Uryiah, age 7, started receiving Educational Therapy two years ago. He would hide, throw his jacket over his head, start to cry, and refused to talk. He had no knowledge of his numbers or alphabetical letters, and was unable to print his name. He was totally unaware of anything academic. But he was articulate and had a strong personality. In addition, he wanted his mother in the class. Over the span of many months of slowly earning his trust, working in the classroom, art room, and in the therapist’s office where classical music plays in the background, Uryiah can now print his name and recite numbers and the alphabet. He also works with word games and puzzles. He has made great progress.
Itati, a high school senior at ECF’s Kayne Eras School, was referred to educational therapy sessions to receive one-on-one intensive instruction in mathematics. Diagnosed with a learning disability and serious emotional disturbance, Itati has worked diligently with staff to overcome her challenges and also compiled a number of goals herself. When the school year began, she was determined to take the Standardized Admission Test (SAT) and apply for college.
In her initial assessment, Itati had basic math skills but lacked reading comprehension skills – which made word problems difficult – as well as deficits in visual and auditory memory. She had difficulty retaining and recalling previously learned material and difficulty applying learned material in different settings.
Itati reviewed basic algebraic skills, learned the concepts of inequalities and systems of equations, and delved into quadratic functions and polynomials. She improved her performance in algebra and geometry. In January 2013, she took the SAT test; her resulting math score was low. However, the experience helped her identify areas where she needed improvement. She continued to work with her educational therapist on her math skills and took math and English placement tests in April 2013. She passed the California High School Exit Examination (CAHSEE), which meant she achieved appropriate grade level skills in reading, writing, and math. After graduating from KEC, she attended California State University, Northridge.
Rodney, a sixth-grader at Kayne Eras Center, loves to read. For any child, this would be a characteristic worth mentioning, but in Rodney’s case, it means significantly more. When Rodney began working with a KEC educational therapist seven short months ago, his initial reading rate was 85 words per minute, which is equivalent to a second-grade level. While he was capable of breaking words down into their most basic sounds, he did not understand the meaning of the words he read.
Rodney’s educational therapist started him on short, high-interest drills that focused on phonics, sight phrases, and oral reading passages. Because the drills lasted only one minute, Rodney was focused and even requested copies of the passages to read on his own outside of the twice-weekly sessions. Over the course of the school year, his reading rate improved to approximately 120 words per minute, which was a fourth-grade level. He was tremendously excited and motivated to continue learning. During his last session of the school year, Rodney was able to read a passage at a rate of 148 words per minute, which is consistent with the average reading ability of sixth-graders.
Rodney looks forward to continuing to read on his own and in middle school. His story truly demonstrates the power of perseverance – by both Rodney and his supportive and encouraging educational therapist.