Managing Dyslexia and Becoming a Well-Rounded Student

Whenever you speak with students at Xceed about why they chose to attend, there are usually a few reasons they give. Students are elite athletes involved in some type of extracurricular activity that needs the flexibility of a school that allows them to work at their own pace, or they may have a learning need that necessitates a more individualized education.

Owen O’Leary, a 15-year-old Miami native who attends the Kendall/Pinecrest campus, is no exception; however, he chose Xceed Preparatory Academy for both reasons. Owen is an athlete, active in BMX and motocross, and dyslexic.  

“We found out Owen had dyslexia when he was in almost the third grade,” stated Cristina, Owens’ mom. “So learning is a little bit more of a challenge and Owen benefits from the smaller, one-on-one environment at Xceed.”

“BMX and motocross also take a lot of our time during the week and on the weekend,” said Cristina. “A friend of ours heard about Xceed, so we attended a meeting out of curiosity, took a tour and that is how we got started.”

Before Xceed, Owen attended a traditional private school and his rigorous schedule made life a bit complicated when it came to attending BMX events.

After COVID hit, the BMX track in Miami closed, but things outside Miami were still running. So, Owen and his mom were driving to West Palm Beach for a clinic in the middle of the day.

“In his more traditional private school, he wouldn’t have been able to get out of class to attend these events,” Cristina stated.

While a flexible schedule is important to Owen, his favorite aspect of a hybrid education is that while he is taking classes online, he can still meet with his teachers on campus and get extra help if needed.

“Xceed is a lot nicer than any other online school,” said Owen. “You are working from home, but your teachers are always available either in person or virtually.”

“Also, all of my classwork is at my level, so it is geared to where I’m at academically,” stated Owen. “That is beneficial.”

Having some control over his education has also allowed Owen to incorporate his love of BMX directly into his class projects.

“With my mastery of knowledge projects, I have been able to focus on subjects such as the history of BMX and motocross,” Owen shared.

“When he can focus on what interests him, that is where we get the most information from him, the most work, the most input because it is something that important to him,” stated Cristina. “In a more traditional school, you don’t have that kind of flexibility.”

When Owen does need that little extra push to stay on track, his favorite English teacher, Mr. Wesley Baughman, is always there to help.

“I appreciate the way he engages with students and I just learn the best with him,” Owen said.

“We like Xceed because we know the teachers are always there if you need them,” stated Cristina. “But yet, they’re not on top of the student at all the time, so if he’s falling behind, which, you know, that happens, he can reach out at any point, and somebody will get back to us and be able to help catch him up or get him to the next level. We’ve been thrilled with the teachers and the curriculum. This year it’s a little more challenging, especially for a dyslexic person. But he’s getting through it.”

Making the switch to Xceed has helped Owen progress academically and with his outside interests.

“Switching to Xceed was better than staying at my old school,” Owen said. “There is a lot less stress at Xceed and being able to pursue interests outside of school help to balance and relieve the stress of school.”

“Owen certainly wouldn’t be where he is today without Xceed,” said Cristina. “Everything is important for the whole child, not just academics. The freedom of a hybrid education allows him to focus on being a well-rounded individual.”