Lindamood Bell Learning Processes
What can I say?
Lindamood Bell Learning Processes is a godsend!!
And I don't say that about anything, really.
We were first introduced to Lindamood Bell (LMB) back in 2005 when my son was originally diagnosed with his learning disability and was at the same time going through a
program. There was a staff member at the center who supposedly did the program and the psychologist who diagnosed my son's learning disability wanted her to do some LMB work with him. For whatever reason, she never seemed to think he was ready and thus he finished his physio-neuro therapy without any exposure to Lindamood Bell. Frankly, I am now thankful for that.
If you read the
page you will see the reasons why, as our time there was less than pleasant.
Anyway, from that time forward I had been curious about the benefits of the Lindamood Bell program.
After 2+ years in special ed resource classes (pulled out for reading and writing) my son had not made even 1 years growth in his scores. He was about to end 5th grade still reading at a middle 2nd grade level. TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE!! And terrifying, to think that I was not far off from sending this kid to middle school and he couldn't even get through a chapter book, much less the expected science, social studies, and math word problems curriculum.
So I buckled down and made an appointment to have him evaluated at our local Lindamood Bell center. Fortunately, we have one. Some states don't.
Let me be clear, I was VERY, VERY apprehensive. We had up til this point spent thousands of dollars on other programs promoted as remedies for his attention and behavioral issues and NONE of them had worked. Even though he had improved or "graduated" from all of them.
I figured for sure that the staff at Lindamood Bell would of course say "yes, he needs our help" and "yes, we can definitely help him." And they did! But something told me this was worth a try. (A very expensive try)
Let's just say I was desperate at this point. I contacted our Director of Special Education in the district. I happen to know her professionally so I thought it would be worth asking her if she would pay for this. Of course, she said no. She said they don't typically support Lindamood Bell. She was so kind as to offer 20 hours of one on one Wilson tutoring. Whoopee!!! Wilson reading is what he had been doing for 2+ years. Obviously that didn't work.
Lindamood Bell said my son was a fairly severe case and while their average student needs about 4-6 weeks of the program, they recommended 12 WEEKS for him.
Now here is the part where I tell you about Lindamood Bell, as quoted from their own website:
"Our programs stimulate basic sensory functions related to learning and are recognized as being effective on the symptoms of dyslexia, hyperlexia, autism, and learning difficulties in general.
Lindamood Phoneme Sequencing® by Patricia Lindamood and Phyllis Lindamood stimulates phonemic awareness for reading, spelling, and speech and develops cognitive processes related to word attack, and phonological processing.
Visualizing and Verbalizing for Language Comprehension and Thinking® by Nanci Bell develops concept imagery for oral and written comprehension and develops cognitive processes related to critical thinking, attention skills, memory, the ability to recall facts, get the main idea, infer, conclude, predict, and evaluate. Aligns with the Dual Coding Theory - the integration of imagery and language.
Seeing Stars® by Nanci Bell develops symbol imagery for reading fluency and spelling. Stimulates cognitive processes related to sight word formation, contextual fluency, phonetic processing, and visual memory. Aligns with the Dual Coding Theory - the integration of imagery and language.
On Cloud Nine® Math by Nanci Bell and Kimberly Tuley stimulates the ability to image and verbalize the concepts underlying math processes. Emphasis on mathematical reasoning and computation.
Talkies® by Nanci Bell and Christy Bonetti is a primer for Visualizing and Verbalizing® program, and develops mental imagery as a base for language comprehension and expression for students who need simple, smaller steps of instruction. Beneficial for students with prior third-party diagnoses of expressive language delays or autism spectrum disorders.
Because of the tremendous success of our instructional programs, what started as one small Lindamood-Bell® Learning Center years ago has now grown to 41 centers including one in London, England.
Our Learning Centers offer one-to-one instruction, which often produces years of learning gain in an average of 6 weeks of intensive instruction."
THE FINANCIAL IMPACT
Lindamood Bell is no small deal. I will be very forthright and tell you the 12 weeks of instruction cost us $20,000. No, I am not joking, $20,000. And no, we are not wealthy by any means. They offer financing thru Sallie Mae, so we have taken out a 15 year loan at about $300 a month to pay for this.
And yes, it occurred to me that we hadn't even saved anything for college and we were already taking out student loans for our child. But here's the reality, this $20,000 investment might actually get my kid to college. Without it, not so sure.....
So what, you might wonder, did all that money buy us?
