Hi! I’m Tisa and I want to share our So Happy to Learn (SoHTL) Journey with all of you. I hope our story inspires you and gives you a glimpse of what to expect from this wonderful learning journey with Mrs. Brown!
My son Santi has Down Syndrome and speech apraxia. In 2018, a friend of mine who also has a son with Down Syndrome, recommended So Happy To Learn Program with Mrs. Brown. I checked the website and noticed that she was very successful in teaching a number of children with the same diagnosis as my son. I liked her teaching philosophy of “Teach not test” and decided to go ahead and join the online program. It is one of the best decisions we have made for our son.
2018 – Beginning
We started the So Happy to Learn Program in May of 2018. Santi was just three and a half years old. At that time, he did not talk but signed. He couldn’t color, scribble or write. He was enrolled in a mainstream school and he was the only child with special needs. I was hopeful that SoHTL program will help him.
I felt overwhelmed at the beginning of the program since there were so many activities. I didn’t know where to start and how I would conduct a session. I feared that I might not do the program correctly. I kept putting the sessions off until one day I decided to bite the bullet and just give it a try. If things didn’t work out, I could always communicate with Mrs. Brown via the Teaching Group and ask for her help and guidance.
We had our first session and sure enough, I had a lot of resistance from Santi. He didn’t want to read any of the books. He didn’t want to scribble and hold the crayon. He didn’t want to hold the pointer. After 15 minutes, he escaped and he didn’t want to go back. That was the end of our first session. Although it wasn’t what I expected it to be, I was still able to get to teach him with the word cards and the matching activity from the Happy Sheets.
The first few weeks was truly a challenge. I had to build my patience and channel my inner Mrs. Brown. Santi liked to escape, throw the pointer and crayons every time I gave them to him. I had to ask for advice from Mrs. Brown and she helped me. I implemented the tips she provided and things began to look brighter.
After a month of doing SoHTL, I saw progress in Santi. The duration of our sessions increased from 15 minutes to 30 minutes. There was less escaping and throwing of writing implements. He was learning and even read all ten word cards that we were working on.
We were fortunate to have a one on one session with Mrs. Brown when we made a trip to California in August of 2018. The session truly made an impression on me and I continued to do the sessions with Santi regularly.
2019 – Pause
In 2019, I was not able to do SoHTL sessions regularly with Santi since we spent several months of intensive therapies for his speech, PT and OT. When Santi wasn’t too tired, we would do reading and writing activities from the SoHTL program. Although it wasn’t regular, I still saw improvement in his writing and reading.
2020 – Restart
In 2020, when the Covid pandemic started and we had to stay at home due to the lock down, we had more time to do SoHTL. We would have 45 minute sessions five times a week. I also started becoming active in the Teaching Group. I asked more questions. I watched the videos of Mrs. Brown and other Moms to learn from them. I shared what worked for Santi and the progress he made to inspire other Moms.
Putting in the work regularly has truly made an impact on Santi’s progress that it made me realize that I should continue doing this even after the lock down and this is what we are currently doing.
(start of Independent Work)
2022 – SoHTL Success
We are going on our fifth year with SoHTL and I’m happy to say that Santi has grown so much and learned so much because of Mrs. Brown and SoHTL. He can read, write, spell, draw, color, carry a simple conversation and is now on his way to writing expressively. His speech has also improved because of this wonderful program. Not only has Santi blossomed but I also benefited from this program by learning to be a better teacher and mom to my son. I learned to “Teach not Test” and to always look at “Progress over Perfection”.
I highly encourage you to join the SoHTL program. This is a one of a kind program where one will always have access to the teacher/creator for any questions, help and guidance.
Thank you so much Mrs. Brown for all that you do for all of us!