From Stress to Success: Isa’s Story
If you asked 15-year-old Isa Baez when school began becoming difficult for her, she’d say since day one.
“Even in kindergarten there were little basic things that lots of my friends could do that should be ‘easy’ as my teachers would say, and they just weren’t for me,” shared Isa. “It could get really discouraging and frustrating because I’d have to sit there and do it until I got it right, and half the time I wouldn’t get it right, and I would come home crying.”
As the years went on, Isa said school got even harder for her. Not only was she struggling with learning difficulties, she was also dealing with unexplained muscle movements, which would later be diagnosed as stereotypies.
“We originally got her tested because we noticed she had these movements she made all of the time, and people were afraid they were seizures,” said Isa’s mother, Yvette. “We ended up at Johns Hopkins eventually because it was the only doctor in the country that could correctly diagnose her. Through ongoing research studies that Isa participates in, she’s learned that kids with stereotypies may also have secondary issues.”
For Isa, those secondary issues included ADD, as well as some other deficits in motor and cognitive skills. These affected her in many ways, but most noticeably was her difficulty with understanding word problems, test taking and speed in general.
“One of the reasons her grades wouldn’t be as good as other kids was because her test scores were lower, but her test scores were lower because she couldn’t finish the test in time,” Yvette said. “She also had issues with trying to figure out what to do with a word problem. Or if there were multiple questions within a question, that would just freeze her up.”
Isa and her family tried everything to help her through her struggles — math programs, after school tutoring, behavioral therapy, meetings with a clinical psychologist and even taekwondo. Although these efforts helped somewhat, it wasn’t until they began working with LearningRx last year that they uncovered the solution they were looking for.
“It was, even at first, a really good experience. I met Miss Gerri (Isa’s LearningRx brain trainer), and she asked me about my goals and what I wanted to do here,” Isa said. “Within a few weeks, a lot of those goals were completed. I was kind of amazed by it.”
LearningRx’s testing not only pinpointed the areas where Isa was struggling, but unlike other programs, they began tackling those areas at the source. In a short period of time, there were major improvements for Isa both in school and at home.
“We saw her go from not getting word problems right at all to getting them right consistently,” said Yvette. “And even though she’s already a second degree blackbelt, we’ve found that this is helping her excel with that. She’s teaching more there now. She’s helped them work through some math issues with queues for the kids when they’re doing competitions.”
A few days into the new school year, Isa is feeling more confident and less stressed than ever.
“She never started a school year except for maybe kindergarten without stress,” Yvette said. “Even though she was capable of doing everything, it was just overwhelming for her. Now she seems to be taking it one piece at a time.”
It’s a change from the inside out, and Yvette said there is nothing like seeing it happen for her daughter.
“As her mom and knowing her, she’s a great person. She’s really smart and articulate and all those things; it’s just being able to show the world that,” shared Yvette, tearfully. “I’ve always wanted to find what would help her, and I think this is working. Being able to find something that will help your child, there is nothing like that. That’s priceless.”