Julie Chambers - My LearningRx Story
I’m a mom, just like you. Well, maybe not just like you. I have six kids. So I may be slightly more crazy than than you.
I found LearningRx in 2012, as I was looking for help for my children. Three of my kids really couldn’t read at all. In fact, their academics were very poor. Let me explain.
By 2007, my husband, Gabe, and I had three children ages 14, 9 and 7. Our hearts became burdened for the hurting children around the world. It has always been our philosophy that, if we can help someone, we should. So we decided to pursue adoption. We began the long process and sat back to wait. It wasn’t long, however, before we were matched with a sibling group - three sisters, ages 6, 7 and 8. In the course of their young lives, they had already seen an substantial amount of abuse and neglect. School really wasn’t happening for them. They were attending, of course, but their little brains were not in a place to learn - too much stress gave their little brains a wash of dopamine and norepinephrine, which block learning. Their teachers may not have understood this, but they knew these girls were hurting and they were really just loving them through.
When the girls came to us, they had many struggles -- physical, emotional, spiritual and cognitive. They were diagnosed with an alphabet soup of ADHD, ODD, PTSD, ID, EPD and LDs such as dyslexia and dysgraphia. We spent our first few years addressing the physical, emotional and spiritual concerns and, by 2011, we were ready to tackle the cognitive.
None of the girls could read very well, despite several years of instruction. Reading just didn’t click. Many things didn’t click, actually. Of course, reading comprehension was poor. Learning was just...hard.
After a year of searching, I found LearningRx, a brain training program that claimed that struggles like the ones my girls were living day by day were actually rooted in the brain. That made sense to me. I had always felt their must be a reason learning was so difficult. Something about the way they processed information made me look twice at LearningRx. And I’m glad I did!
Skeptical by nature, I decided to get a part-time job at LearningRx as a certified brain trainer. As I went through the certification process and listened to stories from staff and parents about the changes they had seen in their students, I was tentatively excited to learn more. I passed my certification and started working with students. It was just as I had learned, life changing. Within a few weeks, I was promoted to director and eventually bought the business!
Before enrolling my “handpicked” girls about whom I was really concerned, I enrolled my “homegrown” kids who were highly gifted. I did this for a couple of reasons. First, I didn’t want my girls to feel singled out. But I also wanted to see whether this program was “real”. I knew that if it could also help these high achievers, it was a legitimate program that I could trust. These three went through about four months of training, and saw amazing growth! I honestly didn’t think it would really help them. But their testing revealed that, even a gifted, high achiever has room to grow! I noticed differences in their math skills, follow-through, attention to detail, speed and grit.
I then enrolled my three adopted girls, who struggled, in varying degrees, with dyslexia, slow processing and logic. They needed reading help, but they also needed help learning to understand what they were reading (whether in ELAR or in Math). Reading comprehension was pretty much non-existent unless it was easy fiction fluff. They needed serious ADHD / attention help, but I was concerned because that was manifesting as homework taking forever, zoning out during class or even during conversation, angry or frustrated outbursts because they didn’t understand what was going on, and serious trouble communicating their thoughts. In a nutshell, they just could not keep it all together.
When the girls started training, I noticed within about a month that their reading had already begun to improve. By about three months in, I noticed better focus, less zoning out, and a greater ability to execute multiple instructions. Once they had finished the reading program, they really took off! Communication was vastly improved. Confidence had grown. Two of the three became avid readers, really just in love with reading and eating it up. The third progressed more slowly through the program. She really needed another couple of months. I knew it, but I didn’t prioritize it like I tell my clients to, and I settled for “good enough”. And she was fine. Soooo much better. But it wasn’t until I put her back into training the summer before she started college that she really excelled. How I regret waiting!
Although it’s a franchise, LearningRx is a family business for us. My husband, Gabe, and I operate several locations in north DFW together. Several of our children are or have been employees. We put our hearts and livelihood in the lap of this business, which we really consider a ministry. Sure, it’s a cognitive training business, but we consider it a restoration business. We are restoring lives, restoring families, restoring confidence and restoring individuals to be their best selves and live their best lives. The brain is a powerful organ, unique and complex and plastic. As cognitive skills build, learning and life become easier.
This is why we are here. Come join us!