Don't miss out on our latest courses & workshops!

Case Study: Gaston Christian School

Educational Therapy StrategiesLearning Differences

Key Programs

Case Study: Gaston Christian School

The Challenge

Gaston Christian School, located in Gastonia, North Carolina, observed a growing trend of students struggling with undiagnosed and diagnosed learning differences. 

Prior to using NILD (National Institute for Learning Development) methodologies, the school found that despite well-intentioned efforts, they weren't always able to adequately support these students, sometimes even struggling to retain their families at the school. This sparked a desire throughout their leadership team to be more inclusive and provide the necessary help for learners with differences.

“We had so many heart-wrenching conversations because we had to tell families, 'We're not the right school for you,'” 
  -Tina Cook PhD, Director of Cognitive Enrichment at Gaston Christian School 

The Solution

After exploring several options, Gaston Christian chose to partner with NILD to address the learning needs of their students. The school launched a dedicated Cognitive Enrichment and Support Department led by Dr. Tina Cook. The school utilized NILD to launch 3 core programs: 

  • Educational Therapy: One-on-one therapy for kids with diagnosed learning differences.
  • Discovery Reading Groups: Targeted reading intervention for grade-level groups.
  • Academic Coaching: Executive functioning skill-building and support for middle and high school students.


Having started with just 5 students in 2021, 3 years later, Gaston now serves 49 students in this program, has hired more staff to be trained in NILD therapies, and plans to expand and serve more students in the coming years. 

The Impact

Since introducing NILD, Gaston Christian School has seen remarkable results, including:

Increased Enrollment: Both from new families seeking support and greater retention of existing students with learning differences.


Many Student Success Stories: Students who once struggled and lacked confidence are now flourishing academically and personally. 


Gaston Christian Success Stories: 

Data-Driven Results: The school has used Woodcock-Johnson testing to track progress, demonstrating notable improvements for students in the program. 


From Academic Struggles to Big Dreams

Once discouraged and struggling academically, a 7th-grade student has blossomed within the NILD program. His grades have improved noticeably, and he now actively participates in discussions that he previously shied away from. His parents shared their heartfelt gratitude: “We were at the end of our rope...NILD has not only changed our son's trajectory but has given our entire family renewed hope.”


Overcoming Challenges, Building Confidence

A 6th grader with several diagnoses and limited vocabulary has gained fluency and confidence in her reading journey. Now a determined student, she exemplifies the power of building on strengths. Her creativity and strong memory allow her to find innovative ways to tackle reading challenges. With unwavering resolve, she's transforming weaknesses into opportunities for growth.


3rd-grade Teacher Testimonial

"The interventions that [student] received in her ed therapy sessions have given her the foundation to break down words, instilling confidence with phonetic sounds and patterns. This enabled her to decode words more efficiently and accurately. That confidence took her from being a struggling student who never wanted to be called on to read out loud to a reader who was volunteering to read aloud by the end of the year."


Grade Reading Comprehension Breakthrough

A 4th grader overcame significant reading comprehension challenges. In two years, they progressed from below-average to average skills, joining the top 90% of their peers!


Composition Skills Take Flight

A 2nd grader made remarkable writing gains in just one year, moving to high-average abilities and surpassing the standard for their grade level.


​​Overcoming Reading Hurdles

A 3rd grader demonstrated substantial improvement in reading fluency and decoding in one year, reaching average ability in these foundational skills.


Below Average to Average

A 2nd grader entered the program with below-average decoding and writing skills. In just one year, they achieved average proficiency in both areas, demonstrating remarkable progress.


Cognitive Barriers Overcome

Despite facing cognitive challenges, a 5th grader achieved a major milestone: they moved their overall reading ability from below average to average in one year.

Why It Works

"We sought solutions beyond traditional tutoring. Before, what we were doing for students was just giving them more school, more information. It was an exercise in futility because they have to learn differently,' explains Cook. “NILD's focus on cognitive change aligned with our desire for a lasting impact."

Gaston Christian credits their success to NILD's focus on:

Cognitive Change: Addressing the root causes of learning differences rather than just providing additional content.


Empowerment: Helping students discover their strengths and use them to overcome challenges.


Differentiated Approach: Therapy, group work, and academic coaching offer multiple layers of support.

In Tina Cook's Words: "We want to see how we can empower the students to become confident they can become the students we believe they were created to become. NILD gives us the opportunity to do that because it is cognitive-based therapy and intervention."

Bring NILD to Your School

Gaston Christian's story demonstrates the transformative power of NILD's approach. This program not only improves academic outcomes but ignites confidence, helping students with learning differences reach their full potential. 

If your school shares a similar mission, explore how NILD can empower your students to succeed. Schedule a consultation at