Nick’s Rain Forest Collage

It all started when a skunk set up house under my step. He didn’t bother me but I was worried that he might not like one of my visitors. I called Japco, a reputable pest control company, who trapped him and released him into the woods.

In conversation with Tina from Japco, I learned that she had an autistic 14-year-old boy who was totally discouraged about his inability to make any progress at school. Tina scheduled a reading consultation with me and the rest is history. Nick responded quickly to The Making Sense Approach and was soon a joyful reader.

Nick was bullied at school and he did not want to be around other kids. His mother decided it would be best if she home-schooled him for a while. I served as a coach, giving Nick instructive feedback on his work, and teaching Tina, as she directed his learning.


Matt & Nick Read Together

In September, Nick’s writing was at the first grade level and Tina was worried because she couldn’t get him to write very much. Students often don’t want to write because they haven’t got anything in their minds they want to write about.

Cheyney Kirzinger and her grade three and four students at Grandmother’s Bay, a small community that is part of the La Ronge Indian Band school system, were studying  Touching Spirit Bear.  Cheyney had been part of a professional day I  presented for teachers at LaRonge which taught an unusual way to use a novel as the center of instruction.  Cheyney was having remarkable results.

So I started Nick, and his brother Matt, on a study of the same novel. I put them in touch with the Grandmother’s Bay students to share what they were learning from the story. It was such a win-win for all of them as they exchanged letters, art work and stories. Nick’s writing blossomed and he began producing pieces of length and substance. He made each child a laminated white bear book mark with their name on it.


Nick and Matt's Masks

Nick has created work of astounding quality. What a joy it is for me to visit him in his personalized classroom. His fertile mind is overcoming his disability. He has created a huge number and variety of projects such as paintings, sculptures, an Egyptian newspaper, and a detailed model of a rain forest. These masks were created by the boys as part of their Spirit Bear study. Nick made the one on the left and Matt the one on the right.

Someday Nick will use his incredible mind to make innovative contributions to the world.  Reading restores confidence and makes all the difference.


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