29 December 2016
As told to Leah Cohen:
Rivky Levine was a bright, popular 8-year-old; a real extrovert. Her mother used to joke that she was born talking. Rivky had a wonderful vocabulary and for such a young child she was a great conversationalist.
Ask Rivky, however, to read a sentence or even a word, and she was in trouble. She would often guess how to read a word – and her guess was typically wrong. Reading out loud was extremely stressful and embarrassing. When the teacher would call on Rivky in class, she would shut down and mumble something under her breath. A few months into third grade, Rivky’s teacher realized there was a serious problem, prompting her to call Rivky’s mother. Mrs. Levine was distraught: Why was she only hearing about Rivky’s reading problems halfway through third grade? And dyslexia? How could Rivky suffer from dyslexia when she was super smart?
Studies show that even the brightest students can have trouble reading. Reading is about connecting letters with sounds, and putting those sounds together in the right order; a process that the brain can find difficult, regardless of IQ. After speaking to a few therapists and experienced teachers, Mrs. Levine discovered that dyslexia wasn’t as rare as she had initially thought. In fact a sixth grader at Rivky’s school used to suffer from reading issues, but is now cured thanks to a Physio-Neuro Therapy program called Neurolinks.
If Neurolinks could really cure Rivky, Mrs. Levine was on-board. She scheduled an evaluation at the Neurolinks
office in Lakewood and was extremely impressed. After the evaluation, Mrs. Chayala Taub, the director of the program, explained that Rivky was a prime candidate for the program. Rivky’s problems with reading stemmed from her difficulty with directional discrimination, in other words her inability to distinguish directional orientation such as the differences between left and right, and up and down. She seemed to have difficulty following a sequence of instructions, and was struggling with letter or word reversals. For example, Rivky was not able to differentiate between the letters ‘b’ and ‘d’ or the words ‘saw’ and ‘was’. “Rivky is perfect for the Neurolinks program,” said Mrs. Taub. “Give us six months, and we’ll have her cured of dyslexia. I can guarantee that you’ll soon find her curled up on the couch with a book.” Mrs. Taub explained that Physio-Neuro Therapy is proven to cure dyslexia with a series of exercises that build up the brain connections responsible for directional discrimination.
Rivky started the program the week after Succos and by Chanukah there was already significant improvement. Mrs. Levine dropped Rivky off at the Neurolinks office four afternoons a week for one-on-one sessions with her instructor. Rivky would perform an exercise, master it and move onto a more complex exercise. “By Pesach time, Rivky was finishing up the Neurolinks program. The proof was in the pudding because instead of helping me in the kitchen I kept finding her on the couch reading,” Mrs. Levine recounted. “How could I reprimand her? Last Pesach she couldn’t even read her Haggadah!”