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Louisiana Center Helps Students With Learning Disabilities | Louisiana News

By MELINDA MARTINEZ, The Town Talk

ALEXANDRIA, Louisiana (AP) – Francis Hines, 8, was eager to read aloud the story he wrote about Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

Eighteen months ago, Francis was unable to read a word because of his struggle with dyslexia. He struggles to learn to read and interpret words or letters, his mother Liz Hines said. He couldn’t write his alphabet in order. And now, after 18 months of intensive remediation, Hines says his handwriting is “amazing” and he can read and write.

“I can read everything,” said Francis, shy but proud.

Concentrating carefully, he read every word of his short story in four chapters.

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“It’s great. Great job,” said Yvette Blanchard, co-owner of the Reading & Math Centers of Louisiana, who has worked with Francis.

“And he wrote this story on his own,” said Hines, who is the co-owner of the other center.

Francis pointed out that his friends helped with the illustrations.

“I just wanted to make a story because I thought it would be good for me and other kids wanted to help me so I let them do it,” he said.

Blanchard, who also has a child who suffers from dyslexia, and Hines recently opened the Louisiana Reading and Mathematics Centers in Alexandria.

“So it’s part of our hearts for sure,” Hines said.

Yvette is a dyslexia specialist who owns a clinic, The Reading Center in Carencro, which focuses on dyslexia and dysgraphia, a problem that causes writing problems.

Hines, who is a mathematician, got a certification in dyscalculia, which is the difficulty a person has in doing basic arithmetic.

The reason they decided to open a center here is to help parents and educators of children struggling with dyslexia, dyscalculia and dysgraphia, Blanchard said.

“It’s not an IQ issue at all,” Hines said. “And I think when people can’t read or can’t do math, they think it’s an IQ problem.”

Often these disabilities are hereditary and these problems may overlap.

“If a kid has one, there’s a 40% chance they’ll have another,” Hines said.

Blanchard said they use an explicit multisensory approach that is unique to each individual need that strengthens neurological pathways and creates pathways where there are none.

“So think of this as therapy for the brain,” she said. These are not the exercises but the way they teach in their approach.

They do a lot of testing on each person and build from there, Hines said.

“Their symptoms and the defense mechanisms they put in place and everything they’ve done are as unique as a fingerprint,” she said. “There is no ‘magic sauce’ that can apply to everyone. It’s a science where you find where they are weak and you start there and build.

Blanchard said they use body movements and other multisensory approaches to help this skill seep into long-term working memory. Hines said it was the most important.

“They can’t get it from the Broca area of ​​the brain with long-term working memory because of the chromosomes,” Hines said.

“That’s why dyslexic, dyscalculic, dysgraphic children can know their spelling words today, or their math facts today, and not tomorrow, because it’s right here,” she said. showing his forehead where the Broca area is.

What the individual learns fails in the brain’s long-term working memory. So, Hines and Blanchard work with individuals to build and strengthen neural pathways so that what is learned moves from the Broca region to long-term memory.

Statistically, it takes around 18 to 36 months for full remediation depending on the child’s age and the severity of their diagnosis, Blanchard said.

When corrected, people with dyslexia, dyscalculia or dysgraphia use 15-20% more of their brains than people without disabilities, Hines said.

“We don’t put a bandage on it. We retrain the brain so that it can be fully functional in the classroom, ”she said.

They want to help the child become independent.

“This has been our goal,” Hines said. “And that’s what’s so different about what we do than just providing accommodations. “

For more information on Louisiana Reading and Mathematics Centers, call (318) 455-2010 or email: [email protected] Visit their Facebook page, The Reading and Math Centers of Louisiana.

Copyright 2021 Associated press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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