Jenny Barnstable, Parent and Speech-Language Pathologist, Ingham Intermediate School District
“Two of my three children are dyslexic, although they present differently – they both struggle greatly. It became obvious to me that the manner in which our school systems help children learn to read is not geared toward a child who is wired differently. When you are facing something like dyslexia, you don’t automatically know the best way to help.
Through research I found something called ‘Orton-Gillingham.’ Through more research, I found Gretchen, who is qualified and experienced in providing individual instruction in the Orton-Gillingham methodology. We rapidly saw improvements. My children have always been involved in tutoring; we knew from the very beginning that they were struggling. They did benefit from the tutoring, but until we shifted to Gretchen and Orton-Gillingham, the gains were not substantial.
She has worked side by side with me in figuring out how to help my kids and how to best advocate for them. She works with their teachers so that what she is doing can be understood and hopefully followed by the classroom teachers as well. When you find yourself in a place where you realize that your child learns differently, it is heartbreaking and lonely. However, with Gretchen on your team, you will navigate through dyslexia and get the best possible outcome for your child. I cannot endorse Gretchen enough. Just know that you are on the right path and things will get better.”
26-year-old male client who participated in Orton-Gillingham sessions remotely
“Reading has been a lifelong struggle for me, but I’ve always had the courage to keep working on it to try to get better at it. At 25 years old, I started working with Gretchen, who used the Orton-Gillingham reading approach with me. I tried a lot of different ways to boost my reading level over the years, and when I got introduced to this type of reading approach, in only a very few months, it took my confidence and my reading skills to a whole new level. It’s a great inspiration, because every session we have, she always has a positive influence and always tries to help me get better in every single aspect. She’s a great person to be around, and at the end of every lesson, I always want to come back for another lesson. It’s just a blast to be in a session with her, from learning, to being able to talk with her.”
Tabitha Moore, M.P.H., former adult client who participated in Orton-Gillingham sessions remotely
“I met Gretchen in some very unusual circumstances. As we sat chatting, it came up that I was in college, a fact I was extremely proud of because I had always been told I would never amount to anything. I explained to Gretchen that I really struggled with reading and writing. Unbeknownst to me, this was her field of expertise. I described my long journey over the years, the heartaches I had endured due to this ‘disability.’ I explained that I had tried many reading programs over the years with very little success. Several years prior, I had battled for accommodations to pursue my chosen career in EMS and lost the battle to have appropriate accommodations for the national standardized exam. All of this had led to a lifetime of self-doubt and some pretty prickly walls to say the least.
Gretchen offered her services and I politely declined since I lived in Wyoming. She quickly said she would be happy to work with me via Skype. Recognizing how guarded I was about the topic, she put the spin, ‘I want to study your brain.’ I was instantly intrigued and agreed. The following week when I had returned to Wyoming, Gretchen and I started meeting twice a week via Skype. Within weeks she realized that I would be a challenge in many ways, but she rose to the challenge.
I had spent so many years ashamed and hiding my dyslexia. I had memorized an entire library worth of words. Gretchen quickly realized that using ‘real’ words was not going to work in teaching me to sound out the words that I was unfamiliar with. She rose to this challenge by making up many words, forcing me to break down each word and sound them out. Over the year I spent in this program I went from nervous about reading, spelling and even writing papers to being confident and setting new goals that I had always secretly wanted but never felt I could achieve.
Gretchen changed my life in so many ways, not only on the academic field but also in my confidence. My spelling and writing improved from what could be considered elementary to at least college acceptable. I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree and went on to get a Master’s degree. I firmly believe I would never have gotten a Master’s degree if it had not been for this program and Gretchen’s willingness to bring a challenge to the table for me. She is truly talented at meeting people where they are making them feel safe to open up and to learn.”
Virginia Rutan, M.A., Learning Disabilities & Brain Injury Specialist/Student-Athlete Liaison
Michigan State University’s Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities
“Combining high-energy, passion for her work, and a sincere commitment to her students’ progress, Gretchen Paige is a phenomenal educator, mentor, and colleague. Michigan State University has long known Gretchen as a former Learning Specialist with Student-Athlete Support Services and a Liaison to the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities. Gretchen is extremely dedicated to the holistic development and self-advocacy of the diverse learners she serves.
Creating a welcoming and individualized environment is critical in the assessment of each learner’s documentation, current level of functioning, and areas of academic strength. Through this customized learning approach, Gretchen determines appropriate learning plans which may involve reasonable accommodations and assistive technology. She connects learners with appropriate forms of assistive technology to maximize their academic abilities and independence.
Gretchen demonstrates a true commitment and passion for her profession and in serving diverse learners. She believes in maximizing her learners’ abilities and guiding them toward the achievement of their educational and personal goals. Therefore, I am honored to endorse Gretchen Paige and offer only the highest recommendation for Customized Learning.”
Ann Hoffman, Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education, CCAS, Michigan State University
(My supervisor when employed as an Academic Advisor for the College of Communication Arts and Sciences)
Having worked in education for 30 years, I have had the pleasure of working with a wide variety of people. The energy and enthusiasm with which Gretchen approaches working with students makes her a star among her peer group of professionals. She is committed to building bridges between academics and resources to best meet the needs of every student. Gretchen enjoys the rich diversity of students and developmental skill levels, and she successfully utilizes a holistic, student-centered approach to help each student make the most of their educational experience.
Jim Pignataro, Executive Associate Athletics Director, Michigan State University
(My supervisor when employed as a Learning Specialist for Student-Athlete Support Services)
“What impressed me about Gretchen Paige is her ability to get the best out of all types of learners. She is a trusted colleague and professional, and has a deep understanding of her students’ educational needs. Her ability to think outside the box to create learning strategies is unmatched.”
Adreian Payne, 2014 Michigan State University Graduate and Former NBA Player
“I worked with Gretchen Paige and I think she was a great fit for me. I needed someone who had patience, understood the way I learned, and could bring out the best in me. I would highly recommend her to other students who are looking for customized learning assistance.”
Adreian Payne Overcomes to Achieve Academic Success – MLive.com, 12/10/12
Adreian Payne Not Shy About Telling How He Hurdled Learning Disability – Detroit Free Press, 2/24/13