Cher is performing in Lubbock on Friday night. To most people, she is a music legend. But she is recognized in some schools for another distinction, Cher is dyslexic.
The Scottish Rite Learning Center estimates that 10% to 15% of the population suffers from some form of Dyslexia. If only more of them knew there's a gold mine out here just waiting to give those children a better chance in life. "I've often said we're the best kept secret in Lubbock, Texas, and the fact is that it is free continues to amaze me," says Doris Haney, Director of the Scottish Rite.
At the Scottish Rite Learning Center, there are never more than six kids in a class, and they meet for one hour a day, five days a week during the school year. Since 1974, more than 500 area children have received training from these classrooms, to return full-time to their own schools with a new sense of learning and a new understanding of what it means to be Dyslexic.
We think of Dyslexia as seeing letters reversed. But actually, Dyslexia is much bigger than that. It is a processing problem that makes it difficult for kids to learn to read, write, and spell when taught by traditional methods.
"The research has shown that the structure and the function of the brain of a dyslexic child is different than those that are not dyslexic," says Haney.
Does that mean they aren't as smart?
"No! They are probably smarter," says Haney.
Even so, Dyslexic children may confuse little words like to, for, and of, struggle with spelling, show a lack of interest in reading, and appear very disorganized.
"In English, I used to fail with 60's. Now, I make B's and A's," says Ryan Gilstrap.
Ryan is at Coronado High School all day now after slipping off to Scottish Rite every morning for two years. "They taught me all the prefixes and suffixes, so I know what all the words mean," says Ryan.
Do you think you could have improved that much on your own, just with age?
"No. There's no way," says Ryan.
"I was amazed at what they do! It's a thorough knowledge of the English language. He knows more about language and what words go here and there and how they're put together than most kids," says Cindy Gilstrap, Ryan's mother.
Ryan says with a better grip on language, now every subject is easier. "I thought that something was wrong with me, that I was under average, not very smart," Ryan says.
But it's not just his grades that have improved, Ryan's confidence level gets an A+.
"I'm not stupid. I can do whatever I want in my life. Nothing's holding me back. As long as I can get the material in the right way, I can do whatever I want," he says.