So many of the people who come to the Kurtz Center are exasperated. They have been frustrated in their dealings with schools, and disappointed in the results from tutors and tutoring centers. Often the tutoring center has referred them to the Kurtz Center because the problems were beyond their scope. They have often invested in programs which offer a “quick fix”. Yet, with all that time and money invested, they were not seeing results. Over the years, we have helped people of all ages, children and adults, make the progress they have been seeking.
Here are just a few of our client’s testimonials.
After you have read some of the testimonials, contact us to see how we can help you make the progress you desire.
The first came from a mother whose daughter made great improvements with our programs
June 4, 2002
Before coming to the Kurtz Center, Heather would rather clean house than read. Gradually she picked up a poetry book, a comic book, and then a short novel. Best of all, these were all self-motivated. We noticed Heather’s physical stance and gait showed more confidence. Her conversations are more consistent with current activity and her use of descriptive words has increased. In general her maturity has arrived at a faster speed than in past months. She seems more eager about everything. Mostly we’d like to acknowledge the entire staff at the Kurtz Center for their fervent dedication to making the lives of these children brighter. The warmth we felt here will never be forgotten. ~Linda Knight
This came from a 19 year old young man named Michael.
The End Adolescence brings about life changing decisions. One wrong choice and life begins on a bleak and dark trail. One right decision, like the Kurtz Center, can open doors to a whole new world full of ideas and knowledge.
Through the past four months I have been able to develop my writing skills to a higher level. I have learned how to express myself with words. Long gone, are the days of staring at a blank screen trying to convey my thoughts, with no avail. Much appreciated are the days when my thoughts flow onto paper with the slightest of ease. I’m most appreciative about the confidence boost I received. I believe that now, with tools that I have been given, I can take on the world. It is also nice to be a part of so many wonderful people’s lives. Working one on one for a couple of hours a day, you get to know that person.
I very much enjoyed my time at the Kurtz Center. The people will be missed, much more than the endless paragraph by paragraphs. It is also difficult to explain everything I learned. Every day I will find out something new and attach it to my list of tools.
I thank all of you for helping me become the student I always wanted to be.
~ Michael Porta
J.W. was referred by a school friend who had been at the Kurtz Center for treatment. He still came in very worried and tense. Worried because he was afraid we would find out he was “just dumb” and nothing could be done and tense because of that and because anything to do with school and testing had always been hard. He bailed out after three hours and didn’t want to come back. Eventually he did and after the treatment, when he graduated, he read the following to a room full of teary eyed people.
Learning to learn – J.W. 6/17/02
I first started to have some trouble in about second grade, I remember because, I went to summer school. I hated it, it was very hard for me to learn and pay attention in class. My attention span was at two seconds till I caught myself doing something else. I would try to pay attention as hard as I could but, with no avail. This problem progressed as I got older. I went on almost all of the meds. for ADD that a person could take. The medication would help me a great deal but, I would end up getting frustrated easily, and become very driven in my work. My reading and writing was very poor. I probably was on about a second grade reading and writing level, my self confidence was very small and I thought I was legally stupid or retarded. In sixth grade my first report card was three “F”, two “D”, and a “C” by that time my parents got a tutor and he helped me a lot even though I hated it and him. By the end of the school year my grades were outstanding for me (2.5). In eighth grade I started slacking off and cheating and getting into trouble. I really didn’t care what grades I got. The principle put me in remedial math and reading classes, in these I joked around. I thought it was cool because, you did not get any homework or projects to do. When I got into ninth grade they had me do a summer program to help me with reading and writing. In ninth grade I also started to get into some serious trouble like I got into a gang, and I was in a lot of fights. I became, very disrespectful to teachers: school became just a place to hang out with my friends. I would skip class and go roam the hallways stealing peoples calculators, CD players etc. and sold them to the other kids. When I went to class I would cheat and not pay any attention to the teacher. My parents took me out of school and I started to work on getting a G.E.D. in the meantime I went to treatment and got a job. Treatment has given me a new life and made, me think about my future and what I wanted to do with it but, at the sometime I felt limited because, of my schooling so my parents brought me here to the Kurtz Center. I was excited and also scared too. At the Kurtz Center I felt proud of myself right off the bat because I saw some major improvements. I feel like the Kurtz Center has helped me feel smart and has let me know that I’m worth it and that to me is priceless. The teachers have been very generous to me and helped me turn my life around.
Thank You! Special thanks to Mrs. Caroline, Mrs. Karen, Mrs. Mal, Mrs. Bridget and everyone who worked with me. ~J.W.
