I've worked with several parents this year that have been recommended to different Orton-Gillingham professionals before seeing me. I can't blame them for meeting with other professionals because the fact of the matter is, most people spend more time on marketing and networking than working on their clients - and as such, that is when referrals come. What makes me a little sad are the stories that I hear when they finally pick up the phone to call me.
One of my lovely clients is a wonderfully talented physician in the Metro Atlanta area. She called me out of the blue asking me questions about our program and giving me the sob story of what has (or has not) happened to her son over the course of the last year. Her son (sad to say) had worked with a provider who has a reputation for "not being nice" but has given the parents an expectation that "you don't see results until after 100 hours". Guys, this isn't losing weight without bariatric surgery, this is helping a child learn how to read in the most authentic way possible. In no way am I saying that I know everything about Orton-Gillingham. To be quite frank, I know a great deal about cognitive development, motivation, brain processes, and other boring facts about learning and psychology that would put anyone over the age of one years old to sleep. It really pains me to share with you that I have a few books on the brain that I have tucked under my pillow that I read for fun at night.
After my client spent an entire year with the provider, she saw little to no progress. I'm not saying that this was a nine-month school year - this was 12 months of seeing the same organization over and over and for some reason, they could not teach him the basics. In comes "Learning Ridge" into the picture. They visit me on a quiet Friday afternoon. She brings her entire family to my office and little did I know, her husband is a former international educator. Before we finished the conversation and my initial impressions of what we will be doing should he start working with me, she shares her husband's notion that the first place that they went to was a "quack" and he does not feel that I will be doing anything to help make the situation any better.
This news hits me pretty tough. I'm not one to back down from an insurmountable claim. Nonetheless, I smiled and said, "You know, it's okay. Sometimes I don't believe that I'm great at what I do either. It's been hard knowing that you are capable but I guess he'll just have to wait and see." I laugh (and tear up) at the same time. Orton-Gillingham has been something that I hold really close to my heart. It has helped shape some fundamental processes and strategies that I use in my teaching and interacting with those whom I instruct and for some unknown reason, others in the industry use it as a "hook and catch" phrase to attract desperate clients.
Sorry, I digress.... After several weeks, I meet with my wonderful client and start what I was hoping, would be a key to unlock my new friend's reading ability. During that first lesson it was as if he was getting ready to catch some fish and I was there with the fishing rod and a few hooks. I provided him with the best (and least boring) lesson I could think of and suddenly, his face lit up. Letters started to click and the movement of the lesson from one concept to another started to (for once and for all) make sense. I left at the top of the hour and gave the mother some instructions/guidelines that she should consider for the next lesson.
I'm happy to say that when we met again for the second lesson, her husband became a believer. Given the fact that he was not raised in this area, he shared with his wife that for some reason or another, what I did makes sense and it works for their child. What that company attempted to do in one year I had accomplished in less than one hour.
The truth is, the power to connect at Learning Ridge is one person at a time. I know each and every one of our clients and what we do for them is life-changing and important. Teaching a child how to read or helping them attain a goal they were unable to do prior to meeting with us is life-altering. I'm proud of each and every one of their accomplishments and there's nothing better than making doubters in this life your biggest fans.
Thank you to my Learning Ridge Orton-Gillingham clients for always trusting in us. Your child's happiness and success lies in their ability to feel confident in their life and I am eternally grateful to be part of that!