Blogs

"What Dyslexia Looks Like in My Brain"

In a little while, you'll be receiving a letter from Windy Row Learning Center, asking for donations to help us in our work of giving children the gift of reading. The children who come to Windy Row have often spent years failing in school because they cannot read. But with specialized, one-on-one, after-school tutoring, they can catch up to and even surpass their peers, going from failure to straight A's--we've seen it happen time and again.

We have been called one of the most cost-effective programs around for helping children with reading (and math) challenges. We offer generous scholarships based on income, because we don't want to deny any child the help we can provide.

Dyslexia and other reading challenges are based in the way that the brain processes the written word. In a blog for the National Center for Learning Disabilities, reporter Ben Foss, who has dyslexia, shows a scan of his own brain to demonstrate how dyslelxia works. The technician who took Foss' brain scan hesitated to tell Foss just how much his dyslexia affected him: "You’re in the bottom 1 percent on letter recognition—we don’t even really have a number to describe how bad you are at recognizing a letter when it’s shown to you.”

But for Foss, the scan confirmed that he was not lazy, he was not stupid, he was not "unfocused." Instead, he had dyslexia, and he has integrated dyslexia into his life. Yet, he says, "Our schools, our workplaces and, in some cases, our families can do so much better on this issue."

In the entire southwest of New Hampshire, Windy Row Learning Center is the only organization available to help children who are falling further and further behind grade level in reading..

Please donate to our scholarship fund, so that every child who cannot read has a chance to succeed.

Does My Child Need Windy Row?

At the Wellness Festival in Peterborough, NH, one of the most frequently asked questions was some variant of "how do you know if a child needs Windy Row?" Many people also asked if a child had to be diagnosed as dyslexic before applying to Windy Row for tutoring.

To answer the first question, most of our children come to us when parents become concerned about their child's struggles to keep up in school. They visit our website or hear of Windy Row from word-of-mouth or from a teacher or friend. An otherwise bright and creative child may show excessive fear about standing in front of the class to read a report, take hours to finish reading even a short chapter, refuse outright to read aloud or have trouble writing the same word the same way twice in a single sentence. The child is slipping further and further behind peers in reading and writing and homework is a battleground. Whether or not that child has been diagnosed with dyslexia, there seems to be a problem with one or more aspects of reading: decoding symbols, recognizing letters and words, attacking words, putting together sentences and comprehending passages.

Problems with math may be indicated by an inability to put numbers in order, understand greater than or less than, connect the concept of "two" with the reality of "two cars" or "two apples" and figure out quickly how large a group is (for example, the dots on a pair of dice). The idea of time is difficult and there may be issues with performing tasks in order (first do this, then do this).

To answer the second question, a diagnosis of dyslexia or dyscalculia is not necessary before applying to Windy Row. In fact, a child who has problem with reading or math may have been misdiagnosed as developmentally delayed, underachieving, ADD or "lazy." We will look at any testing the child's school has performed. We test children ourselves (using Woodcock Johnson tests) to find out their areas of greatest strength and weakness in reading and math. Then we create an individualized program using internationally known instructional methods and over 10 years of experience to help the child overcome the barriers to reading, writing and/or math. If you are interested in learning about the many tests that can be used to determine dyslexia, click here.

When the need for help is there, we want to help. Our reading tutors and math tutors are trained specialists with extensive experience championing children from kindergarten to grade 10. We cherish every child's intelligence, creativity and courage as we give them renewed self-confidence and hope in their quest to succeed.

Please info [at] windyrow.org (contact) us.

Writer Sally Gardner Describes the Gift of Dyslexia

Dyslexia occurs equally among boys and girls. Every child has his or her own struggle with reading, whether it involves word recognition, word attack, passage comprehension or some combination. Dyslexia may show up in spelling, reading, writing or all three. Here is how one woman writer (yes, a writer!) talks about her struggles and triumphs with dyslexia. Her name is Sally Gardner and her books include The Fairy Catalogue and The Strongest Girl in the World. 

"I strongly believe that dyslexia is like a Rubik’s Cube: it takes time to work out how to deal with it but once you do, it can be the most wonderful gift. The problem with dyslexia for many young people – and I can identify with this – is that their confidence is so damaged by the negativity of their teachers and their peers that it takes a very strong character to come out of the educational system smiling."

At Windy Row Learning Center in West Peterborough, New Hampshire, the creativity and wonder of children is celebrated; they learn how to deal with dyslexia; and they always come out smiling.

Windy Row on the Board, at the Wellness Festival and in the News

Yesterday I went to a garage sale and made two great finds: a book by one of my favorite mystery writers and an old friend who agreed that joining the board of Windy Row might be just the kind of community participation she was looking for. My delight at her enthusiasm completely overwhelmed my delight in the book--because serving on and building the board of Windy Row is extremely gratifying. Give us a call if you would like to find out for yourself.

On September 23, the Peterborough Woman's Club is holding a Ladies Movie Night in honor of Windy Row Learning Center. Come join us at the Peterborough Community Theater at 6:15 for free refreshments; the fun musical "Hairspray" starts at 7, bouffants, flips and all. Tickets are $7. Enjoy a great evening out and help give a child the gift of learning.

On September 28, Windy Row will be participating in the Peterborough, NH Wellness Festival, as we do every year. Visit our booth in the Town House and let your kids pick out a fun eraser while you learn more about the services and people of Windy Row Learning Center. I'll be manning (womanning?) the booth for most of the day, so stop by and let me know what you think of these blogs and what new topics would interest you.

If you want to keep up with the latest information about Windy Row and research into dyslexia, please sign up for our quarterly newsletter, which includes articles about children and adults with reading challenges who have succeeded in school and life. Send us an info [at] windyrow.org (email) with "newsletter" in the subject line.

Windy Row recently received two grants, one for scholarships from the NH Charitable Foundation and another from Target to support our upcoming One in Ten program, which will educate teachers at all grade levels, including preschool, on the signs of dyslexia and dyscalculia (the math equivalent of dyslexia). When teachers know what to look for, they can respond with the appropriate help and referrals.

Looking forward to seeing you at the Woman's Club Ladies Night on September 23 and at the Wellness Fesitval on September 28!

"My Greatest Strength": Reading Challenges and Lifelong Success

"My greatest strength as a dyslexic is my ability to communicate...getting teams to see my vision with me." Eric McGehearty is CEO of Globe Runner SEO. He is also one of the 30% or more of successful entrepreneurs who have moderate to severe reading challenges. He speaks about the strengths of dyslexia in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cf8rjwcZh6Y.

In addition to succeeding in business, Mr. McGehearty has a master of fine art and has shown his conceptual art nationally, including such locations as the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. As he said in an interview in Forbes magazine, "I can't read....I didn’t really recognize that I was smart, truly smart, until the end of high school. And it was even later that I realized that even though my dyslexia could be a barrier, the ways I dealt with it became part of the reason for my success."

Many individuals with dyslexia and other reading challenges find ways to express themselves as entrepreneurs and as artists (including fine art, graphic design and acting). They succeed because, among other factors:

  • They have learned techniques for mastering written words.
  • They are creative, a trait that is enhanced every day as they cope with their challenges.
  • They have formed partnerships with assistants, family members and others who help them deal with the words that barrage all of us, from email to brochures.
  • They know how to keep their self-esteem intact; they know that the ability to read is only one part of who a person truly is.

At Windy Row we understand the importance of all four of these factors as we help children grow beyond their reading challenges: from failing in school to earning straight A's and from struggling as children into finding success as adults. If your child is between the ages of 4 and 15 and is behind grade level in reading or math, please info [at] windyrow.org (contact )us today.

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