I previously posted about our adventures with LearningRx and I promised to share our results well here it is. The Little Gymnast spent 24 weeks last summer and fall training at LearningRx. I saw our first improvement the second week of training. As we were milling about the lobby about to leave she read a sign next to the water cooler with perfect fluency, “If you don’t want your water give it to the tree.” This was the first time she had read words outside of a book. She had never tried to read something she saw in the world. I was amazed and wanted to cry. A couple of days later she willingly picked up a basic reader off our bookshelf and started bringing it in the car to read to everyone. In 4 days she had read all 128 pages. What makes this so amazing is that before this She had never looked for a book to read. She only read when we sat down and I made her. She reported to her trainer that math and reading were better and that she was starting to understand a little bit better.
After 6 weeks she reported to her trainer that math was easier, her coloring was better and she wasn’t getting as frustrated with the online training program. She started hearing conversations that her Dad and I were having in the van. She sits in the way back and has never asked us questions about what we were talking about. She had never before given us reason to think that she heard our conversations. She also started to make connections in the real world. Her and I had run to Wal-Mart alone and she says, looking at the summer decorations, “So they put out the summer decorations because it’s almost summer?” I wanted to cry again. Really, had that not been obvious to this child before that the decorations matched the season?
At the end of 12 weeks her reading was continuing to improve. She was still picking up books and reading them. When I challenged the kids with the two bookstore Summer Reading Programs, they read all 18 books (early readers) in one evening. Never before had this child been so interested in reading. She was getting quicker at math facts. One of the exercises is to add a constant number to a column of numbers. Even adding one to a number was hard for her at the beginning of this program and would break her into a cold sweat. She never really did understand adding and the relation of all the numbers. I thought her trainer was fighting a losing battle getting her to spout out addition facts that made no sense to her. But she was actually making progress. She was actually starting to understand what was happening to the numbers when they were added together.
She reported that she was getting better at Connect 4, she was reading without missing words, she got rid of the fear of doing a back flip off the high bar at gym, and she read all the train’s names on a Thomas the Train DVD and remembered them. She was making up rhymes, a skill that had alluded her up till now. And one of the most obscure things she revealed to me was that her music this year for her floor routine had beats and that last year’s music didn’t have beats. I explained that all music has beats and that last year her music indeed had beats. She wouldn’t believe me. So I asked her when she was doing her floor routine how she knew when to do what and how fast or slow. She told me she memorized parts of the music and what to do when. I can’t imagine how hard that was. And it explained why she was always just rushing through her routine and had awful timing. Her routines have much better timing now. When I told her coach about this she finally understood why the Little Gymnast was rushing her routine. So her coach slowed her down and pointed out landmarks in the music for her. Her coach noticed another big change. She had told the Gymnast to go talk to another coach about using some equipment. The Gymnast walked right off and did it. Her coach was amazed that she actually did it; prior to this whenever Coach talked to the Gymnast she would give a blank stare.
All of these changes didn’t come without frustration though. Around week 12 life got really hard. My Little Gymnast was frustrated, yelling at everyone, refusing to do anything, tried to hide from her trainer and was avoiding training. She was crying to me telling me she didn’t want to change, she didn’t want to ever read. She didn’t like that she didn’t feel shy anymore. She said, “I was always shy and now I’m not as shy, I could never read before and now I am reading.” She was begging me to quit. This went on for many weeks. I pressed on assuring her that she was still my same little girl and that the things that were happening weren’t changing who she was. She didn’t really buy it though. She was also more hyper and unfocused than normal. Although she is extremely hyper and has the energy of 4 children she has always able to focus when she wanted to. But she was increasingly distracted by the sights and sounds around her. It’s as if she didn’t know what to do with all the new information that she was now processing that she had never experienced before.
At week 20, the Gymnast report that the nice girl is coming back. And that has proven to be true. Her smile came back, she was much more relaxed and was making progress again with her training. She began bouncing into the center instead of cowering behind a chair in a game of hide and seek. She was more confident in so many areas. In the two weeks prior while at the park she didn’t come to my side once. She ran around with all the other kids and even talked to several of the girls. It’s was so exciting to see her able to hold a conversation with her peers.
In an effort to make me think that she wasn’t making any improvements she reported that she stills hears “wo, wo, wo, wo (the sound the adults make in the Charlie Brown movies)” when people talk. She reported to her trainer that she was able to memorize a song in a day, she’s better at training, and has been nicer to the Drama Queen.
When we started back to school about week 20 we were able to do at least one math lessons a day and sometimes more. She was actually understanding math; she asked to learn her times tables. She also said that she wanted to learn more and do more school each day. After finishing her training I noticed that she started writing things, like “no boys allowed” signs for her bedroom door. She has been listening to the Judy Moody book series and started to write her own Judy Moody story. She still needs a lot of help with her spelling but I’m thrilled that she isn’t afraid to write and wants to write.
The training that we did at LearningRx has been worth every sacrifice. It has changed my daughter’s life.