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Essay by Ryan R.

posted Oct 14, 2009, 11:50 PM by Carl McGrath   [ updated Mar 30, 2011, 8:00 AM ]

Bryan came for treatment when he was 7 years of age.  His parents were concerned that he was reading and writing at levels well below his peers in the 1st grade.  They wanted 1) a diagnosis, 2) help with increasing Ryan’s literacy skills, and 3) an opinion about the advisability of retaining Ryan in 1st grade.  Following six months of CLARA Therapy, Bryan had finished 1st grade without being retained.  Three years later, his mother sent a copy of the following essay, “My American Hero” written by Bryan at age 10 years:


“My American hero is a man named Dr. McGrath.  He is not a soldier or he didn’t fight in a war but, [sic] he taught me how to read.  I use to not like school because I could not read very well.  My mom took me to a lot of doctors and they did a lot of test [sic] on me and they could not figure out why I could not read.  Then my mom found a doctor in Watkinsville.  This was Dr. McGrath.  He tested me and he knew right then why I could not read.  He started reading with me everyday.  It was not always fun and sometimes he could be kind of ruff [sic] on me.  I finally got it and now I like to read.  I have really good grades and I am very smart in school.  I don’t get to see Dr. McGrath any more and I miss him.  He will always be very special to me.  Without him I don’t think I would ever like school.” 

Dr. McGrath’s reply to Bryan:
Dear Bryan, 

Thank you for everything you wrote in “My American Hero”.  I especially liked your honesty about how you used to not like school because of the difficulty you had with reading.  When you first came to my office three years ago, I noticed how smart you were even though you couldn’t read the books other students in your class were reading.  I also noticed that you had a lot of courage.  You were brave enough to begin tackling the job of learning to read even though you were very afraid it would not be possible.  Your bravery reminded me of Luke Skywalker.  Many times you looked up at me with tears in your eyes and sobbed, “I can’t do it!”  And I told you, “It’s OK to cry, Bryan, but you have to do it anyway.  Just let go [like Luke did] and do it anyway.”  And you did!!  Time after time, day after day, you did the work even when you were afraid.  That’s real courage.  I loved watching you do it.


Thanks for giving me the privilege of seeing you hang in there and do it!

Your friend,
Carl McGrath
P.S. Bryan, you are my “American Hero”!