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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Sophiea

The language? reading? learning? doctor: the story of our name

Updated: Aug 5, 2022

In second grade, my niece was flagged in a routine school screening for difficulty coming up with synonyms for common words. My verbose, social, always-answers-the-question-first niece? Flagged for language? I was in disbelief. But then, I listened closer. I heard her word-retrieval mistakes (Can you pass me that purply thing that makes your eyes hurt?), her phonological errors (Ouch I hurt my thinger!), and verb errors (I throwed the ball to you).

Years before the influential screening, when she was just a toddler, she understood my career as, "a language doctor." She trusted me and my ability to help other children. Now, it was her turn to get the help she needed.

Fast forward to third grade, a language disorder diagnosis later. Her language was improving (thanks to weekly expressive language remediation), but her reading.. there was something off. She resisted reading out loud, insisted on reading graphic novels, and could read words like "question mark" but kept mistaking "and" for "but" and "that" for "this." Well-versed in compensating, she always knew how to ask for spelling help, raise her hand to participate, and use pictures to aid her comprehension. But when you opened her journal, or asked her to read aloud, she presented as an entirely different student.

At this point, I was working in a learning disabilities clinic, aware of the signals she was giving and eager to get her the help she needed. When she nervously went to get a literacy evaluation, she looked at me with her big brown eyes and said, "Is she a reading doctor? Can she help me get better?"

Her words always stuck with me. A language doctor, a reading doctor, someone to help. Thankfully, the "doctors" listened to her. They found her areas of need, and gave her the evaluations and intervention she needed to be successful. Her life will forever be changed because of her language and reading doctors.

That is who we strive to be at The Learning Doctor. We are here to help children reach their full potential, to teach them in a way that matches their individual strengths and weaknesses, and to ensure they are getting the help they need.

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