Dr. Alan Beaulieu
Tommy’s Secret Code by Dr. Alan Beaulieu
Tommy’s Secret Code tells the story of a young boy who learns
about his reading disability upon entering kindergarten.  The
story begins by highlighting Tommy’s frustrations and follows
with the interventions of a caring teacher who also deals with
reading difficulties. Although Tommy’s Secret Code is fictional,
the realities exist as to learning disabilities and the impact on
student achievement and self-esteem. Our educational system
identifies and provides support for children with learning
disabilities now more than ever. Yet, school districts still
graduate students who cannot read, students who feel limited
in language, confused as to their abilities, and shortchanged in
their education. We accept learning disabilities as being real,
but often shy away from the difficult discussions with students
about their struggles. Understanding and advocacy must
accompany interventions. Without them, students remain
perplexed and frustrated with instructional programming.
Tommy’s Secret Code provides the reader with handwritten
dictated passages from high school students with learning
disabilities. An evaluation offering interventions accompanies
the passages. The dictated passages in this story are real.
They tell of the successes and struggles of students with
learning disabilities. They represent the perseverance of the
authors and their desire to master the English language. We
only have to take the time to listen and discuss, not once, but
often and with conviction. Tommy’s Secret Code provides a
resource to teachers, parents, and especially students with
learning disabilities promoting understanding and advocacy.
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