Bill and Barbara’s Letter
December 21, 2000
Dear Gail, As parents of a daughter with undiagnosed but suspected ADHD and related learning disabilities, we rode an emotional roller coaster for a number of years in attempting to not only identify her disability, but to also seek the appropriate treatment. When we finally sought medical treatment for her, we found that there was virtually no direct communication between the physician and the school system. Hence, the necessary individually monitored accommodations in the school setting were never implemented. In response to our requests for the school system to take note of our daughter’s difficulties, the educators and administrators simply disclaimed any evidence of this troublesome point in question. When we were beginning to believe that there was no hope for remediation of the problems, the Kurtz Center offered us not only hope, but the first light at the end of the tunnel. It was with great relief that we learned of proven methods to aid our daughter to overcome the obstacles to her academic success.
~Bill and Barbara Thomas
Skip had lots of problems, as you will see. Through his efforts, the right programs and experienced clinicians who “know their stuff” and how to present it (the Socratic Method), Skip’s whole world changed. From now on, everything in his future will be a set of endless possibilities.
September 25, 1995
To Whom It May Concern:
I have learned that language can be divided into two areas-expression and reception. Language expression concentrates on writing and speaking, while language reception focuses on reading and listening. Memorization is in a separate category of its own, but language and memorization share a common factor. In order to excel in these two areas, the human mind must be able to create mental pictures of information. I could not make these images, so I struggled with language and memorization.
Before arriving at the Kurtz Center, language expression seemed very jumbled to me. My thoughts used to fly into my head, but they would be lost at the same rate of which they came. In an attempt to catch these fleeting ideas, I spoke and wrote as fast as I could, but I was never fast enough. While writing a paper or presenting a case orally, I knew what I wanted to say, but I would get lost along the way. I would present one particular point of the argument which I grabbed from my mind’s clutter, but I would forget where to go from there. Often, when presenting my perspective on a topic, I would repeat the same issue a few times. Consequently, my class presentations rambled from point to point without any clear direction. I would ask the audience: “Is that clear?”, “Does that make sense?”, or “Do you understand?” I knew I understood what I was thinking, but my thoughts were too jumbled for anyone else to comprehend. Expressing my ideas and perspectives gave me great difficulty. However, receiving other people’s thoughts and beliefs proved even tougher.
Language reception was difficult for me. I always read slowly, I found reading boring, and I was not good at it; so I shied away from reading as much as possible. Back then, reading just meant the endless repetition of sounds which I had to play over and over in my head. I couldn’t picture anything I read. Sometimes, I would read a sentence four or five times, understand what every individual word meant, replay the sounds a few times in my head, and still never have a clue about the message of the entire sentence. Listening was a little better, but it too required the endless repetition of sounds without images. I always struggled to receive and comprehend any written or oral information. Furthermore, the limited information I did manage to grasp never stuck with me
In both reading and listening, my memory was insufficient. If I needed to remember a bunch of little details, I just made lists to play over and over in my head. In one of my biology classes, I had to memorize the unique characteristics of certain phyla. I would put the names of the phyla on a sheet of paper, and underneath the names, I listed the traits of the organisms for that particular phylum. For the next few hours, I said the lists over and over in my head until I could remember all the details. One week later, I would know less than half of that information about all the phyla. My memorization techniques provided me with inefficient, endless repetition. My mind lacked pictures, so I struggled to hold onto the information I memorized. The Kurtz Center helped me change this.
Midway through my enrollment at the Kurtz Center I first noticed a change. I had been skeptically trudging along in the program without noticing any vast improvement, until one day it hit me. All of a sudden, I simply said to myself- “this is what I want to express, so why donut I just say it.” Throughout the note, I kept on task and I never got lost in my thoughts. From that point on, language seemed relatively easy. I cant explain my transition because I just felt it, but now my ideas have structure and language involves images.
