Our Matthew is the 2015 National LearningRx Student of the Year!
In the summer of 2014, our center’s student-of-the-year, Isaac Hunter, was blossoming into a new young man, and his mother was not shy about sharing their story with anyone and everyone – including our 2015 student of the year, aspiring reader, and up-and-coming fourth grader, Matthew Evans.
Matthew’s learning journey began when he was only a toddler. He had difficulty speaking and began working with a speech therapist at the early age of two and a half. However, by kindergarten, his teachers were still unable to understand him. Testing revealed that he was two years below his age level, and would require intervention from the get-go. An IEP (Individualized Education Plan) was developed to help meet his needs in school, and he would repeat kindergarten in hopes of maturing more during the year. Each year, his IEP was modified, adding more and more accommodations and exceptions. The teachers and therapists tried everything they could during the next few years. In 2013, he received a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, and everyone continued to look for new ways to try to help him, to no avail. Matthew hated school, and cried most days during the week, having meltdowns regularly to avoid having to go.
During his third grade year his mom, Melissa, felt totally lost and found herself often wondering “What else is there?” Hoping to find something outside the box, she enrolled Matthew in Tae Kwon Do hoping it would help him focus and learn how to control himself. This is where her family’s life changed forever.
While talking with one of the other mothers about the struggles Matthew was having in school, she heard about LearningRx and the ways it had changed Isaac’s life, at home and at school. Melissa later told us that she is usually highly skeptical when hearing claims of such improvement with children with developmental delays, but this wasn’t a stranger making these claims – it was someone she knew! So, she decided to have him tested and discovered weak cognitive skills were making it difficult for him to process information and learn. He began his brain training program in March 2014, and by the end of his second grade school year his IEP team was leaning toward holding him back again. That’s when Melissa stepped in with a resounding “No!” explaining they had to give brain training a chance! Our center even received a call from Matthew’s inclusion teacher, concerned that Matthew was too overwhelmed by all of his after-school training. We assured both his mom and his teacher that Matthew was making great progress and that he just needed a little more time.
In August of the same year, Matthew, who was halfway through his brain training program, began third grade as a new young man. Within the first three days Melissa received multiple texts and calls from his teachers who were amazed by the progress Matthew had made. The particular teacher that had called us concerned in May, was now praising Melissa for standing up for Matthew and sticking to her guns about going forward into third grade. She said she almost cried tears of joy when Matthew read and understood an entire story by himself, something she had been working on with him for two years as his inclusion teacher.
The biggest change everyone has seen, though, goes beyond his basic reading skills. The way his mom describes it, he’s actually able to participate in conversations, understand others, and see outside of his bubble. He asks questions, involves himself with others, and loves trying new things! “After seven years of struggling and constantly amending IEP’s, I have finally found a program that works! Train the brain first!” says Melissa. “Thanks to LearningRx, his confidence level has sky-rocketed, his meltdowns have stopped, and he actually loves school now and can’t wait to go!”