A Story from India: Journey from A to Z…

by Mrs. Rubina Shaikh, India

Our son, Zaid, is ten and a half years old. He was born prematurely and kept in the NICU for three months as a preventive measure. As parents, we did not notice any difficulties during his pre-primary and primary years; but as he went into the 4th grade, some difficulties surfaced: his attention span began to waver and math became his favorite subject. He seemed to struggle with language arts. As is common practice in India, we took him to a government-run hospital for an evaluation and some guidance for what we recognized as learning difficulties.

At the time, Zaid was studying in the 4th grade and was unable to blend simple two- and three-letter words. He showed very little interest in reading and writing and inconsistently showed interest in math. We were worried.

The report from assessments conducted at the hospital indicated that Zaid had an average intellectual ability and we were further referred to the Dr. Anjali Morris Education and Health Foundation (AMF) in Pune for further interventions. At AMF, the psychologists reviewed Zaid’s previous reports from school and other professionals, took a detailed interview with us, and conducted their own assessments. After a comprehensive evaluation of Zaid’s strengths and needs, they started systematic interventions.

In a few months, Zaid began to show improvement in his skills and more importantly, felt good about himself!

The interventionists guided us at every step and updated us with his achievements. They made us realize that every child has strengths and is unique, and it is important to look beyond limitations.

As part of the intervention plan, the main focus was to develop his basic components of reading such as phonemic awareness, phonics, accuracy, then fluency and vocabulary. To begin with, he was systematically taught blending, isolation and manipulation of sounds. Zaid also was provided a 110-lesson scripted intervention from the EmpowerTM Reading Decoding and Spelling Program.

In addition, at home, we practiced everything that the interventionists at AMF recommended. In a few months, Zaid began to show improvement in his skills and more importantly, felt good about himself!

Due to the Empower program and all the earlier interventions there was a significant improvement in what Zaid could do. All of this reflected in his performance in school. He was finally able to read and write small passages, and there were moments of rejoicing in our family! In addition, Zaid evolved as an individual and learning was no longer a burden.

This is what all parents want, isn’t it? We parents want to do what’s best for our children. We seek guidance, support and want to gain the knowledge so as to provide our children with more opportunities and a better life. We are very willing to be team players and help our children overcome their difficulties. We seek professionals who will spend time and tell us what we need to do. Our family truly found the perfect fit for our needs: a place that cared, listened to us, and held our hands every step of the way.

Morris Foundation was that place!!!

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