Why This Teacher with Dyslexia Counts on TouchMath

Dawn Jenkin's teaching career almost didn't happen.

"I didn't graduate from high school," Dawn admits. "I went through school hearing 'you can't do it'...'you don't try'...'you're never going to be anything.' All my life I had people telling me that I would never be able to be a teacher."

Dawn now teaches first grade at Amber Terrace Elementary School in Desoto, Texas. She also has overcome a lifelong learning impediment called dyslexia.

"They didn't have the tools back then to find out what was wrong with me, so I left high school at age 18 and took my GED."

It wasn't until she was in college that she discovered why school was such a frustrating struggle.

"I was taking a scuba class at a community college, and we had to draw a graph calculating our air supply," Dawn recalls. "My teacher got upset because I drew my chart backwards. After asking me some questions he said, 'Dawn, you have dyslexia, a learning disorder.'"

Finally understanding some of her difficulties, Dawn received help from Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, which specializes in diagnosis and treatment of dyslexia. She learned to retrain her brain to compensate for her disability and went on to earn an associate's degree in Applied Science at Eastfield College in Mesquite, Texas and a bachelor's degree in Education from Texas Women's University in Dallas. Not long after she began teaching, Dawn noticed TouchMath on the Internet and decided to investigate.

"I thought: 'That's cool, it could work for me!' When you have dyslexia, you need to use your hands a lot to understand things. Being able to put the TouchPoint system together with math made it easy for me. I also thought this would work really great with my students."

Dawn purchased her first TouchMath kit almost a decade ago. "TouchMath just caught on," she says. "I'm still using it today. … And it works."

My first graders are soaring through double- and triple-digit addition, and double-digit subtraction. The second-grade teachers are fighting over my kids.”

How does TouchMath provide such a significant advantage to teachers and students with dyslexia? According to one authority, Charlotte W. Tye, Director of The HillSprings Learning Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, "Dyslexic students need a structured, multisensory, direct instruction academic program. TouchMath provides that kind of curriculum in mathematics." Tye's credentials include a master’s degree in learning disabilities and almost 40 years of teaching experience, a large part of which included working with students with learning differences.

"These students also need extensive practice in order to learn a new skill," Tye adds. "TouchMath has a variety of interesting worksheets and activities that keep kids motivated. They achieve success quickly – something they haven't experienced when learning to read and write."

Dawn Jenkin's two children have also benefited from TouchMath. Her teenage son is gifted and began using it in kindergarten. Her daughter, however, has dyslexia and, like her mother, struggled in school. Today she is a successful paramedic and still uses TouchMath.

Dawn also continues to use TouchMath in her daily life, even for balancing her checkbook. "I still look at a number and get it backwards or interchange it. But if I put mental TouchPoints on the number, I'm OK."

Winner of TouchMath's 2007 Dream Delivery award, Dawn Jenkin credits TouchMath with helping her realize her dream of becoming a teacher. Now she uses the same program to help students achieve their dreams. "It's something I can build and build and build," she insists. "It's a wonderful product. You guys keep up the good work."

With this kind of encouragement, Dawn, you can count on it.

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