Chattanooga child overcomes illness and learning struggles to become nominee for Student of the Year

Exuberant and playful Danyel Turbessi is Chattanooga’s nominee for the nationwide LearningRx Student of the Year award.

It’s a nearly unbelievable achievement for the third grader who was gripped by frustration at the thought of learning until last year.

“When he was overwhelmed and frustrated, he completely shut down,” his mother Carmen says.

As a toddler, Danyel contracted tuberculosis which led to meningitis. The diagnosis left him paralyzed and blind. His mobility and partial vision eventually returned, but his illness left him with residual cognitive and processing issues.

Danyel’s disruptive behavior and reluctance to pursue learning caused problems in the classroom. For most of his formative school years, he felt overwhelmed with anything related to school. He was even suspended for his tantrums and outbreaks.

“He was frustrated, and so was I. I felt hopeless,” Carmen says.

Danyel was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia.

Doctors recommended medication to help him focus, but Carmen opted to address the origin of his troubles. She discovered LearningRx and the programs that could help Danyel, like cognitive skills training and ReadRx.

Just like in the classroom, Danyel threw tantrums at the thought of attending LearningRx. After a few sessions and encouragement from his trainer, he grew more comfortable and even started enjoying his training.

Danyel at a session with his LearningRx trainer.

His family is amazed by Danyel’s progress. Now, eight months later, Danyel tackles reading, writing and math with ease and excitement. Even at his young age, Danyel also recognizes his ability to combat stressful situations.

“I needed help. I knew I needed help because I could just feel it. I was angry and frustrated. I wanted to be able to face that.”

Carmen encourages any parent who feels hopeless and frustrated to call LearningRx.

As for Danyel… “I’m very happy. Frustration is out of my business now!”

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