Michael was born in Russia, and we adopted him at the age of 5. At first we thought his difficulties in learning the alphabet and reading simple sight words were because English was his second language. As his schooling progressed, it became apparent Michael had a learning disability severe enough to prevent him from reading. By age 11, he was still not able to read or write. His school claimed he would never be able to read so I sought outside help. Michael initially received tutoring from two different sources, but neither showed results.
Frustrated, I called our neuropsychologist who recommended we contact Catrina Hays. Upon reading Michael’s test results and background information, Catrina stated she could teach Michael to read. I must admit I did not share her confidence, but was impressed with her insistence that she could help Michael.
Michael did not have an easy time learning to read. Days, weeks, months passed as he struggled with the fluency pages. However, over time, I noticed he was beginning to write notes and express his feelings on paper. This was especially the case when I was upset with him. I think he felt it easier to apologize on paper than in person! Michael began texting, setting up his own account on Facebook and reading simple stories. His writing improves every month. What has been very enjoyable for me is that Michael can now play Scrabble, a favorite family game.
I wish I could describe how much working with Catrina has meant to Michael and our family. I can only say that without the ability to read, he could not live an independent life – what a tragedy that would have been.