Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Congratulations to the Nashua Learning Center for winning November's inspiration contest. Nashua's submission was written by Marie Thibodeau, a parent whose 11 year old son Nate is currently enrolled at the Center.

Center Director Aileen Cormier said she had misty eyes when she read Marie's story. "Hearing it from 'mom's' perspective just puts a different spin on things," she said.

Since enrolling in the Center in 2007, Nate has made remarkable progress. He read his first chapter book this week without prodding.

His mother was so thankful and impressed by the Orton-Gillingham methods Nate was learning that she decided to enroll in Nashua's tutor training program and become an OG certified tutor. She has almost completed her coursework in the certification process.

Nate's story, and his mother's commitment to the Center program, is truly an inspiration. Marie wrote:

Today my son, Nate, is a confident 6th grader who enjoys learning many new things and using his vivid imagination to create stories about super heroes who must face many challenges on their mission to overcome some immense foes. I think the reason Nate is so fascinated by these epic battles is that, even though he is only 11 years old, he too has already endured tremendous struggles in his quest to learn to read and write. The good news is that because of the help he has received through our local learning center, Nate finally feels like he is the victor.

Three years ago, Nate was a frustrated and hopeless student. He had hit an academic wall, and though he was an energetic and diligent child, for some mysterious reason he could not learn to read or write like his peers. Each day brought more upsets and a deepening realization that something was just not right. Nate understandably concluded, as he saw his friends begin to read chapter books and to take off educationally, that he must be a very dumb child and that there was really no point to working so hard.

For a parent this was very painful to witness, and our child’s future seemed filled with trouble. My husband and I dearly wanted to help Nate, but we simply did not know where to turn. Thus began months of work on our part as we sought answers to questions like “Why couldn’t Nate, an intelligent child learn to read?" and "Who could help us teach our child before he completely gave up trying?”

After Nate went through extensive testing we discovered that our child was dyslexic, but that without appropriate intervention he would never learn to read and write properly and consequently he would never reach his academic potential. Fortunately for us and for many others in our situation, there was an answer. We discovered the highly successful, scientifically proven Orton Gillingham method of remediation. But there was still one immense obstacle remaining in our path. How were we to afford this type of tutoring for the duration required to help Nate attain mastery? We knew it was going to take years of hard work, many times each week, and that unfortunately the cost of tutoring was prohibitive to everyone except the very wealthy.

It would be difficult to adequately describe our tremendous relief when we discovered the Nashua Learning Center. This charitable organization had for years been using the Orton Gillingham method to not only help children like our son become competent readers and successful students but they had been doing it at no cost to the families they were assisting. This was nothing short of a miracle to our large family of 7 children.

Nate has been fortunate enough to attend the Learning Center for more than two years. He started out far below grade level but now he is reading and writing almost as well as many of his peers. Nate knows that he will always struggle with his dyslexia, but he also knows that through the dedicated staff at the Center he has been given amazing tools for his journey and that he can attain victory in his quest to read and write successfully.

One final note concerning the Nashua Learning Center and its effect in our community: over the years they have helped hundreds of families like ours, but their mission is even more amazing and far reaching than this; through an intensive training program offered at no charge to the teachers, the Center also trains teachers to use the Orton Gillingham method of remediation so that more and more children every year can be reached with the help they so desperately need. My family has seen first hand how powerful this help can be and because of this I am now in the process of becoming an Orton Gillingham tutor. Someday soon I too hope to make a difference in the lives of children like my son.


Anonymous said...

What a beautiful, well written testimonial! Aileen, you must be so pleased to have Marie as a parent advocate and as one of your scholars. She is sure to contribute positively to the future of your community many times over. Congratulations on your (both of you) great work!

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