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Adrian's Story

Adrian's Story

When Ms. Thomas first reached out to AFC in 2017, her son Adrian was in 8th grade but could not read or write and had not passed any of his state exams. “Even his pediatrician told me that I should have him learn a trade because there wasn't much hope for him,” said Ms. Thomas.

Ms. Thomas knew her son was smart, but was convinced he was just a slow learner, and she had initially resisted an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for him, concerned that special education classes would be isolating and limit Adrian’s potential for success. Instead, she would spend long nights poring through his lessons with him, hoping to help him catch up.

“Every day of my life, my teachers told me that I was smart, but also that I was very lazy,” Adrian recalls. “However, they didn’t know that I woke up early in the morning and went to sleep late at night, constantly studying the same material over and over again only to end up with mediocre results. It has been frustrating to be labeled as being stupid for not having the ability to read well.”

With the help of AFC’s education attorneys, Ms. Thomas learned more about the types of services and supports that would allow Adrian, who was eventually diagnosed with dyslexia, to learn in a way that best fit his needs. AFC successfully sued the DOE to secure compensatory tutoring services for Adrian, which helped him learn to read at grade level and develop into a gifted writer.

When the pandemic forced schools to transition to remote learning, Adrian — who was on track to graduate from Bard High School’s combined program with both his high school diploma and an associates’ degree — found himself struggling to complete his coursework. He found virtual learning unengaging and difficult to follow, and his work suffered from limited interaction and encouragement from his teachers. When his guidance counselor suggested that perhaps Adrian should put his college efforts on hold, Ms. Thomas got back in touch with her AFC education attorneys. We helped her work with the school to modify requirements and re-engage her son, and Adrian now looks forward to graduating soon and starting his four-year college degree at John Jay.

“Here is someone who did not achieve any academic success until he received the appropriate services,” said Ms. Thomas. “Adrian is very ambitious and he thrives on keeping busy.  He is a perfect example of what children can achieve with proper support.”