Communicating, reading, listening, and memorization are all infinitely better. When I express my thoughts, I see the broad picture, so I know how to go from point A to point B without getting lost along the way. For presentations, I gather my thoughts and say what I feel in a clear, concise, orderly fashion. I’m much more confident in the way I communicate, and the same can be said for my ability to read. Books and articles are now big pictures. I’ve read a few novels lately, and its as if my mind travels through different places. I see what the characters see, and I feel what they feel. I sound out words slower, but concepts stick in my images. I used to read words aloud at a fast pace, but I had to repeat these sentences over and over until I eventually understood the sounds. With less repetition and backtracking, my overall rate of reading is much faster, and I enjoy it. With imaging, I read more effectively, and I listen more efficiently. When I sit in lectures, my mind images as the teacher talks. Therefore, everything fits into a broad picture, concepts are permanently stuck in my brain, and I donut miss details while I try to write every fact down. I apply my new techniques of memorizing as I listen, so reviewing notes from lecture takes half the time it used to. I simply create images of the lecture material as I take notes. Then, when I need to recall the information later, I just place the picture back in my mind. For example, in order to relearn the phylum information from my past biology class, I would paint cartoons of organisms in my head. Each animal would belong to one of the various phyla. Then, on each of the creatures I would label the characteristics, which distinctly classify them in their phylum. These types of images are permanent, and memorization takes half the time it used to. As you can see, all facets of my language skills have drastically increased, and I own a great deal to this program.
Throughout the Kurtz Center program I received nothing but encouragement, comfort, and guidance. It is important to remember at all times that the employees are there to help you, and that you are there to help yourself. Any assignments or recommendations passed down to the students are done so to expand the mind. At no time is a therapist working against your best interest. Keep this in mind, and take advantage of this. Complete all of the work you are given, and go beyond what they ask. Any effort you put into the program ends up helping you ten fold in the long run. Keep in mind, the program is supposed to aid you outside of the classroom, so apply any concepts you learn inside the classroom to everyday life. Image as much as possible when you read, paint pictures to remember names, or use mapping to write thank you notes. Do whatever it takes. Finally, ask questions. Create scenarios where you’ve learned so that you may enhance your education. The Kurtz Center has so much to offer for whoever is willing to take advantage of it.
When she graduated we asked Lisa to write her thoughts and feelings about her experience at the Kurtz Center. This is what we received.
Can you imagine what its like growing up having a learning disability and not knowing about it? How do you think it would feel if you were reading a line of print in a book and the words were moving and floating around the page?
That was what it was like for me going through school. My teachers and parents always thought I was just a lazy student and didn’t try hard enough. “Try harder! Try harder!” they said. Didn’t they see I was trying? I couldn’t understand or remember things after I read them. They didn’t realize how hard it was for me to finish a chapter in a schoolbook.
The doctors all told me I had perfect vision. My teachers wanted to test me for gifted classes. So how come I flunked out of college at nineteen? Maybe I was lazy. Maybe I wasn’t trying hard enough, or maybe I just wasn’t as smart as they all thought. After fourteen years of struggling through school, I gave up. I was ashamed and had no self-esteem left. I thought that school had gotten the best of me. It was so hard to tell my parents that I wasn’t allowed to go back to college after the summer. I could see the disappointment in their faces. I was constantly asked by friends, family, and co-workers, “Why aren’t you in school?” I thought it was because I wasn’t smart enough. It was really because I had a learning disability and “Scotopic Sensitivity Irlen Syndrome(SSIS)”.
After being diagnosed by Denton Kurtz, there were two steps I had to take. First I went to Miami to get my glasses tinted. Next I started therapy sessions for remediation of my comprehension difficulties. No one will ever understand how much these two things have changed in my life. Now when I read a book with my new glasses, it’s a different experience because the words don’t move around.
The Kurtz Center taught me to image what I read. Now when I finish a paragraph, I don’t have to back and re-read it. The facts are all in my picture. I truly understand what I read and can learn from it. I also learned how to differentiate my left from my right more efficiently. Everything has been put into focus for me visually and mentally. I feel as though I have finally caught up. I have less headaches and less of a struggle. I read faster and it doesn’t exhaust me anymore. I can actually comprehend and enjoy what I read.
Most importantly I got to prove to myself and to everyone that thought I hadn’t been trying, that I wasn’t lazy or dumb. Finally, everything makes sense. The best thing of all is that the Kurtz Center gave me a second chance.
“THANK YOU … we are so relieved. You diagnosed exactly what the problems were and knew just what to do about them.”
~Kurtz Center Alumnus Parent
“The proof is in asking the children. David has nothing but positive things to say about the Kurtz Center”
“Michael came out of his shell socially at the Kurtz Center due to their kind and gentle ways of teaching a positive self image.”
“Because of the Kurtz Center, all of the barriers between myself and my career and life goals have been removed.”
“As a teacher, I see many students in high school whose problems have not been identified or addressed, and they have suffered so many years of frustration and confusion because they have been perceived as lazy or unmotivated when really, they have suffered from a l earning or processing problem that could have been addressed.”
