This is the question I get the most and the one I struggle to answer every time. My answers always seem either too simplified or too confusing. The simplified version can make people think it’s just another program out there, not much different than some of the others. The confusing, more detailed answer uses a lot of big words about the trans-disciplinary approaches that most would think don’t have anything to do with reading. It’s truly one of those things that’s impossible to put into words…..you just need to experience it to get it.
I could leave it there and not worry about if others understand and see why this program is completely different. I could easily have the this mentality: “my kids are my only priority. Other kids may be missing out but at least my kids are getting the best, right?” But I’m wired to want to help others. If you know anything about the Enneagram, I’m a solid 2. I find joy in serving and helping others. My husband has even teased me saying, “all the things you do for others are things you could be charging for, but instead you work for free.” He’s probably right, but it’s part of who I am and it brings me joy to help. So when I see my kids receiving interventions that are changing the course of their life, I can’t help but think of all the kids out there that aren’t receiving the same. It’s tragic to see a program with such unprecedented results being so underutilized. But what’s different about it compared to the other programs??? Here’s my attempt at explaining what I see:
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- THESE PEOPLE GET MY KID: Dyslexia is so much more than just a learning deficiency. It’s affected my kid’s confidence & self-esteem. It’s caused anxiety, worry, stress, embarrassment, frustration and anger. They hate having to do “extra” work. They feel defeated when they watch their peers growing and succeeding while they are struggling to keep up and falling further behind. It carries over to home, sports and activities. They feel like nobody understands what it’s like to be them. But within a few weeks of being at The Morris Center, they all seemed to breathe a sigh of relief. Why? Because for the first time, there were people around them explaining the “why” behind it all. These people are familiar with what these kids are experiencing and they know how to handle it. They assure them that they can help. They give them hope.
- INTENSITY & CONSISTENCY: Every day our kids know exactly what to expect when they walk through the door. They check their daily schedule and get to work. Their days consist of 6 one-one-on sessions, two of which are occupational therapy. Each session is 50 minutes of instruction. The kids are getting the maximum instruction at each session. In a classroom setting, there is always some downtime. Kids can get distracted when the teacher is working with another student or small group. Kids can zone out or daydream during a lesson. At TMC, that’s not possible. My kids are getting the most out of every minute! This is 6 hours a day, 5 days a week. With that level of frequency, the process of rewiring the brain is expedited.
- A TEAM APPROACH: After each session, notes are entered into their software program. These notes show the next instructor exactly where my child left off, what he/she has mastered or needs to continue practicing, along with how their focus level, demeanor and behavior seem to be. They also converse regular between sessions about specific concerns or observations. Each hour of my child’s day is documented and the entire team has access to it at any time. Basically, they are all on the same page, all the time!
- PSYCHIATRY: If your kid has been on or needs medication, TMC works closely to monitor and manage your child’s response to specific medications. My nephew is ADHD and has been able to begin a new medicine regimen with daily feedback from the staff on their observations on how he is responding to the medicinal therapy.
- PSYCHOLOGY: In my opinion, everyone needs a therapist! It’s so good to have an unbiased person to listen to and advise you. For kids, this is especially helpful as they deal with a wide array of emotions. At The Morris Center, there is an on-site psychologist that meets with each child weekly. His main purpose is to monitor each child’s well-being while at TMC. Basically, he’s a life coach. He offers the kids a safe outlet for expressing their feelings honestly, then works to teach them coping skills that empower them to self-regulate. The psychologist also provides complementary strategies and methods to the staff to help them best relate to each child and handle circumstances/behaviors appropriately. Every kid is different and responds to situations uniquely. It’s comforting to know that there’s someone there trained to assess my children’s emotional well-being and teach them how to cope on their own.
- PARENTS INCLUDED: This isn’t a drop-off and pick-up at the door environment. Parents play an integral part in the process. Every morning, we escort our kids inside where we are greeted by staff. Quick conversations about our kids overall demeanor/behavior/eating while home are welcomed. If my kid couldn’t sleep/eat, they want to know. This helps the team prepare for the day. Each week, we get the opportunity to observe our kids in session. This gives us a better understanding of how the program is being taught and we can see first-hand the progress our child is making. It’s encouraging for us to see that our investment is working! In addition to observations, we have weekly progress meetings with the psychologist, occupational therapist and Dr. Conway. We get a DETAILED break-down of the week’s progress, complete with pros/cons/plan of action for the next week. At any time, they can access every word, sound, skill my child has mastered. They track EVERYTHING! It’s really pretty incredible to see how much detail is documented for each day.
This is in no way a comprehensive explanation of what The Morris Center is, but it’s certainly enough to show why this place is different. I dare you to find a program as detailed, strategically executed and scientifically supported as The Morris Center. The experience we’ve had has far exceeded our expectations and it’s not over yet.