Keelers Keep Going
KidsQuest kid, Thomas Keeler
“He has so much more to say and prove then what he is able to. To watch him grow and struggle less with each session leaves us grateful and speechless.”
-Carrie Keeler, Thomas’ mother
Thomas and his dad, Brian
Parents, like Brian and Carrie Keeler, strive to find the resources to support their child’s development. When their son, Thomas, showed signs of struggling with the alphabet at an early age they made it their mission to learn how to help him. However, the journey to finding success for Thomas was not the simplest path. Thomas received speech therapy at the Valley Mountain Regional Center and then evaluated when he entered public school at three years old. His school came up with an individualized education program (IEP) for Thomas’ auditory processing disorder, but he was moved over to a private school in hopes of receiving even better support. Carrie said, “I remember the IEP we had and how defeated we felt that we didn’t know much of the diagnosis or treatment.”
When Thomas returned to public school in first grade he fell further behind. His teacher noticed Thomas’ struggle in class and requested to have another IEP set up for him – that was when the Keelers were introduced to the term “dyslexia.” Since dyslexia wasn’t recognized as a diagnosis, they stuck with auditory processing disorder until Thomas was able to get an evaluation from Stanford. Thomas’ full diagnosis of a specific learning disability and Social Pragmatic Communication Disorder was the stepping stone they needed to receive more services for him.
They joined a dyslexia support group for the Central Valley and Thomas resumed third-grade reading below a kindergarten level. His teacher, also dyslexic herself, empathized with Thomas and poured more time and dedication into his growth. He started to show improvement but began to plateau after eight months. Carrie continued to seek resources for her son and found KidsQuest’s free one-on-one tutoring for dyslexic children.
Carrie said, “I needed more help than we could afford. We started tutoring in November of 2019 and have never looked back. Thomas has shown exponential growth since receiving the generous services he has been provided. This program has meant the world to our family. Thomas reads to me now which has been emotional and, although the struggle is still there, he feels safe in the comfort and support his tutors provide him.” A year later, Thomas continues to thrive and has developed an immense love for reading.