From First Grade Failure to ADHD Success
What does the future hold for a child with a speech impediment, learning disability and hyperactivity? Marilee Rigg was told that her son’s future looked bleak.
In fact, the doctor who evaluated three-year-old Bryan warned her that he would probably not even get through junior high school. He said it would be difficult for Bryan to develop friendships since the child had a volatile temper, was constantly in motion and had a speech impediment that made him stammer and mispronounce words. He failed first grade twice and at age 8 could neither read nor write.
Refusing to place her son in first grade for the third time, Marilee found two
resources that enabled Bryan to overcome his disabilities and achieve remarkable success.
The first was Starpoint, a lab school at Texas Christian University, where remarkable teachers taught him how to find his strengths. He went from being unable to pronounce individual words to reading whole books, and saw that he was able to accomplish just about anything he wanted.
The other part of Bryan’s success was his mother’s discovery of the Feingold Diet and the elimination of the harmful synthetic additives that were behind many of the problems he faced.
After just one year at Starpoint he was able to return to a traditional school. Bryan recalls, “My mother took me off Ritalin, a drug I dreaded. It made me catatonic and unable to function. I lost my appetite and looked like I was suffering from rickets. She eventually put me on the Feingold Diet and it controlled my ‘problem.’ She warned teachers and coaches about the consequences of giving me the wrong kind of candy or Kool-Aid. My ‘hyperactivity’ and ‘attention deficit disorder’ came under control, but during pee-wee football games, my coach gave me candy bars (with synthetic additives) to turn me into a ‘maniac’ and win games.”
Marilee made sure there was always natural food in the house, and Bryan knew that if he ate the “wrong stuff” he would not be in control. His schoolwork would suffer, and he would not be able to get along with his friends. The downside was too high a price to pay.
Bryan recalls, “In high school I was an honor student in academics, All-State in Drama, All-State Running Back in Football and All-State Forward in Basketball. Few would have guessed I once suffered from a speech impediment, ADHD, and had failed first grade twice!”
Bryan went on to Yale and graduated with many honors and a triple major and was awarded a fellowship to study at Cambridge University. There, he earned both his master’s degree and doctorate and became a professor at American Military University.
Bryan graduated with honors from the US Marine Corps Officer Candidate School, speaks several languages, and traveled abroad, even spending a summer serving in a volunteer unit in the Israeli Army. He is internationally known as a World War II historian and has written several books on the topic. Today he is a successful financial planner.
Bryan’s newest book, Conquering Learning Disabilities at Any Age, is a description of his journey and how he used his learning differences to create a successful and accomplished life.
He is hopeful that it will help other families to find solutions that work for them.