What was life like for Riley before coming to Oakland RiteCare Childhood Language Center?
It was frustrating. His reading was horrible, he hated it, he would cry. I’d have to sit with him and have him sound everything out and he would forget things he had just read before. The school wasn’t helping him. Every year in October the school would have us sign a form saying he probably would not pass to the next grade. Finally, I stopped signing it because I wanted them to take the steps to prevent him failing the grade. I kept saying to the school, “I think he’s dyslexic,” and they would not say anything.
Riley felt stupid, like there was something wrong with him, like he was different. A kid at school called him “retarded” and he came home and asked if he really was retarded. It affected his self-esteem and that affected other areas of his life. He’s a natural for running and every year I would try to get him signed up for track and he wouldn’t do it. I told Riley: “I think you’re really, really smart. Your brain just works different and we have to keep working to find out how that is.”
How did you find out about Oakland RiteCare Childhood Language Center?
A counselor called me and confidentially told me the Response to Intervention teacher thought he was dyslexic. They had to tell me confidentially because the school district would not acknowledge or treat dyslexia.
Then I took Riley to a neural pathways expert. Every problem she cited applied to Riley. I just cried. She referred us to Oakland RiteCare and we got the help we needed.
How has the program substantially changed your lives?
The program opened everything up. The method Fast ForWord uses allowed his brain a different way to take, retain, and understand everything that was coming in. He worked at home on the computer three times a week with consultations from the Center. I had to keep pushing to get him to finish Fast ForWord because he didn’t want to. But he knows it was Fast ForWord that did it.
All of a sudden, he starts middle school and he gets straight A’s. I thought it was a mistake. I couldn’t believe it. He made honor roll 3 times in a row. He doesn’t come to me to help him with homework. He follows the routine. He does the outline for his essays, he does everything. He comes to me as a last resort or for working on spelling or grammar.
He’s had a confidence boost. This year, he announced that he wanted to sign up for track. He’s running cross-country right now and in the spring, he’s doing track and field. Riley wants to be an astrophysicist. He’s good at math. This is what he’s working toward.
How was your experience different from that with other providers and what would you tell other parents?
Hands down, Fast ForWord was the only thing that worked. The school refused to help anyone with dyslexia. Tutoring definitely helped, but nothing had the impact on him on its own like Fast ForWord did. He would still go back to the tutor and ask questions. With Fast ForWord he has it within himself to answer his own questions to make him successful. It’s allowed him freedom. I couldn’t have gotten my son to the center in Oakland three times a week, that was physically not possible, so I am so glad we could access the prog
ram by internet.
I tell other parents with similar problems all the time, people are sick of listening to me. “You’ve got to go to the Scottish Center in Oakland. This is what they did for Riley. Fast ForWord was the most effective program for him – hands down!”
Shelley, Mom of Riley, 12 years old