Academic Interventions focuses on individual help with learning
© Culpeper Times
Through her new business, Academic Interventions, Kochli is able to assist students struggling with learning difficulties on a one-to-one basis.
“If a student is having trouble keeping up in reading, written language or math through Algebra I, I can help,” Kochli said.
Kochli is a licensed special education teacher and reading specialist and has had additional training in programs specifically designed for persons with dyslexia.
To many people, dyslexia conjures up images of people struggling to read because letters appear backward or out of order on the printed page. But it's much more than that.
The International Dyslexia Association (www.interdys.org) defines it as: “A specific learning disability that is neurological in origin…characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities...”
Common characteristics, according to the IDA include: late learning to talk, difficulty following directions, difficulty learning the alphabet, nursery rhymes or songs; difficulty in remembering the names or shapes of letters; misreading or omitting common short words; a weak memory for lists, directions or facts and being easily distracted, among others.
Other related learning disabilities include problems with handwriting, math, attention (ADD or ADHD), motor skills and organization.
Kochli is quick to point out that just because a child displays any of these characteristics, it does not mean he or she is dyslexic. However, she notes that if a child displays a number of the characteristics it might be time for an academic intervention.
“One of my own sons had a difficult time learning to read,” she said. “Advocating for him changed my life. I come from a family of teachers, but teaching didn't appeal to me. But I felt it was something God wanted me to do. It’s my mission field, but it's also my vocation.”
Kochli said reading is one area where dyslexia typically presents itself.
“Not being able to read can be devastating to self esteem,” she said. “However, a lot of people who have trouble reading are gifted in other ways. They may have phenomenal mechanical skills or artistic ability. Their brain is wired differently. They typically are very creative, out-of-the-box thinkers.”
Kochli has a bachelor's degree in social work from James Madison University as well as master's degree from Regent University in both human services counseling and special education – Learning Disabilities. She has taught at Liberty High School and Mary Walter Elementary schools in Fauquier County. She opened Academic Interventions in January.
“I prefer to work with individuals,” Kochli said. “I may take very small groups in the future, but I think an individual is better served.”
Kochli is trained in Orton-Gillingham methodology, a system that uses multi-sensory and phonetic learning.
“Whatever I do is within the parameters of that,” she said.
Kochli will work with children as young as 6 years of age and adults of any age.
“This is very rewarding,” she said. “I recently had the father of a little boy with whom I am working tell me he could see a difference in his son.”
Kochli said she likes staying plugged in to public education so she can keep abreast of what is going on in her field. She currently works at ChildHelp in Lignum.
“I would just like people to know that there is help for these learning disabilities,” Kochli said. “The disabilities have nothing to do with how intelligent you are. A person with dyslexia is using 'back roads' to read instead of taking the main highway. I want to be here to help those people.”
Name: Academic Interventions
Address: 315 S. West St.
Certifications: Wilson Language Instructor; Trained in Orton-Gillingham Methodology
Hours: By appointment