and beyond to help him and make sure he is given every opportunity to answer the test questions in a manner that works for him, but is still fair. They have taken extra time out of their day to give him his tests privately.

As a parent, it is difficult to watch your child struggling in school. It was even more mind boggling to help him with his studying and send him to school knowing that he was fully prepared for the test only to get a letter stating that he had failed it the next day. It took some intense evaluations and some time and dedication from the school and teachers, but we have finally figured out what works for Nick. This new method of testing has made a huge difference in his grades......this was the best report card he has brought home in a long time.

Not only have the grades improved, his attitude and self confidence has improved as well. He is much more relaxed about taking tests. He is no longer panicking about trying to decode, read, and comprehend all the questions, nor is he worried about time because they let him have as long as he needs to complete each test.

I guess the lesson learned here and the point of my story is that every child is different and learns in a different manner. What works for one child may not work or come as easily to another.......and that does not mean one person is smarter than the other.....they just learn and retain things differently.

Nick, we are so proud of you.....keep up the good work!!



Cindy said...

I just found your blog this evening. My son and DIL, and both grandma's just returned from China with a new little girl to add to our family.
If you would like to read their blog it is:
Our new granddaughter is 11 mo. old and is so adorable. It was truly an experience of a lifetime.
Thanks for sharing with your blog.
Today is Blog Comment Day
I hope your day is perfect

fleur de lis cottage said...

Way to go Nick. What an awesome accomplishment. Handsome and smart too :)

Marla said...

That's awesome Lisa, I know you must be so proud of your guy! Way to go Nick!!

Kerry said...

You are so very right, Lisa. All our kids are different and process differently.
So great that Nick found what works for him.
Nick's positive report and turnaround is an amazing testiment to his dedication and postive attitude. And his mother's clear unwavering support and love.

Sounds like his teachers are really stepping up too.
Wonderful. Way to go, Nick!
Love that photo too.

Laura said...

It takes the will power and patience of "three" wonderful parents too.


Jodee said...

Wow! What a wonderful surprise! You must be so proud of your handsome boy! His teachers sound fabulous too!

Way to go, Nick! Keep up the good work.

Buzzings of a Queen Bee! said...

Lisa, that is so encouraging! I love to hear stories like that. I used to be a teacher before I became a mama, and it is so wonderful that Nick has such great teachers at school who will work with you and with him. Straight A's! That is such an accomplishment!

Shell in your Pocket said...

Way to go NICK!!! Thank goodness..these teachers have had a willing heart to reach out to him!!! What a great picture...such a handsome young "man"!
-sandy toes

jennifer said...

How exciting! I loved this post about your sweet little man. What a blessing to have good teachers that work with you.

Jennifer said...

WOW! Straight A's...That is awesome! Good job, Nick :)
It sounds like you are in a good school and getting the extra help that Nick needs, We are not in a public school either, and sometimes, it is harder to get the help needed without all the extra resources that a public school provides. So happy for you and Nick that he is doing and feeling better in school :)


Sherri said...

Way to go Nick!! That's awesome!

I'm glad the teachers were open to making changes and I bet he is too!

Aspiemom said...

That's great! I'm glad that he is not only getting such good grades, but he isn't stressing out as much. I know how difficult that is (my son has Aspergers) and how thankful you must be.

Another great pic, Lisa!

Tisha said...


How awesome! If I were you, I would definitely be bragging. ;) My Sloan has had many challenges in his short life and I know how true your words are! I am delighted to hear that Nick's educators have found the right formula. It sounds like a formula for success. He is blessed to have a mom who is his advocate and gives him the opportunities to succeed. Great job, Nick!!!!!

Amy said...

That is great news, Lisa!:)

Way to go, Nick!:)

God Bless,

P.S. Your blog header picture is beautiful!:)

Football and Fried Rice said...

Wow. How encouraging! HOw can you NOT brag & be so very proud!?!?!

ZONE F DG TEAM said...

Spoken so well. It's great the school is working with you's.

You have reason to be proud.

Keepp up the great work Nick!!!

Missy said...

Amen Lisa! I am SO proud of Nick! Tell him his cheering section in Tennessee couldn't be more proud of his straight A's and all that he has accomplished.

He must go to an outstanding school! Teaching can be so rewarding, especially when you have success stories like Nick's.

You must be SO proud! He's one fine kid, Lisa!

Shari said...

What a wonderful teacher to see Nick struggling and find a way to help him. Awesome job Nick for sticking with it when it isn't easy!

Patricia said...

What a fantastic accomplishment!! Sounds like a winning combination of your son's drive with great teachers! Being a teacher myself, I just LOVE to hear these amazing successes by children!! Way to go!

4D said...

Rock on Nick!

Keep smilin!

CC said...

Awesome job!!!!!!!!!

Don't forget there are tons of books on tape, text books often come with CDs of the materials, and there are a bunch of ways to manipulate the computer to "read" text and websites aloud to you.

