AteamBC Brain Busters
POST: Feb. 04, 2019
We WELCOME Joshua, our very first Ateam brain buster! He begins his journey in February 2019. Follow Joshua’s progress and see how AteamBC helps kids be their awesome best.
It will be exciting to watch him grow!
Age/Grade: Young teen in 7th grade
Reading level: Around 3rd grade (assessment for definitive results mid-Feb)
Favorite things: Legos! Twix bars, Disneyland, playing Minecraft, Wii and Roblox
Good at: Swimming, building legos and model cars, and playing Minecraft
Books he enjoys: “I don’t like to read but I like to have books read to me, like the Michael Vey Collection" (young adult sci-fi series with a lot of action and some funny parts)
A few would-you-rathers: Joshua would rather… swim than watch a movie | get straight A’s than be the best player on a soccer team | take a nap than read a book | learn to play a musical instrument than play baseball | ride on a jet ski than in a slingshot car | jump in a lake than ride in a helicopter | dance to music than just listen to music | skip rocks across a lake than toss around a frisbee
Hope in the future: To have a job where he works with computers
Joshua’s mom says:
“Joshua struggles with reading, writing, spelling and memorizing. He also has a hard time paying attention for long periods of time."
“He has not been officially diagnosed by a doctor but I have been given many thoughts from different teachers and Special Coordinators, also input from doctors but not an official diagnosis. ADHD, ADD, Autistic, and I have been told he acts like a child that is down syndrome."
“Any help to help him progress, both socially and educationally would be greatly appreciated. He knows that he has a hard time learning and knows that kids can be mean so he pulls himself away from social situations. I am not sure he even speaks to anyone other than answering teachers during the day at school."
“He likes to search the web to learn new and interesting facts.…he will go and do things when asked without any complaints. He loves to build things: Legos, model car, anything hands on."
“Joshua is a loving, caring young man. I have never heard him say a bad thing about anyone, other than his siblings. He is very aware he is different and will tell me he is stupid. I keep telling him that he is smart just in other ways other than book learning. He likes to move. Putting him at a desk and asking him to learn while sitting still will not work…”
We love Joshua and can't wait to get started!
POST: Feb 23, 2019
JOSHUA -- An amazing week of learning and progress
On February 11th Joshua was given our tutor evaluation by our reading specialist
ABC portion score = Level B1
RR score = 67.6
On February 13th Joshua was tested using the DRA. We discovered that his “independent” level is 14 and his “instructional” level is 16. That puts his reading at an end of first grade level. We had no idea he would test so low. Getting him to proficiency beginning here is a challenge, to say the least.
DRA = 16
Joshua spent 4 days (18th-21st) last week running through tests of balance, eye movement and timing. With the results of the evaluations he received RPSS therapy, visited with a Dr. each day, and started a regimen of functional neurology (FN) exercises. He spent 12-15 hours at the Brain Rehab Clinic. The assessments showed a problem with focus, balance and timing. All of these play into Johsua’s inability to read well. His processing, memory and focus are greatly compromised. With the therapies received at the clinic and FN exercises over the next 6-12 months the Dr. is completely confident that Joshua will improve his reading dramatically. We are hoping he is at a 4th-5th grade level by August (back to school) and reading at grade level by the end of 8th grade! (Spring 2020)
The Dr. asked that Joshua be reevaluated at the end of the week claiming that the therapy he’d received will often be enough to see some marked changes . On the 22nd Joshua was given the tutoring assessment again. He went from a score of 67.6 to 75.9 on the RR score. He moved one level forward on the ABC evaluation. This was with “no” academics whatsoever. His brain is taking off.
POST: Feb 26, 2019
JOSHUA – AteamBC daily program and regular functional neurology begins
Joshua is now incorporating his brain exercises into his life, 5 times each day: once in the early morning before school and then 4 x’s spaced about 40 minutes apart in the afternoon, after school. He began this the day after his Brain Rehab Clinic appointments were over. (They ran from 18th-21st) In between the FN exercises he is engaging in activities that are good for his brain, such as balancing on balance boards, writing, dribbling, being read to, spelling, and auditory recall, etc. Per Dr. instructions, we will not be tutoring reading for 4-6 weeks. It’s better if his eyes do little “tracking” while his exercises are difficult for him.
