by LIZ ONUFER | photos by Zeena Gregg Photography

Skill-Based Solutions

With the Therapeutic Literacy Center, Learning Problems Don’t Have to be Permanent

When learning problems arise for children, parents turn to schools and specialists. Often, short-term solutions are offered without long-term outcomes. At the Therapeutic Literacy Center (TLC), the focus is on “a lifetime of success in learning and opening doors not only academically but socially in college, careers, and relationships,” owner Maria Bagby shared. “Learning problems don’t have to be permanent.”

During her 30 years in education, Maria noticed, “Nobody in education was talking about solving the problem or fixing the deficits – only about accommodating so that the kids can keep moving through.” Children don’t wake up saying “I don’t want to learn today” or “I want to have a bad day.” Rather, Maria explained, “There is always a reason that children push back against some kind of learning. We identify that reason and fix the problem.”

At TLC, a specialized neurodevelopmental and cognitive training approach helps students tap into their greatest potential. “We are making an effort to give students those foundational skills that schools don’t have to directly teach but are necessary for independent success in the Common Core curriculum,” said Maria. These underlying skills include auditory and visual processing, working memory, and processing speed.


Recently, TLC has begun offering additional services such as “boot camps,” using a cognitive training methodology to enable students to quickly build math fact automaticity, handwriting, and spelling – because schools just don’t have time for it all. Maria explained, “We have methods for teaching these so that students find success quickly and are able to work more efficiently in the Common Core curriculum.”

TLC’s passionate and professional staff identify the child’s deficits and work to develop these skills through individualized techniques and programs. Many of TLC’s students do not have a diagnosis but their parents have been told “they just need to apply themselves” or that they “will grow out of it.” Maria knows that struggling throughout the school year is not the solution. “Most who come in our doors ask us, ‘Why didn’t anyone tell us about you?’ and after a few weeks those same parents are telling their friends because their child is doing new things and meeting new goals.”

For families, TLC is a friendly and welcoming environment. Parent Shannon Downing shared, “My son loved going to TLC because it’s fun and he feels like the gifted and smart child he actually is. Overall, I’m no longer seeing his learning frustrations but the quick ways he grasps things.” Just one of many success stories, Maria affirmed, “Parents tell us that just walking in the door their child feels ‘normal’ – accepted, affirmed, and mentored by clinicians that really understand how smart they really are.”



Business: Therapeutic Literacy Center, LLC
Owner: Maria Bagby
Clinical Director: Chelsea Leatherman
Center Experience Director: Sara Smith
Year of Establishment: 2012
Address: 990 Highland Dr. Suite 106-D
Phone: 858-481-2200
Description of Business: TLC remedies learning challenges and disabilities by addressing the underlying learning skills causing the learning problems. Some have diagnoses such as ADHD and others don’t. Their motto is “Learning problems don’t have to be permanent.”