Our Complete Family said...

Way to go Nick! Great job! Keep up the good work!
And the school teachers? Wow~ they sound GREAT, Lisa! So glad that he was matched with the ones he has this year! What a blessing for Nick, you guys, and them to learn from Nick!
xo, Les

Sylvia said...

Yeah Nick! It is so important for students to feel successful in school. Sounds like Nick is on the right track!

Christy said...

Lisa-- this is sooo familiar to me. First off, I am dyslexic and was diagnosed in high school but it showed in my grades from early grade school. It sounds like nick has a visual processing deficit that makes decoding difficult and therefore comprehention sufferes. Smart kids (with high IQ's) learn to compensate with for their disability by developing an alternative strong modality-- auditory processing. I was totally like Nick. REading outloud was the worst. I always struggled in reading and still am not a reader. Anyway, I am a total auditory person and my visual processing is horrible. I learned to compensate for my visual deficits by becomming really actute auditorly. If I hear it, I totally remember it. Going through school was tough as I too went to a private school and they really didnt know what to do with me. They all knew I seemed bright but they could not figure out why I was so low academically. I think after a few years they just assumed I was slow and they never really expected much from me. They wanted to put me in a "special" class but my parents would never let them. Anyway, learning was a struggle but I learned later in school years to have the motivation to give school 110% and it paid off. I also learned comepnsation strategies and that helped a lot. I learned to use highlighters to guide my eyes. After my poor school years I went to university and graduated with a 3.75 and then went straight to grad school and graduated with a masters in psychology and a 4.0. I am now a school psychologist and do all the testing to determine if learning disabilities are present. I love telling kids after I am done testing them that they are sooo smart and that they just learn a different way. It is like I am the first person to ever tell them that they are smart. I love sitting in IEP meetings and telling parents that their kids are smart but they just have a disability and need to be taught a differnt way-- I love the tears of relief that typically flow after I tell them that. I love what I do becuase it is so me-- I was one of these kids who had no self esteem because they thought they were dumb. They are not dumb at all-- most learning disabled (dyslexic etc.) kids are very smart and with proper intevention can go very far in life. I work for a local school distric 2 days a week but i just opened my own business as a Licensed Educational PSychologist and I now do independant evaluations for parents as well as for our local special education teams. I am starting to do work for the court system as well. You can check out my site at www.cornerstoneeducationalsolutions.com.

I am not telling you this to say I am soo smart but to tell you that us learning disabled kids can do a lot in our lives. We are just as smart and sometimes smarter than the average and we usually have much more motivatin than most kids and will give 110% as long as we are confident in our abiltiies. It is imperitive that learning disabled kids operate in their strength modality-- Nicks and mine is auditory processing. It is sooo important that they know how smart they are so that they have self esteem and this needs to happen in the early years-- sometimes if you wait too long they lose that spark. They also need teachers who are willing to work with them. I am very glad the teachers are willing to work with Nick but that shoud be the standard-- they should do that-- you need to know if a kid masters the info and if that needs to be in their strngth modality (auditory) then that is what that kid needs and they need to give it to them. Learning disabled kids need to have their teachers hand picked each year so that they are sure to have teachers who will work with them. One bad teacher can ruin years of good teaching. Their self esteems can be crushed with one bad teacher and sadly I see it happen all the time.

Anyway, I am so sorry to keep going on but you totally hit a nerve on this one. i am so happy nick is doing well and that he has teachers that are working with him. He should be proud of his grades!!

Do you have a psych report that details his disability. IF so, it needs to be kept up and he needs to be retested every 3 years but the accomidations that he is having can legally follow him into junior high, high school and even into college. There are services at every level-- even college. It is great and learning disbaled kids excel with the accomidations they make in college. If you have any questions feel free to ask. My email is kcbock@hotmail.com.

Good for Nick!!!!

Christy :)

Christy said...

By the way Lisa--the little verification code we have to enter to post our comments is a visual processing deficit persons worst nightmare. I just had to reenter it 3 times to get it right-- uggg :)

Christy :)

Alyson and Ford said...

Congratulations for the wonderful school grades! You should be proud! Good news usually will instill more confidence; shows the importance of praising (when it isn't a discipline problem).
Have a wonderful weekend!

Stop by again for my Christmas Giveaway!
Alyzabeth's Mommy of Ten Weeks!

Robin said...

Great job Nick and hats off to understanding teachers who do go above and beyond to help our children get the very best education possible!!


Ashley Winters said...

As a reading specialist, I can not agree more. Each child is an individual with their own learning style. A one-size-fits-all approach doesn't work anymore. I am so happy that your son has improved and is successful in school.

Leslie said...

What a great post Lisa. Thanks for touching on this.

I just love that sweet boy of yours. I'm not a stalker...I just think he is a awesome kid and a cute one at that...lol. I love my girls dearly, but I so hope one day, I will have a little boy. There is just something about little boys and a mother's love. Maybe I think that way, because BOTH My Girls are "daddy's girls."

