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Swift School
Success with dyslexia starts here
The World Needs Dyslexic Thinking: Bess's Message
Kraig Doremus

Bess’s message to current Swift School students is that they are special, unique, and wonderful and that the world needs their type of thinking – dyslexic thinking.

Sadly, Bess’s early academic experience, which took place in a local public school, was marked by difficult moments. Bess’s time in kindergarten and first grade at a public school was characterized by frustration, confusion, and even heartbreaking words that no student should ever have to hear.

“My teachers thought I wasn’t putting in effort,” said the high school senior many years later. “They didn't understand me, and even the principal thought I was lazy. She told my teachers that when I would not write, to put an “F” on my paper and move on. The next year, we learned I was dyslexic, and my teachers wanted to help, but they did not have the tools.”

After receiving her diagnosis, Bess completed first grade at the public school before transferring to Swift, where her life and academic journey would undergo a 180-degree transformation. Such a change was driven by two factors: a nurturing environment and Orton-Gillingham-certified faculty who were both caring and compassionate.

“When I started at Swift in the second grade, I could write no more than a few words, but by the end of the year, I wrote an entry paper, and I knew things were improving. Once I could write more than a sentence, I felt like I could do more, and my confidence soared.”

Upon setting foot on Swift School's campus, Bess discovered a profound truth: dyslexia would not confine her identity.

“I learned that my dyslexia does not define me. My teachers taught me that I can do anything I put my mind to; I may have to take a different route. Now, I don't feel ashamed of my dyslexia.”


Bess attributes her achievements and early academic evolution at Swift to her second-grade teachers – Mrs. Menshon and Mrs. Beck. According to Bess, these two educators devoted individualized attention to her, a noteworthy detail that she fondly recalled even more than a decade after her days in their classroom.

Bess is now a high school senior who is heavily involved with her school’s theatre program, having starred as Trunchbull in Matilda and Ms. Mary Sunshine in Chicago. Bess fondly reminisces about her middle school experience when she spent significant time with Mrs. Felix, who now serves as Swift School’s Orton-Gillingham Fellow.

Bess and Mrs. Felix developed a rapport in the classroom when Mrs. Felix explained the Latin roots of words and the history of words. “I really enjoyed learning the way Mrs. Felix explained the history,” Bess said. “The lessons sparked my interest in Latin. I took three years of Latin in high school, and I am now a teaching assistant for one of the Latin classes.”

Bess’s time at Swift helped her discover how to decode words and sentences, which in turn instilled in her a newfound confidence as a writer and avid reader.

The former Swift student has big plans for her future, as she is applying to area colleges with the goal of becoming a musical therapist.

Swift helped Bess regain her confidence and learn to self-advocate, something she wants to ensure current Swift School students understand.

“Swift gave me my confidence back,” she said. “I can read and write, even if that means listening to a story or typing. I learned to speak up for myself. If I don't understand something or need help, Swift taught me that it's okay to ask for help. I encourage Swift’s students to advocate for themselves and never be afraid to ask for help or accommodations.”

Help your student regain their confidence like Bess and be proud to be a dyslexic thinker. Click the link below to connect with admissions and fill out an inquiry form.