TUPELO, Miss. (WTVA) - Since he was diagnosed with dyslexia, Preston Thomas, 10, says he feels more comfortable at school after receiving the help he needs from the Regional Rehabilitation Center in Tupelo.
Preston is a fourth grader at Wheeler Elementary in Prentiss County. A year and a half ago, his mother, Amy Thomas, brought his brother to the Regional Rehabilitation Center to be tested for dyslexia. It was during the testing that Amy noticed something.
"We had to watch videos before he came and had to pick out what all symptoms according to the video," Amy said. "And so when I was looking at the videos and picking out all the symptoms [Preston's brother] had, I noticed that Preston had a lot of the same symptoms and more."
It was then that Preston was tested and told he had moderate to severe dyslexia. Since his diagnosis, Preston has been receiving therapy with Penny Grose.
"To me, I've been getting better ever since from last year and I feel comfortable with it and it's been more fun," Preston said.
"He's been a joy," Grose said. "It's been a lot of fun. Sometimes it's through trial and error, we just have to get to know each other and figure out each other and I want to know what helps Preston learn better."
Grose said she tries to find games that make learning more fun so that it is not always pencil, paper and books.
"You learn in a fun way," Preston said. "It helps me out a lot. Ms. Penny helps me quite a lot with my words that I'm trying to get out."
Amy said Grose has even helped by going to Wheeler Elementary to speak with Amy and Preston's teachers to discuss the different ways he learns best.
"This is my absolute dream job," Grose said. "When I came here and interviewed, I thought, 'Oh, this would just be wonderful!' I get to work with these students one on one and I get to watch their growth and see how they develop over time."
Amy said she is grateful for the services her son receives which come at no cost at all. After comparing prices through her husband's insurance, Amy discovered other facilities charge for testing starting at $500 and charge $55-100 for each session.
"We would've tried to have done whatever it takes to take care of your children, don't get me wrong, but it would've been a struggle," Amy said.
"We see a lot of gratitude because if insurance pays, it may not pay the long-time that they need," Grose said. "Or if they don't have insurance, they know that they can come here and get the services that they need and they are absolutely free."
To see more stories about how the Regional Rehabilitation Center is changing lives like the Thomas family, you can watch our Celebration of Hope Telethon.
It will air Sunday, November 11 from 1-3 p.m. on ABC-WTVA.