Joshua has a reward system where he earns points during his after school sessions, receiving prizes accordingly.
Yesterday Joshua wrote a story during Ateam and KC (Kids Coach) asked Joshua’s mom to compare it to previous writing since Ateam does not have anything prior to now. Mom said, “The spelling is normal for him but the handwriting is greatly improved from a week ago; and I mean greatly. The story is a little more in depth then what he would write for me…”
Last week the Dr. said Joshua’s handwriting will improve with FN and as for the spelling—now we know what he has not yet learned or retained. With an improvement of memory through FN we are hopeful that working on spelling now will dramatically change his ability in this area.
Dr. said he expects that Joshua will take off about 6 weeks after therapy first began. We will notice a big difference in his reading, perhaps suddenly.
POST: March 28, 2019
JOSHUA -- A MIRACLE
DRA = 24 (up from level 16, six weeks ago)
Next week we add “reading” to Joshua’s program, along with his functional neurology exercises. Without any tutoring in reading the DRA score (above) says alot but the following testimonial says it all--
What a miracle! It has been my great pleasure to have literally witnessed a reading miracle in the last month. Six weeks ago I observed a test being given to Joshua to assess his reading level. He was lethargic and using his finger to track as he would read each passage, word by word. Some of the testing seemed laborious to him and there was no expression whatsoever. It was apparent through his words and his body language that he did not feel confident reading out loud at all.
For the past 6 weeks, Diane has worked night and day with Joshua doing exercises 5x a day to improve tracking, focus, balance and timing. I have spent time tutoring him once a week in writing and phonics (no reading). When I re-tested this student, in the very same location and at the very same time, Diane and I could not believe our eyes.
Joshua was swinging around on his chair as he read each word, animated and alive, using a British accent and questioning each sentence as he read, making comments that the material was completely wrong. His confidence was unbelievable! He was soaring! We were STUNNED! Was this the same boy?
Not only was he reading and retaining, but he was exhibiting very little effort to read the passages and quite enjoying showing off. We immediately bumped him up to the next level and tested again with the same results. It was a miracle! I have been teaching for 28 years and have never seen a student make such drastic strides in such a short time as I did today.
This program is amazing! Not only has Joshua’s reading improved, but the success has crossed curriculums into other school subjects: he claims his ability to feel the beat and keep time in his music class has improved, something he seemed incapable of before. I'm not sure that I would believe this if I hadn't seen it myself! Hats off to Diane and her dedication to a wonderful program which is changing lives for good!
3rd Grade Teacher
Martha P. King Elementary School
POST: May 2, 2019
PARENT QUESTIONNAIRE (9-10 week mark)
Have you seen improvement or a difference in the following and if so please explain what you have noticed about Joshua since he started AteamBC about 9 weeks ago.
Reading fluency (No, or Yes and explanation)
(Apr 27, 2019--Mom) Joshua used to read one word at a time. Struggling with each one. Now he is still not fast but he reads much more fluently, especially when he reads more simple books. He also is using voices and tone while he reads.
Comprehension of what he’s reading (No, or Yes and explanation)
I always felt like Joshua could understand what he was reading as long as he understood the meaning of the words. I do feel like the more confident he feels with his reading that he is more confident with the meaning of words.
Writing skills—i.e. Is it more legible, better spelling, improved ability to express his thoughts or ideas? (No, or Yes and explanation)
This is where I have seen the most improvement by far. He is able to write in a straight line. His spacing is really improved and his legibility is greatly improved. Before even if I asked him to write his very best it would never be on the line or have proper spacing.
Attitude at home or about reading (No, or Yes and explanation)
He still is not a huge fan of reading. However, he doesn't fight me like he used to.
