Northwest NEWS

May 1, 2000

Editorial

Mother is thankful for the visual learning program that helped her son

[A copy of a letter sent to the Oddfellows and Rebeccas.]

   My name is Kari Berkebile. I am the mother of Cody Berkebile, the boy you helped with his Visual Learning Disorder. I am sorry I haven't written, but we have been waiting for spring conferences.

   The conferences were held yesterday (April 6), and I have great news. Cody started the year at a 1st grade reading level. He is now reading at a 4th grade level, and is going to be moved back to his regular class.

   He still has a problem with his writing, which is directly connected to his Visual Learning Disorder. His words are still connected and the letters are not a consistent size. He has another evaluation in June with the doctor and we will see if she puts him back in therapy or not.

   I would like each and every Oddfellow and Rebecca to know that if it were not for your organization, I probably would not have been able to keep my son in therapy and that he would not have made the great strides in learning that he has accomplished.

   At the beginning of the year, Cody started out really rough. He went back into his survival mode of being a goof-off and a disciplinary problem, which is part of the disorder. Over the summer, he had forgotten what he had learned, and when school time came around, he had no self-confidence, because he had left school last year so far behind everyone else in his class.

   The doctor told us this might happen and what to do. We built his self-esteem up and he has done the rest. When you're a third grader and you have a problem, you get teased and tormented as some children are taught, as is in life, to pick on the different and torment the weak. As an adult, some of us learn differently, as most of you have, otherwise you would not have cared about one little boy's life.

   Again, I would like to thank all of you for caring and to let you know that your contribution was well spent. You all are part of his life, and he knows that without folks like you, he would not be turning his life around.

   I know that sounds dire when you're talking about a nine-year-old boy, but 80% of the children with this learning disorder, if not treated, end up with juvenile delinquent records because they are judged "stupid" by their peers and have to show them how "rebellious" they can be.

   I want you all to know you made a huge difference in his life, and maybe when he has a chance to make a difference in someone else's life, he will remember your goodwill toward him. Thank you all so much.

Kari Berkebile, Cody's mother