NILD (National Institute for Learning Disabilities) Training Update

About a year ago we learned that Alyssa was behind grade level in many areas and struggling to learn to read. She needed educational therapy to allow her to catch up and continue learning well in the future. This therapy is very time consuming and expensive and we were advised not to leave the U.S. until she had completed the therapy–which would be about three years. We were devastated by this news because we certainly wanted to do what was best for our daughter and at the same time it seemed that God was moving us across the globe.

Within 24 hours of learning of Alyssa’s need, I met Jolene Cox at a summer VBS program. As we got to talking I realized that she must be a teacher at Good Shepherd School where Alyssa was planning to attend that fall. When I asked her about it she told me that she was the NILD therapist! In a sea of over 500 people God had connected the two of us. I asked her if it may be possible for me to provide Alyssa with the therapy. She shook her head insisting that the courses are master level courses and I would have to have a Bachelor’s degree in education to even take them. I was excited to tell her that I did have a Bachelor’s in education.

I began looking for training opportunities but found that they are only offered in the summer and the current year’s classes were already closed. Alyssa started therapy at Good Shepherd in the fall (2011) and I was able to sit in on many of the classes. I also began reading the course required textbooks in hope that I might be able to prepare myself to assume the role of therapist when the time came for us to leave. The time came very quickly as we went from 80% funding to 100% in just 10 days. We held out hope that I might be able to return to the States in the summer to receive the training. Armed with all the materials and books and Jolene’s email address, we headed to Papua New Guinea where I have been home schooling Alyssa and continuing the therapy.

As we began looking at opportunities for me to complete the training, it became obvious that it was going to be too cost prohibitive. I also wasn’t sure I could fly around the world and get over jet lag quick enough to take Master level courses. I was talking to the director of education for Ukarumpa and he was interested in the program. He asked if I had looked into whether or not training was being offered in other countries. Later we found out that there was a course being offered in Manila, Philippines.

At first I was very afraid of the idea of traveling by myself to an unknown country. I decided it was just too much, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it and what it would mean to my ability to provide Alyssa with all that she needs. Also, if I completed the training this summer, I would be able to take the level two training next summer so that I would be prepared to move forward with the next stage of therapy. I have been given great resources and help but without more training, I don’t know what I will do next year. I decided that I should try to move forward with this even if it is scary.

As I began asking around, I found out there is a guesthouse operated by a missions organization right next door to the college where the training is being offered. I also found out that the tuition is less for the course overseas than it is in the States and the travel and boarding expenses are significantly less. In fact the whole training is less than half of what it would cost me in the States. I would also be primarily flying north, so I shouldn’t have as much jet lag. I also found out that I can get escorts from our mission to meet me at the airport and get me to where I need to be and that I can get by with English in Manila.

At this point Todd told me to move forward. He is sure he can hold down things at home while I am gone for two weeks. He wants to see me get the training I need to be confident that Alyssa’s education is not lacking due to our move across the world. Our school in Ukarumpa does not offer NILD because they have not had the resources to send anyone to training.  The principal at the school here in Ukarumpa is, however, very interested in the training. It may be possible that I could use this training to work as an NILD therapist within the school in the future which would allow Alyssa to return to school full time and allow more students to benefit from the program.

We had a small amount of money set aside and were hoping that it, along with a tax return, might be enough to at least get me going toward paying the costs. When our taxes were completed, however, we found that we weren’t receiving a refund. We actually owed money, more money than the small amount we had. So we knew there was no way we could pay for this on our own. We began to pray, “God if you want me to do this, you’ve got to make it very obvious by providing the finances.” The very next day, a family called us up and said they wanted to finance this opportunity! How much more obvious can it get? So we began making plans for me to go to the training in the Philippines.

At first the planes looked full (flights are limited), but we have now booked airline tickets and housing. I am a little fearful of traveling by myself to a city of 18 million people in a country I don’t know, but I also know that is what God is asking me to do so he will be with me.

Thank you so much for supporting us in this transition. We know that God has great plans for Alyssa and this is an opportunity that He can use for His glory and Alyssa’s growth. We value your prayers as we walk this road and seek to follow what God has called us to.



2 Responses

  1. I love how God works! He will give you continue to pour out his strength and courage on you!

  2. Cathy,
    How delightful to see God provide and lead you to a training nearby. I want to be praying for your solo travel on the exact dates that you will be gone (the end of May is all I found in your April newsletter). Praising God with you as He meets all the needs of your family.

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