Anyways...I'm glad Nick has such supportive teachers. Way to go Nick.

Lisa said...

Oh LIsa, I am so happy for Nick and for you! That is just wonderful!! Sounds like he goes to a great school.

Straight A's...very impressive Nick! Great job!!!

Anonymous said...

Good for him. You have every reason to be proud!

Keisha said...

Such a Handsome little man.. & SMART too!! Way to go man!!! Keep it up!

Kim said...

You are so right about every child being different..
So happy to hear Nick is getting A's again..
Hugs girly..
Love ya ..
Have a Great Day..

Jboo said...

Yay Nick!! I am so thrilled for him and all of you that he has done so well and his teachers were willing to go the extra mile for him!

My sister thinks her daughter (almost 10 and from China) may have a form of dsylexia similar to what you describe Nick has. May I ask -- how did you get a diagnosis -- pediatrician? My sister is trying to get some help for her as she knows the material and can answer verbally, but fails tests. Thanks for any suggestions!


Pixel Fairy Princess said...

Wonderful -
I so enjoyed chatting with you the other night and look forward to meeting you really soon :D
Great image too!
Ladybug hugs,

Gail said...

Awesome job Nick! I know you are so proud of him Lisa. In my life before staying at home with my kids, I was a Registered Nurse and a later worked for 5 years as a reading specialist in an elementary school.
Let me also add that my husband Dan is also dyslexic in reading and math. He struggled greatly in school until a teacher took him under her 'wings' and helped him. Dan went on to college and grad school and has his PhD in Biochemistry. I have a strong feeling that your Nick is a very smart guy.

Take care!

Kayce said...

Congrats Nick!!

My J struggles so much and it is so hard for all of us. All during elem (public) he had after school tutoring 4 days a week. Once we got to jr high, we stopped the tutoring and work diligently with him on staying focused and organized. He has made HUGE strides and is currently holding 3 A's and 2 B's and 1 C which he is trying so hard to change. This year he has some great teachers who are helping him in ways that astonish me. I love it when a teacher gets a kid and makes the changes necessary for him to be a success. It sounds like Nick has that and that is awesome!!

Steve and Kailee said...

Congratulations Nick! What an awesome job.

Kam said...

Lisa, you better get yourself ready! Nick is the total package and is going to break hearts! What a sweetie he is! Isn't just the best to see our kids succeed and even struggle sometimes to do it...the reward is precious. I would love for everything to come easy to our girls but lessons are learned in the struggle and growth inevitably happens. How exciting to see him do well!

BTW, You're doing great too! What a wonderful mom you are! Your kiddos (all THREE of them...) are super blessed!

Jennifer said...

Great job Nick!!!

I am so happy the school has found a way to make sure Nick shows his full potential!


Paula said...

YAY, huge congrats to Nick. Way to go!
I love the pics of Sarah's birthday party. The cake is so pretty.
I would not be able to decide on the Christmas pics. They all look gorgeous to me.

Lori said...

Great job Nick!!

Anonymous said...

What an accomplishment for Nick....so awesome!! My oldest son, Ryan actually went through the same learning "experiences" as Nick. For many, many years his tests were read to him and he verbally answered them. He is now a Senior and still has some school areas tailored to his learning needs but is doing really well and we are so proud of how far he has come. Congratulations Nick!!! I am sure that you had tears (joyful) in your eyes when you saw his report card!!


Briana's Mom said...

Wow! Congrats Nick! He is so impressive! What a smart boy!

Special K said...

I'm proud of Nick...and he's not even my son. LOL! How lucky you are to have such a great school system that is willing to do what needs to be done to help him learn!

3 Peanuts said...

Way to go Nick! You ROCK!


Jo said...

First off ~ What a fabulous report for both of you! Congrats to Nick!

Secondly ~ thank you for the kind comments about his teacher. Most of us go out of our way to help children learn. Most children need extra help in various areas. Teaching isn't a 9-3:30 job 10 months of the year. We put in so much more. I didn't eat lunch once this week because of the extras I needed to squeeze in for my kiddos and the greasted thanks of all is when their faces light up because they finally "get it!"


Lucy said...

Wow that's so awesome and so reassuring that there are such great teachers out there willing to think and work with kids outside the box. You are so right, every kid is different! He's going to continue to do great now that you know what works for him!

Casey said...

Amen to your post title!! Totally agree...

We have struggled with Liam for different reasons, but I understand. So glad to hear you have found a strategy that works for Nick. That is awesome!! It is especially encouraging to hear he is more relaxed about tests... that is half the battle!! Congrats, Nick!!

Unknown said...

So sweet! I am so thankful that the school is helping in this manner. When Kaishon was in christian school they did not help him. It broke my heart. Now that he is in public school he is in learning support and doing much better. Way to go with those A's!