Developmental Delay: Elisa Conquers All 6/22/2015

Learning Difficulties & How Elsa Conquers Them

Elisa was a healthy baby at birth. As far as her parents knew, she was a well child who was developing normally. But when Elisa was four years old, she had her first seizure. Her development was slowing in comparison to other children her age, and her parents realized that something was wrong. During the next four years she had about a half-dozen seizures. Doctors agreed with the parents’ observations that Elisa was experiencing learning difficulties. Her parents began to look for ways to help Elisa catch up with her peers.

learning difficulties

It was difficult for Elisa to keep up with other kids.

Finally Elisa’s parents learned about The Institutes programs and they attended the What To Do About Your Brain-Injured Child course in Pisa, Italy. After the course, they began an intensive program with Elisa at home. Her daily program included sophisticated sensory stimulation and an extensive physical program. She began a reading program that included over 1000 single words.

learning difficulties

Parents started with a Reading Program immediately.

Elisa’s parents observed that her respiration improved greatly. Her chronically shallow breathing became deeper and more normal. Even the structure of her face changed because her nostrils enlarged significantly. Her height increased considerably once she started the program. She was less hypersensitive to light touch all over her body. She had begun to crawl, which she could not do previously. Her language improved significantly. Overall her behavior had improved noticeably.

learning difficulties

Elisa could do things that she could never do before.

Learning Difficulties & The Dramatic Changes in Elsa

Due to these remarkable improvements, her parents asked to bring Elisa to The Institutes for an initial appointment as soon as possible. At her first visit to The Institutes, Elisa was not able to read commercial books due to problems with her visual convergence. Her reading comprehension was poor and she read very slowly. Although she was nine years old, her parents estimated that she could not understand as well as an average six-year-old. She could not run as well as other children either. She could write short phrases but not paragraphs like children of her own age. Her spelling and handwriting were very poor – these were only some of the learning difficulties she was experiencing.

learning difficulties

Brachiation: A program that would help Elisa’s writing.

After their initial visit, Elisa’s parents intensified the neurological program at home, with the hope that she would one day be able to catch up to her peers. Thanks to their dedication, they began to see many improvements in Elisa’s reading, understanding, mobility, language, and writing.

learning difficulties

Elisa loves reading and learning.

Elisa was on The Institutes Intensive Treatment Program for nearly four years, with remarkable results. At her last evaluation, she demonstrated the ability to read books at her age level.  She also enjoyed reading essays, short stories, and newspaper and magazine articles.  She was doing math at age level, something that had seemed impossible just a few years earlier. Elisa’s behavior had greatly improved as well. Her parents noted that Elisa was often kinder, more sensitive, and more respectful than other children of her age.

learning difficulties

Writing and math were now much easier for Elisa.

In addition, Elisa was physically fit and above her age level in physical ability. At the age of 12, she completed a triathlon that included 400 meters of swimming, 10 kilometers of biking, and 5 kilometers of running in just over 80 minutes.

learning difficulties

Elisa became an athlete and an avid runner.

Her writing had greatly improved, and she could now write in paragraphs. Her language had also improved: she presented a 10-minute academic lecture to the staff and parents of The Institutes. Elisa’s audience loved her beautiful presentation.

The staff proposed that Elisa should engage in the final and most challenging step of her journey–attending school on a daily basis.  Her family enthusiastically accepted this challenge, and Elisa began to attend school.

learning difficulties

Elisa with her family and her staff advocate, Olivia Pelligra. 

In school Elisa continued to excel beyond her parents’ expectations and dreams. She passed all her third-grade requirements. Elisa received the highest scores possible in English, Spanish, General Science, and Music, and at the next highest level in Human Science. Her English teacher commented: “Elisa has made enormous progress and her hard work and dedication are reflected in her test results. I hope Elisa will maintain her interest and enthusiasm toward English.” 

After a year in school, her parents summarized Elisa’s overall progress as follows: “Elisa finished her school year and she did very, very well.  She is the only student in the class who has received a special mention on her final marks… Thanks to her efforts, Elisa passed many tests and completed all the requirements for the third year of elementary school.”

learning difficulties

Elisa has become a bookworm.

Congratulations to Elisa and her superb parents! They are an inspiration to other parents and children who face similar challenges. The entire staff offers best wishes to Elisa and her bright future. We expect that Elisa will continue to advance and pursue her dreams in life.