Ryan was adopted at a very young age. His father says he recognized Ryan’s ADHD early on because he shares his adopted son’s diagnosis. Unable to focus, Ryan fidgeted and interrupted classroom instruction. As a result, he ended up repeating kindergarten.
Ryan began taking ADHD medications in the third or fourth grade, with mixed results. In addition to ADHD, Ryan suffers from dyslexia: his processing issues cause him to add letters to words and jumble them up on the pages. It is impossible for him to read simple texts aloud.
In middle school, he struggled with English and language components. His social and emotional skills were hampered because, as Ryan says, “I’d space out and lose a thought while talking with a classmate … then later I’d be talking about another topic and they wouldn’t know what was happening.”
His family eventually enrolled him at Center Academy, a small school of approximately 50 students with learning differences and ADHD. There, Ryan came to understand his unique learning styles and appreciate the Academy’s small campus community and “outside the box” teaching strategies.
With his high IQ and strong work ethic, Ryan graduated from high school with a 3.33 GPA. While he met the criteria for Florida’s Bright Futures Scholarship (GPA, service hours and counselor recommendations), he did not have the SAT or ACT scores required to apply these funds toward his college education.
Transitioning to Beacon College in Fall 2014 was a natural “next step” for Ryan, both academically and socially. He likes the small classes and computer labs, and he benefits from the assistive technology of ALEKS (math) and Kurzweil (reading), and the unconventional teaching methods used by Beacon’s faculty. He plans to complete his B.A. in computer information systems in 2018 and eventually wants to start his own business, just like his dad.