“Coming to the Kurtz Center has been one of the best things I have done with my money.”
“When Todd started at the Kurtz center in May of ’96, he was reading at a 3rd grade level. When he finished, he was attacking words at a 10th grade level. What a joy to hear Todd reading billboards and bumper stickers as we drove down the highway. He’d never done that before in his life!”
“…[he]… is a different child today and we feel blessed that the Kurtz Center is helping him to realize his full potential.”
“The Kurtz Center training allowed [him] to continue in the honors program, achieving an “A” grade. His overall confidence and self-esteem has improved dramatically.”
“I feel that the Kurtz Center intervened at the most appropriate time in David’s life. His self-esteem was preserved and it basically saved his life.”
“We are so very, very thankful for the Kurtz Center and the help that our son has received there. His life has improved dramatically, in fact, he now does have a life, thanks to the Kurtz Center”.
“The Kurtz Center really does care for the individual. She shows more self confidence in her work, is more eager to learn and tackle previously difficult subjects…[her]…self-esteem has risen dramatically. Her reading has improved.”
“I do my homework by myself now.”
“Reports are easy to write.”
“Not only is he doing his homework without help, but he’s planned and organized his projects, worked independently on them, and turned them in EARLY-What a change!”
“Out of 45 kids my teacher said I got the only 100 on her spelling and vocabulary test.”
“Last year he was failing because he couldn’t complete his class work or turn in his homework-this year he’s finished his work independently, turned it in, and is getting A’s and B’s. His grades are finally reflecting how smart he is!”
The Hackley family had this to say:
March 27, 2002
Dear Gail and Denton:
I wanted to fill you in on Monique’s outstanding progress and than you and your staff for making her success possible.
When Monique came to the Kurtz Center in 6th grade, her reading skills were at 1st grade level. Monique had been in the XXXXXXX Public School system (XXXXX Elementary School) and had been diagnosed by the “school psychologist” as ADD and Dyslexic. After three years of frustrating “conferences” and inadequate SLD (specific Learning Disabilities) assessments in the public school system, Monique could not read or write at grade level yet her I.Q. tested at 140 and her verbal vocabulary was at high school level.
The public school SLD system was a disaster, taking her out of class putting her in a program with children who not only have learning disabilities but mental and emotional issues, only making things worse (she came home twitching like one of the other kids). The regular class “pod” system was even worse as Monique could not hear the teacher and the blackboards between the “pods” would fall down regularly. How could anyone learn in a “pod” with 3 teachers and 70 kids in one room?
During a “conference” her homeroom teacher, Ms. XXXXXX stated “maybe this isn’t the environment for her, you have the resources, maybe you should consider another school for her”. Cruel words, but true. The public school system regularly fails kids by their inability or ineptitude to develop curriculum and programs for the “kids that don’t fit”. Monique was a “system buster” and the public school system would not and could not fit her learning style.
In 3rd grade we placed her at XXXXXXXXX where she learned to read adequately but still only at a 2nd grade level. On the recommendation of Mrs. XXXX, the director of the school, we brought her to you and Denton for an evaluation.
Your Center changed our lives!
After a thorough evaluation and intensive testing, you and your staff designed an “immersion” program to bring Monique up to grade level and help her develop skills for enhancing her reading skills. This program could only have worked with your hard work and commitment to “fix” Monique.
After 6 months, Monique was at grade level and excelling in school!
You rekindled her learning light and taught her to love reading and writing.
I am writing to report that Monique is now attending a private college preparatory school (XXXXX, Winter Garden, FL) and graduates 8th grade in May. She is reading at 12th grade level and writing at college level.
Monique’s G.P.A. is 3.2 and she will be taking advanced placement Science, Honors History, Classical Literature and Creative Writing. Her math skills also improved and she is currently studying Geometry and Algebra I (high school level) and was a finalist in the School Science and Engineering fair. She is being considered for a Magnet Fine Arts program next year!
We could not have done it without you! You and your staff have our permission to share this letter with the world! We recommend your Center to everyone we meet with kids that “don’t fit”. You have a way of making the puzzle pieces work and the child learns to love school and enjoys learning!
A am also by means of this letter giving the Kurtz Center permission to use my letter as a recommendation and endorsement of the Kurtz Center and to provide copies and/or a web page copy for others to read. I place no restrictions on the Kurtz Center’s use of my letter.
I hope my letter will help others “get it” that these “system buster” kids can excel and the “learning environment” is the problem, not the child.
Thank you, Monique and Pattie Hackley.