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The Family That Trains Together, Grows Together (Part III)

The Williams Kids Speak Out

When a reporter sat down with the gregarious Williams siblings and their mother, Jenny, the goal was to discover how the LearningRx model helped these students achieve exciting breakthroughs in their education. But as you will read, she also uncovers a stunning change that neither the trainer nor the Williams family could ever have anticipated.

In the two recent Brain Buzz stories, determined father Mark Williams shared the touching stories of his two children, Rebekah (Rebbi) and Cody—both of whom are overcoming dramatically different learning challenges with help from LearningRx. Now we let the kids speak for themselves. You can read Part I and Part II.

Editor’s Note: The family members’ names have been changed to protect their privacy.

“At first I thought it would be a lot of fun, but we really had to work hard,” Rebekah Williams grouses, as would any child who has sacrificed her precious free time instead of spending it knocking around with a basketball.

Although she worked a bit harder than she had anticipated, Rebekah is also quick to add that her LearningRx trainer is a master at introducing different techniques to help keep things fun. “She was so supportive,” the 13-year-old gushes. “I knew I could be successful. The visualizing exercises really helped me with my memorization. Instead of having to rely on remembering by reading, I learned how to use my eyes to picture what I need to remember.”

“I used to be a C and D student with maybe one B, but now I have all A’s and B’s with only one C. And I still play on the basketball and volleyball teams,” she smiles. “I used to not care that much about how well I did in school, but now I do. I freaked out when I saw how much better I was doing. My math grade has shown the biggest improvement.”

Like Rebekah, her brother Cody was equally averse to having to spend his free time “learning how to learn,” but as he soon found out, his sessions with his LearningRx trainer could be entertaining and educational.

“I freaked out when I saw how much better I was doing. My math grade has shown the biggest improvement.” —Rebekah

“My trainer and I had some great times together,” beams the precocious 11-year-old, whose Asperger’s Syndrome was originally misdiagnosed as classic autism. “He showed me how to study better and all of my grades went up, especially math. I learned how to focus and now I use what I learned in the real world.”

“Even though I’m a teacher, I knew I couldn’t help them.” — Jenny, mom

“I can see my skills continuing to improve as time goes by,” Cody continues with excitement. “My trainer gave me a reward at the end of my sessions—a $15 gift card to use on anything I want. That was my favorite part. Everyone gets a reward based on how hard they work.”

But hard work for Cody and Rebekah didn’t happen by chance. Their trainers designed individual programs for each child based upon their cognitive skills assessments.

“Cognition is how you learn,” explains their LearningRx Director. “Each of us uses different areas of the brain for attention, processing, and long- and short-term memory. Visual processing helps us put words into pictures. Logic and reasoning helps us understand questions and put our thoughts down in chronological order.”

“But how you learn is different from how someone else might learn and the challenges you face are different as well,” she continues. “We identify any underlying skills that are deficient and causing persistent learning problems.”

“There was nothing about the original cognitive skills tests that surprised me,” inserts Jenny Williams, the mother of Rebekah and Cody. “I thought the tests accurately pinpointed each of their deficits as well as their strengths. The biggest insight was to see their various cognitive skills on a graph. We could see exactly where each child stood. I also think it’s been very beneficial to have Cody and Rebekah sit down with an independent person to help them.”

But, one of the more interesting aspects of the Williams’ family is that Jenny is herself an elementary school teacher with a special interest in reading. She readily acknowledges her limitations when it came to helping her own children overcome their learning roadblocks.

“The training at LearningRx made perfect sense and it’s definitely not part of the regular curriculum. I thought it was creative how the trainers pinpointed exercises that could help the kids with certain parts of school and build on their strengths,” she says.

“Tutoring wasn’t the answer and my husband and I both knew that. The LearningRx techniques run so much deeper. The fundamental skills of learning go far beyond what they teach in school,” Jenny adds. “Even though I’m a teacher, I could see how difficult the challenges were for both of them and I knew I couldn’t help them. The kids needed to learn how to learn.”

The most startling transformation in the Williams’ household has been homework time and its effect on bringing the family closer.

Rebekah used to spend most of her time crying while her father, Mark Williams, became increasingly frustrated with his daughter—often angry with what in his mind was an unwillingness to apply herself. Their relationship began to suffer and it affected the entire family.

“[My trainer] showed me how to study better and all of my grades went up.” — Cody

But it turns out Rebekah just didn’t know how to apply herself. Even simple addition was a challenge. Now both children come home from school and immediately dive into their lessons.

“To see Rebbi get out her math book and do her homework without help is amazing,” Jenny smiles softly. “Cody comes home and gets started on his lessons without prompting. We’re just tickled with the results. Our family dynamic has completely changed. With help from LearningRx, we’ve improved our entire family relationship. That’s something that will have a positive impact on the rest of our lives. That’s huge.”

“Rebekah really had to work at learning. Since her sessions at LearningRx, I can really see a remarkable improvement. She is at least one letter grade higher and I feel it’s because of the skills she’s learned. Most importantly, her confidence has improved. It is now apparent that she knows she can do her work. I think she has learned some great strategies.” —Sharon Taylor, Rebekah’s math teacher