In March of 2010 our son, Aldo was diagnosis with ADHD and a reading disability. The neuropsychologist who tested Aldo recommended tutoring for his reading disability; however, he did not provide us with a community list of tutors or have a suggestion of where to begin.
I interviewed several tutors and we were filled with hope each time I ended the interview, only to receive a call from them saying that they did not think they could help us at this time either because of the French or because of the disability.
One frustrated afternoon I Googled “French Special Ed. Tutor in Ottawa’ and one name came up: Diane Duff. I phoned her and made an appointment. She requested that I have Aldo’s neuropsychologist assessment available for her to read. At our interview she reviewed the assessment and explained it to me. Diane informed me that Aldo has dyslexia and she helped me understand what to expect of him academically and how to help him.
Diane began working with Aldo in July 2, 2011. At at this time my 6 year-old son could not recognize letters or distinguish letters from numbers. Aldo is also a charmer so he is very good at manipulating the situation so he can hide his disability. However, Diane would not allow him to charm her, but graciously and firmly led him through the lessons.
It was a slow start for Aldo, but he looked forward to his lessons with Diane. They developed a lovely working relationship and he was disappointed if he did not have a lesson. In the beginning, Diane and Aldo worked together three times a week for 45 minutes, and then Aldo requested to add another day a week.
His confidence grew week by week and by December he knew his letters and was reading simple words and sentences. Diane and Aldo worked together every afternoon at 4 o’clock for over a year. Unfortunately for us, she moved back to Toronto, but by the end of the year my son was reading at his grade level.
We asked Diane if she would complete a reading assessment to give to the next tutor. Her assessment was so thorough that we gave it to his teacher and his next tutor. His current tutor uses it as her guide in working with Aldo.
We believe Aldo is successful in school because of Diane’s talents–not just with her ability to teach–but with her ability to connect with children who have felt shame at their inability to keep up with their classmates.
We still miss her everyday at 4 o’clock.