NACD Kids: Mary Beth

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By Monique Cunningham

mary_bethMy daughter Mary Beth had been diagnosed by the first grade with several labels – ADHD, dysgraphia, dyslexia, and auditory processing. Our small private school had a program called Discovery Lab where children with learning disabilities were helped on a one-on-one basis. They used a multi-sensory approach to teach our kids. Knowing no other alternative, we enrolled Mary Beth in this program.

Homework was still a struggle every night. What would take any other child about 15 minutes, would often last 2 hours. Studying for tests took at least a week of looking over the material every night. Mary Beth attended Discovery Lab during school hours, often missing some class time instruction for 3 years. At the end of 3rd grade a friend told me about NACD. I was very excited about what it could do for Mary Beth but still dragged my heels on getting her evaluated. In August of 2006, we went to Dallas to be evaluated by NACD. I’ll never forget the first thing her evaluator Lyn Waldeck said to me. She said, “It seems to me that Mary Beth is a big mystery to everyone. She’s not a mystery to me and we can fix her.“

I wanted to cry. Someone finally understood my child and was willing to help me. I wanted to fix the problem — not put big band aids on it. I love the way NACD looks at the entire child. They helped me overcome Mary Beth’s tactility issues as well as behavioral issues. At her first evaluation at the age of 9 1/2, her digit span was a 4. Within 6 – 8 months her digit span increased to 6 and now we are at a 7.

At the end of her 4th grade year her Discovery Lab teacher told me she could not think of anything else she could do that would help Mary Beth learn better. How disheartening after spending 4 years in this program! Thank God we had been doing NACD during that year and knew what would help Mary Beth improve.

She did not do Discovery Lab this past year. She has made the A/B honor roll twice this year. She studies and does her homework independently. Doing program is easy and not time consuming. Mary Beth is motivated to do her program because she gets paid for her efforts.

I realize now that my child’s success depends on my implementation of the program. To increase processing we have to do a little bit every day. What a difference a year can make. Thank you NACD for helping me to see the great potential my daughter has and not focusing on what she doesn’t have.

I shudder to think where we would be without NACD. Everyone should do this!

Reprinted by permission of The NACD Foundation, Volume 21 No. 8, 2008 ©NACD