A letter from Jesse’s work:
From the moment I met Jesse in the summer of 2010, I was impressed by his willingness to work hard and his motivation to learn to read. Even though 30 years had passed since he had formal academic lessons, he had retained a strong desire to learn. I started working with him that summer. He has had reading lessons for close to two years.
The initial informal assessment showed him to be at a Kindergarten reading level. He knew consonant sounds and a few sight words. During our time together, he has two sessions per week, one hour and thirty minutes each. In addition, two days a week he does homework related to those sessions with his coach, who he sees five evenings per week. Besides being autistic, Jesse has cognitive challenges and has a learning disability in the areas of directionality, visual discrimination, and visual memory. His expressive language is limited.
Jesse’s outstanding strength is his determination. Learning to read requires concentration and practice, practice, practice. Jesse consistently gives of his best during sessions and while doing homework. With hard work for close to two years, he is now reading at a beginning second grade level. He is so proud of his achievements. In addition Jesse is co-operative and filled with kindness. During one session he looked at me and said “You’re a fine lady.”
Sometimes during lessons, Jesse will break out in a big smile. When asked why he is smiling he always replies “I’m having a good time. I’m reading.” His mother and sister report that on weekends they will sometimes find him sitting and reading a book independently.
This month Jesse read his first book of riddles. He loved using the clues and solving the riddles.
It is a joy to work with Jesse. He continues to make progress with every lesson.