Every weeknight, Jenn and Eric Williams helped their daughter Amanda study her spelling words. Every Friday the third grader came home with the same bad news: She flunked the spelling test.
Amanda’s teachers tried to help by modifying assignments. Amanda was also seeing a reading tutor once a week, too. But evenings at the Williams’ home remained stressful, with homework taking more than two hours, complicated by what Jenn describes as whining, delay tactics and even fits.
Jenn says, “Reading had always been hard for Amanda. She’s just like me in that regard. I was never diagnosed with dyslexia, but my brother was, and I know I struggle with it, too.”
Six months earlier, Jenn had received a postcard from a company called LearningRx with a checklist of 20 symptoms of dyslexia. When Jenn saw that every single symptom described either Amanda or Jenn herself, she kept the postcard to show her husband.
“I knew LearningRx was the answer,” Jenn says. “Maybe because I struggle in the same way, I knew Amanda’s problem wasn’t lack of effort. The problem had something to do with her brain. Things just weren’t sinking in.”
Eric wasn’t as convinced. He thought he and Jenn could still help Amanda by simply working harder. It wasn’t until the following spring—when no amount of working with Amanda could help her correctly spell more than three words out of 15—the couple decided to see if brain training could help their daughter.
Amanda began a 12-week brain training program at the LearningRx Brain Training Center in Maple Grove, MN. She worked one-on-one with a brain coach five to six hours a week, doing mental exercises designed to strengthen the weak brain skills that were making life frustrating.
Amanda was so relieved.
“I thought LearningRx was going to be boring. I thought it was going to be torture,” the animated nine-year-old says today. “But it was actually fun! We got to play games, and I was surprised that those games helped my reading.”
The “games” Amanda loves are actually a very targeted sequence of mental exercises incorporating the five key elements of effective brain training—practice, intensity, sequencing, loading and feedback. LearningRx, a pioneer and leader in the field of brain training, consistently gets dramatic gains for their clients by administering these exercises in a personal coaching environment.
Jenn says the changes for her daughter were huge.
“We went from two stressful hours of homework every night to less than half an hour—and no stress! We used to spend 30 minutes every night studying for spelling tests that Amanda failed every time. By the end of LearningRx, we were waiting until Friday morning, running through the spelling words for 10 minutes, and Amanda was coming home with 100% on every quiz.”
Perhaps even more significant is that, since brain training, Amanda loves to read. She says, “Before LearningRx, I read very skinny chapter books. Now I can read thicker books,” adding, “Reading started to get more fun when I started to understand the books. I thought, ‘Well, this book is kind of interesting, and I want to read it more so I can get onto the next book and read more interesting stuff!’”
She also has more free time now that homework is easier. “I can play with my friends, play on the computer, video chat with my Aunt Linda, watch more TV, ride my bike or roller skate instead of spending so much time on homework. And homework—this is really surprising me to say this—but it’s much more fun!”
Jenn has also seen a big change in her daughter’s confidence. The mother of three says that, before LearningRx, she could see that her daughter’s self-image was being shaped by her struggles. “She no longer has that stigma of thinking, ‘I’m a really bad reader, I’m dumb, I’m not good at anything.’ She’s more confident. And I definitely have more hope for her future. Eric and I used to have a pit in our stomachs when we thought about college and the future for Amanda. We don’t have that now. I feel now that she’ll be able to go to college and do fine.”
Jenn recommends LearningRx to other parents of kids struggling with reading or homework. She says drugs aren’t the answer. She also believes school accommodations, while easing some stress, aren’t the answer either. “I didn’t want that for my daughter. Modifications aren’t realistic for life. I didn’t want a Band-Aid. I wanted a solution.”
Amanda has her own advice for kids struggling like she did. “I would tell other kids that LearningRx is the opposite of what you think. It’s fun, and it’s going to make school easier, better and very nice. I used to say ‘I can’t do this,’ and now I say ‘I can do this! I can do anything if I try!’”
Amanda is the winner of the most recent LearningRx video testimonial contest. To see Amanda tell her story in her own words, watch her video here.