Maturity (No, or Yes and explanation)
Joshua has always thought himself to be stupid. Lately, he seems to be carrying himself with more confidence. He no longer says that he is stupid. I know this is a strange thing but he stands up more to brother more, which creates more contention in my home, but also shows that he doesn't want to be rolled over anymore.
Mood (No, or Yes and explanation)
I have never had a problem with Joshua's mood. He is always respectful to me and brings happiness to our home.
Confidence (No, or Yes and explanation)
He does his exercise all by himself without having to be reminded. He tries hard to get as many as he can be done before he meets with Diane. This gives him great pride. I was worried that the many hours of work would be too much for him but he is happy to do it and tells me that he loves it. He is more active and is not on the computer nearly as much as he used to be.
4/30/2019 -- Joshua had a video call “check-up” with the functional neurology doctor today. Dr. Hatch added one exercise to Joshua’s protocol and calls Joshua his “poster child” for such amazing progress in short time in reading, being so faithful in doing his exercises every day and for a great attitude.
POST: May 9, 2019
JOSHUA -- The Miracle continues
DRA = 30 (up from level 24, six weeks ago)
Joshua continues to show progress in so many ways! We were extremely grateful to find that his reading level took a jump again. Quoting an observer that knew Joshua before we began the program and has regular contact with him now:
“Joshua’s confidence has greatly improved since participating in Ateam. He continues to progress notably and I have personally seen a remarkable improvement in positive attitude and ability to speak with those he does not know well.”
We will soon be entering the summer months where schedules will make regular participation more of a challenge. But Ateam has a plan for that. Joshua will continue to do his functional neurology exercises every day (5 sets), as well as read and write, balance, and practice tutoring skills flashcards.
We look forward to the time we test him again (six to eight weeks from now) because we know: all kids can READ. We will not give up on them.
POST: August 9, 2019
JOSHUA -- Continuing to Make Great Progress
DRA = 34 (up from 30 in May)
Summer is over for Joshua. He goes back to school in two days. According to the Northwest Evaluation Association in their 2015 NWEA RIT Scale Norms Study, “the summer after seventh grade, students lose on average 36 percent of their school-year gains in reading.” Joshua did not have an “average” summer!
Today we evaluated Joshua’s reading and he has again improved his DRA score, up another level since May—just before school ended for the summer. Six months ago he became an Ateam Reader and he has increased his reading level by two full grades now.
The summer hasn’t been all work by any means. We’ve been tubing and wakeboarding on the lake a couple times, swimming, to a waterslide park and enjoyed some great books!
[NWEA is a non-profit organization that has assessed over 4.5 million students]
POST: September 19, 2019
Recently I spoke with Joshua specifically about this school year—his 8th grade year. Since he started school a little over a month ago I’ve noticed how little homework he has compared to last year. When I inquired about why that is and asked if it had to do with his ability to read, he said yes and agreed that it’s because he is able to get assignments done in class now which he wasn't able to do before.
Today Joshua told me that his reading teacher (he's in a special class for that at school) has noticed and commented on his improvement in reading since last year. Unfortunately she wasn't interested in "how" it came to be--what he's done to improve himself or the program he's working through. "She wouldn't believe me anyway," he said. "A teacher's job is to teach and they would never admit or believe that anyone else could do a better job than they do." That was his observation. I found it interesting.
I asked Joshua how he felt about starting school this year. He said that normally he dreads starting school, completely hates it; “it’s like stabbing pains in my back: very painful!” But this year he expressed that although it’s still painful, he wouldn’t describe it as stabbing pains and terrible dread.
I am so proud of and happy for this young man that I have come to know and love.
