LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Recent studies show that many kids fell behind educationally during the pandemic. This time has been even tougher for kids who struggle with learning differences. One Lexington mom shares her daughter’s story of how educational therapy helped her gain a new sense of self-confidence.
When Sarah Masters' daughter Ava was finishing kindergarten, she noticed she wasn't holding on to the information she was learning.
"Towards the end of the year — I was like — she is not retaining this information. She doesn't know any of the letters, she doesn't know sounds, she should be reading by now,” says Masters.
Through testing, Masters found out that her daughter has dyslexia and struggled with reading — something experts say one in five children experience.
"She realized 'oh, well I’m not quite the same,' so she did start to feel like she wasn't quite good enough, and that she wasn't smart, and she wasn't enjoying school,” says Masters.
While Ava Masters and her four siblings are homeschooled, her mom shared that she was also impacted by the pandemic. Now, 7-years-old, and in the second grade, Ava started coming to Julie’s Scholars in Lexington — an educational therapy center helping children with learning differences.
Educational therapist Julie Nielsen says, "During the pandemic, people started coming to me at younger ages instead of waiting until they're 10 or 12. I've seen more people come to me at 7 and 8 and say, 'my child's not reading and I need some help.'"
Nielsen helps students with writing, math, reading and comprehension. She says she works with a lot of bright students whose confidence is low because of the differences in how they learn. Nielsen says if parents are worried about where their child is, testing could help.
“The child just needs to know that they're smart — and an evaluation would help clarify strengths and weaknesses so mom and child would know," she says.
Now, Masters sees her daughter's excitement coming back. Ava's reading at grade level. Masters wants to break the stigma about dyslexia and other learning differences.
"You know, it doesn't have to be a stigma. I think that it's actually kind of like a superpower. You know dyslexics are, they think differently, and they — a lot of people in the world that have done great things are dyslexics," she says.
This mom encourages other parents to find their students the support they need and stop the learning ability stigma.