It bought us, or really him, 4 hours per day of ONE-ON-ONE instruction for 12 WEEKS. He did mostly the Seeing Stars program and some Visualizing and Verbalizing towards the end.
We started in late April of 5th grade. I started pulling him out of school every day at 11:30 and took him to the center. He was there for 4 hours each day.
There were absolutely times when we had to bribe and beg him to make it through. There were days he didn't act well for them so they started a sticker chart. They have reward incentives built into everything they do because they know it gets monotonous for the kids. The staff was excellent.
Kids in the program are there for 4 hours but they have a different teacher for each hour to help keep things interesting.
My son was going to be in the program through most of July so we were getting no summer vacation. About 2/3 of the way through we had to bribe him with a 2 night stay at a local resort if he behaved and focused. He made it!
So are you ready?
Want to know how he did?
Can you stand the anticipation?
He made a solid 2 1/2 - 3 years improvement in his reading scores!!!
Yes, I am serious. He went from a middle year 2nd grade reader to about a middle year 5th grade reader. It was amazing, miraculous, astounding.
I will also add this: My son has a specific issue with his processing skills or processing speed. That means that when it comes to learning and completing tasks, it always takes him longer or he is always slower. So truthfully, some of his final test scores came out lower than maybe we wanted but only because they were timed. That is called FLUENCY. His fluency scores are always going to be low because fluency is based on how fast you can read. Frankly, something they should do away with. How fast you read is not an indication of how well you read.
THE BEST $20,000 WE HAVE EVER SPENT, AND PROBABLY EVER WILL.
WHAT THAT MEANS
I will be honest. It does not mean he is now a super student. I wish it did. Unfortunately, his temperament still gets in the way. And even though he can read everything he needs to, he still doesn't like to read.
Some kids are just not readers, at least as children. I hope that someday he can appreciate the wonders of reading. Right now he says books frustrate him because they just make him want to be able to do everything they do in the story. Cute, I guess.
But at least now I know he can read. He doesn't ask me to read things to him anymore. He can read all his own stupid video games. He can read his science and social studies books. He can read signs and advertisements. HE CAN READ!
Any parent who has a child who cannot read or doesn't read well understands how significant this is, truly.
WHERE WE GO FROM HERE
Although we have not hit this point yet, I am told that one of the benefits of the LMB program is that for 3 years after completion, they will retest your child once a year. So sometime in the spring, we should be getting the info on that. They do it as much for their own research as anything. But that is good. If they care about their "lasting" statistics, then they care about the integrity of their program. That is what we all need for our kids.
I will gladly come back here in the spring after he has his retest and tell you how he did.
For more complete information about the program and to see if there is a center in your area, check out the
Lindamood Bell website.
Sidebar regarding our special ed director's impressions of LMB. Lindamood Bell will tell you that their program is only designed to work as they have developed it. It must be done as an intensive program, 4 hours a day, every day. We have teachers in the district who have been "trained" to do it, go back to their classrooms and do it for 20-30 mins at a time and then say it doesn't work. That is why our director is not supportive. All that means, frankly, is they are all ignorant.
UPDATE - June 2009
I realized recently that I forgot to come back and update our progress after our spring re-test.
First, I can say that my son has not regressed in his abilities. He continues to now be able to read anything that he chooses to put effort into.
However, his retest scores were lousy. About where they were when he was finished with LMB. The issue was that my son does not test well, period. And, his behavior was not spectacular during the retest. I think he worked so hard to get through his 12 weeks there, that when we returned 6 months later, he was having difficulty rectifying in his own mind that he only had to be there for 4 hours this time.
So, my parting message is still the same. LMB is spectacular. I won't take that back. It gave him skills nobody else had been able to give him. Skills that haven't disappeared because even if he doesn't always use them, they were embedded deep into his brain. He can find the skills when he needs them, they are still there. Unlike something akin to weekly spelling tests that sit in the surface of your brain, only to be forgotten within 10 minutes of the final test.
So my son may not be the LMB poster child for "here are the first scores and look at these amazing new test scores!" He won't ever be that kid. But the director of the center and the teachers at the program got to know him VERY well and we ALL have faith in what he learned, even if he can't always show us...
UPDATE - APRIL 2010
My son is about to finish a two week tune up at LMB. We had an opportunity to pull him out of school and let him attend the center for two weeks worth of lessons. He seems to really be enjoying his time there. And it couldn't have come at a better time as life in 7th grade has been a disaster, to put it mildly. I'm hoping he will return to school with a renewed sense of capability.
My personal and heartfelt thanks to Jessica and her team at the Scottsdale center. They are the best!
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