Jonathan has piercing blue eyes, a mischievous smile, and all the energy you might expect in a young boy. At the age of five, he also had early signs of dyslexia, the most common cause of reading problems. Dyslexia, which has a genetic and neurobiological basis, occurs in 15 to 20% of the population. Children with the disorder tend to be smart but have subtle brain processing problems that make
His mother, Julie, said, “I saw early on that Jonathan was going to have problems with reading. He wasn’t learning his ABCs and didn’t understand rhyming.” She is all too familiar with dyslexia. “I’ve struggled with reading all of my life, and so have my husband and older children,” says Julie. “I wanted it to be different for Jonathan.”
Nemours BrightStart! Dyslexia Initiative, located in Jacksonville, Fla., came to Jonathan’s preschool to conduct screenings for rising kindergarteners and identified him as having many of the risk factors for dyslexia. Julie and her husband, Len, were eager to have their son participate in this new program.
In June 2006, Jonathan attended the Nemours BrightStart! program with three other children, twice each week for a total of 18 sessions.
Donna Ellis, a Nemours BrightStart! early literacy teacher, worked intensively with him, and used appealing games and activities to boost reading readiness. His test scores rose significantly after completing the program. “When he came home and recited his ABCs to me, I just cried. I couldn’t believe he could remember them,” says his mother.
“Donna also sent games and activities home with Jonathan so that we could continue helping him,” says Julie. Jonathan also continued to improve by participating in another round of Nemours BrightStart! lessons.
Behind those blue eyes and the mischievous smile is a bright and curious mind. With the help of the Nemours BrightStart! Dyslexia Initiative, Jonathan is now experiencing success in school.