“Impossible is just an opinion.”
This quote by Paulo Coelho perfectly resonates with the life of Jess Arce, a dyslexic woman who braved the struggles brought by her learning difference and decided to live and work with it until she finally achieved success.
Jess Arce, America’s Dyslexia Expert, is the Program Director of Lexia Learners and the COO of I Am NOT Dumb, Inc. Jess is a self-diagnosed dyslexic. Her mom was officially diagnosed Dyslexic by Yale in the 40s. And even if at a young age, Jess was already showing signs of dyslexia, her mom knew very little about what this condition was.
Fast forward to the future, Jess became a dyslexia tutor and she educated her mom, proving that despite the late diagnosis, adults can still get help with their dyslexia.
Another interesting part of Jess’ life is that she unknowingly married a fellow dyslexic. They raised four children, two of them were officially diagnosed with dyslexia and all four have a total of eight neurodiversity. Did Jess see this as a major problem? No. She chose to have a positive approach and little did she know, the uniqueness of her family would lead to the beginning of her success.
In 2009, Jess was working as a realtor when the need to help her children paved the way for the beginning of her homeschooling journey. She started tutoring her second youngest son, unexpectedly while they were living in Texas. The following year, their family moved back to Las Vegas, Nevada and Jess continued to homeschool him as well as her youngest son, who has severe dyslexia and profound dyscalculia, and six additional types of neurodiversity.
It quickly became apparent that she needed to homeschool his youngest son differently than she originally intended. This led her to use an Orton-Gillingham-based program and incorporate multisensory activities into their day. Within no time, his son was learning to read. A few years later, they moved to Southern California and they decided it was beneficial to homeschool her daughter who also has profound dyslexia and was struggling in traditional classes and her performing arts high school.
After helping her own kids learn, she inadvertently began helping others with the same struggles when two homeschool families asked Jess to help their children. That was when Jess realized her true calling in life and later decided to shift career. Jess began by teaching dyslexic students how to read and spell, and within a few years, she incorporated multisensory math tutoring into her services.
In 2005, Jess received certifications as a Dyslexia specialist, tutor and screener. She has an extensive background in using multi-sensory techniques including teaching preschoolers, serving as an elementary school substitute teacher, and teaching homeschool classes, as well as homeschooling three of her own children. A few years in, she began coaching parents to learn how to confidently homeschool their children with learning differences. Jess never imagined that from being a young lady who was unaware of why her brain seems to work differently than the others, she would become a major inspiration and a big help to her fellow dyslexics.
Today, Coach Jess focuses on training her staff of tutors with the use of Orton-Gillingham and multisensory techniques. She also gives time for speaking out publicly in order to increase awareness and help families experience harmony. Most of all, it is also a passion of Jess to give back and help close the gap by volunteering time to at-risk youths who have dyslexia. By doing this, she hopes to contribute to lessening the number of dyslexic individuals who end up in prison or becoming jobless and homeless. According to a study conducted by the University of Texas Medical Branch and Texas Department of Criminal Justice in 2001, 48% of the prison population have dyslexia. This could be prevented if these people, who probably are not even aware of their learning difference, will be given the right kind of education early on.
As a dyslexic, Jess believes that all people with learning differences deserve to have a bright future and she will continue to advocate for each and every one of them. If there’s one thing Jess wants people to learn from her success story, it is for people to learn how to thrive rather than just survive.
LEXIA LEARNERS LOUNGE
Jess Arce is a homeschool mom of four, a tutor for children & adults who struggle with Dyslexia & Dysgraphia and an all around entrepreneur. She is passionate about helping others understand dyslexia.