POST: October 22, 2019
Joshua informed me today that he can understand about 50% of his Science text book this year. Last year (he said) it was about 1%. He recently informed me that in his resource reading class he was by far the worst last year (and the year before . . .) This year he believes there is only ONE ahead of him (and we know he can catch that person:)
ALMOST ONE YEAR AND THE GOAL IS IN SIGHT! POST: February 6, 2020
Joshua (8th grade) took a 7th grade comprehension test last week and passed getting 75% of the answers correct. This is more incredible than what may be readily apparent. ONE YEAR ago he was reading 1st and 2nd grade “readers” (often with trouble) completely incapable of reading a 3 page single spaced story, which this test began with. I handed him the test without a word of explanation (other than that it was a test that he could take all the time doing that he needed) He finished it in good time. In fact I was surprised when he brought it to me and said he was done. Two days after the test he read the entire story out loud (a HUGE deal since only a few months ago reading this much caused an outburst of complaint that took up significant class time) and then, after reading the story Joshua re-did some of the questions—both those he missed and a few he got correct, so he wouldn’t know which were which. In doing this he corrected all but 1 of his previously incorrect answers and his correct answers remained meaning his score was 95% correct. Next week—he’ll be taking an 8th grade comprehension test! An ability to read 8th grade material in one year, after being stuck at a first-third grade level (depending on what part of reading was assessed) means our dream for Joshua is coming true. Attitude—teammates—reluctantly—competition—neighborhood, etc. were words in the test that he easily reads now. In his tutoring assignments over the past couple weeks he is reading things like: biodegradable, perihelion, bureaucrat, theocracy, megalomania, demagogue, philanthropy, chronological, hydrogenated, monotheistic, anthropomorphic, ETC.! YAY for this great kid!!
JOSHUA’S ONE YEAR MARK AND WE HAD TO SAY “THANK-YOU!” POST: February 20, 2020
I mentioned in my last post that Joshua would take another reading comprehension test soon. He did last week (this time 8th grade level). Last week was his one-year mark for participation in Ateam. He scored 70% taking it silently and then a few days later he read the 3 ¼ page text to me out loud. We read the questions that followed out loud and since he corrected 2 of his former incorrect answers, he got a score of 90%! Yesterday we delivered and mailed one-year-anniversary “thank-you” notes to people who have donated to this young man’s amazing progress … success! When people make donations, they don’t always know exactly where the money goes but I wanted our donors to share in the joy of this miracle so I let them know that they have been instrumental in changing a life forever—this young man’s whole world, and his family. I just HAD to tell them!! I think it was good for Joshua to see that so many care about him and he seemed very pleased that I was spreading the word that “he is amazing: he can read!”
In the past (before he was in Ateam) as I would help my brother with homework, we would find it difficult and time consuming because of his struggles with reading. When I listen to him read now he’s much more confident. He reads faster and with much more ease. (Brother of Ateam Reader)
I have seen first-hand how much my brother has grown and learned since being a part of Ateam. He has started to read for fun which he would have never done before! And he has definitely matured and become more independent and self-motivated. (Sister of Ateam Reader)
I cannot believe all the changes I see in Josh, a reader of yours. Fantastic work and the results are very evident to me!
I did not really know Joshua until I was occasionally at an early morning meeting his sister had before school. She brought him each morning and he would wait for her outside the meeting room before walking over to his school which was close by. I felt bad that he appeared so bored and unhappy. I tried to talk to him and offered to do something with him while he waited. My offers were emphatically rejected with, “do not talk to me.” I said, “hey come on now; we can make this more fun.”
“Do not talk to me!” he said even louder. At first I thought this kid was just having a bad day but on other days it was the same. Others reported a similar experience with him. I started trying to notice Joshua more often, whenever he and I crossed paths. I was thinking that there must be something I could do to make his outlook on life a little better. I found out that he was reading several grade levels below where he should be. School was a terrible struggle and he hated it!
Then Joshua became an Ateam Reader. He is so much happier -- a thousand percent more confident is how it appears to me. He talks to me now and acts like a normal kid: often being silly and trying to make someone laugh. It seems like originally Joshua did not believe he had a future to look forward to. Life would always be very hard and he could do little about it. Now it appears he believes things aren’t so bad at all and his future is bright--full of possibilities. I believe his world and thoughts have changed dramatically.
I hope you can provide the same for countless other kids who have a miserable outlook on life, no fault of their own. Thanks for what you do!