The Dyslexic Group
About Our Team And Our Story
Meet One Of The Best Dyslexia Teams In The Field
Alanna T. Pugh, MS
Executive Director, Barton Tutor
Alanna graduated from Northern Arizona University with advanced degrees in Speech Pathology & Audiology and Chemistry. She worked for Intel Corporation for 30 years and was a Director in the Worldwide Supply Chain at the time of her retirement.
“You can imagine my delight when I witnessed my 6-year-old son reading and writing his letters. As any mother would be, I was so impressed with my little boy. Kindergarten and 1st grade were no problem for Shaun. He did well in school, his teachers loved him, and all seemed right with the world for me as a parent. In 2nd grade is when I started noticing there was a problem as I discovered Shaun had merely memorized the books, I read to him as a child but could not distinguish words or sounds. His writing was lovely when he copied it from a book or the board, but he had no idea what it said. Coupled with this his 2nd grade teacher who quite frankly was terrible to him I knew that we were in for a rough ride when it came to school for Shaun.
It wasn’t until many years and many struggles later that I did my own research and determined that Shaun might have dyslexia. I addressed it with school administrators and teachers but without success. The schools either had no one who had any experience in teaching someone with dyslexia or as in with one principal who called me “a hysterical mother” didn’t seem to really care. According to them, he was after all only one child and they had 20 others in the classroom so customizing a learning environment for him was out of the question.
The breaking point for me was as I was meeting with his High School Special Education Director and was told I needed to face facts; “Shaun would never graduate HS and he should just become a welder”. I have no problems with welders, but I knew my son and I knew that was not what he wanted for his life. Following that episode, I found a school that could support Shaun and his learning differences. He regained his self-esteem, did well in school and graduated with honors. I am so proud of him!
Although I never intended to become a Dyslexia advocate (I was busy with 2 other children and a full time career) I did. I learned so much about what children and parents need when they have a child who has dyslexia or any other kind of learning difficulty. Not only does the child and parent experience being “beaten-down” by the education system but learning becomes a burden and a chore rather than a joy.
I bring a special trio of knowledge and skills to The Dyslexic Group. I am parent of a dyslexic; I am tutor for dyslexia students and finally an advocate for our education systems and educators who want to make a difference in children and adults lives. They can make dreams come true for the people they serve and I want to be part of that.”
– Alanna Pugh
Shaun P. Aguilar
Executive Director, Barton Advanced Tutor
Shaun, a dyslexic himself, is a Certified Advanced Barton Reading & Spelling System Tutor. He is also trained in Lindamood-Bell LiPS, Visualizing & Verbalizing Foundations of Sounds and Handwriting Without Tears.
“I knew something was different about me pretty early in my elementary school years. I would see the other kids easily spell the words my teacher gave on weekly basis. Their papers were returned with smiley faces and mine just had red marks all over it. My only reaction to any spelling or reading was pure fear.
As I progressed through school the situation just got worse. I was being moved from class to class, different resources rooms, and eventually ignored. My mother tried to work with the schools and even hired tutors but to limited success. She finally figured out through her own research that I probably had dyslexia. Unfortunately, the school systems didn’t understand what I support I needed so frankly I didn’t get anything. I was just passed along each grade with an IEP that did nothing to help me. My self esteem was shot and I had given up. I figured I would never achieve the goals and dreams that I had for my life. It was a very dark point for me.
I am very fortunate to have a wife and mother that never gave up on me and they have always believed in my potential. The two of them encouraged me to get some tutoring to help with my dyslexia. During tutoring, I learned that nothing was wrong with me I just learned differently.
As an adult I went through the Barton Reading and Spelling System. I had finally found a program that makes sense and I began to see results right away. I felt more possibilities open up to me and I knew I wanted to help others like me. I decided to change career paths and devote my life to working with other dyslexics. I love seeing the difference I can make in a child or adults life when they succeed in something that seemed impossible.”
– Shaun Aguilar
Siena, having passed through the Barton Reading & Spelling System under Shaun’s guidance, turned from student to tutor and is now working with The Dyslexic Group to teach other people with dyslexia.
“It took a long time for me to happily and confidently tell people that I am dyslexic. I even tell them I am glad that I was born this way. My dyslexia is such a huge part of my identity, that without it, I wouldn’t be myself.
My educational journey began as a disaster and remained that way until college. I remember being so confused with how my peers knew what sound belonged to what letter. I would write these amazing stories that I felt had so much detail, but I later found out that it was just a collection of random letters on a page. I am also left handed, which meant craft time (the only fun part of school) was ruined when the right-handed scissors would destroy my projects. Everyday I tried my very best to do well because I wanted to so badly. My effort was always knocked down by teachers telling me that I “don’t try hard enough”and that I needed to “pay attention”. Any creative effort I made to help myself was scolded with “you need to do what you’re told”. My confidence was beaten down to nothing and my perseverance became the only thing that I wouldn’t let the teachers take from me.
My first experience with a tutor was nice, but she wasn’t a dyslexia specialist. I am grateful for her efforts, but the help I received from 2nd to 4th grade was pretty useless. My amazing Mom searched and struggled for years until she finally found help. Fast forward to high school and a whole lot of school induced trauma later, I finally received Barton Reading and Spelling intervention from Shaun. My younger brother is also dyslexic. We both blossomed for the first time in our educational lives with tutoring. I graduated highschool with honors and a Cosmetology license, though becoming a tutor proved to be my dream job, not hair.
From the moment I started tutoring, I knew I wanted to be a tutor. I even met Susan Barton when I was in high school at one of her conferences. I decided to attend Pima Community College, which has been a life changing experience and obtained an Associates of Liberal Arts Degree. I have goals to study at a university, focusing on systemic inequalities in education for all students with dyslexia and dyslexics who come from low-income or none English speaking homes. My main goal is to provide all dyslexic students with a fair chance, and to help them be proud of being dyslexic. I am currently working towards becoming certified in Barton Reading and Spelling, Lindamood-Bell LiPS and Visualizing/Verbalizing, Foundations of Sounds and Handwriting Without Tears.“
– Siena Coronado
The Deep Roots To The Dyslexic Group
“The Dyslexic Group is a family-owned business that is deeply rooted in our own family’s history. We come from a long line of educators, so it is upon their shoulders that we stand today. Rosemary Castillo Timmons, Alanna’s mother and Shaun’s grandmother was a teacher and a reading specialist. Unfortunately, she died before Shaun was two, so she was unable to help with his reading difficulties, but her legacy is one of the primary reasons that Shaun and I decided to open The Dyslexic Group.
Rosemary had a firm belief that reading was not only an important skill but an essential one. She believed it was a way to achieve your dreams and we share that belief at The Dyslexic Group. Our mission is to provide our students and their parents with the knowledge and skills to be able to navigate the life challenges that come with dyslexia. We are constantly working to provide the best individualized academic therapy programs for each of our students utilizing proven methods to achieve optimum results.”
– Alanna T. Pugh, Executive Director