Text -- 304-412-4065 Danny@DannyPettry.com

Forrest (played by Tom Hanks) in the movie Forrest Gump said, “I’m not a smart man, but I know what love is.”

There were two groups in first grade.

Most of the kids in the class were in the “smart” group.  They received more reading aloud time.

There was a smaller group of kids who were in the “dumb” group. They had less time reading aloud in the classroom setting.


I knew which group I belonged in and so did my peers.

Let’s say I wasn’t the brightest crayon.

(Please laugh aloud at that or at least pretend to laugh at my efforts to make this humorous).


I’m a slower learner with speech problems.  My parents believed it was a Central Auditory Processing Disorder. However, this diagnosis wasn’t well-known when I was in elementary school. There weren’t tests and assessments for this either.


Regardless…. I received additional training in reading throughout my elementary school years. I didn’t take science class for a few years because I had additional assistance with reading education. Sometimes (additional reading training) was during recess. I felt angry about that (but we’ll save that for another blog entry).


I had speech therapy until 6th grade before I learned to put the “GRR” in Tiger. A “Gor” in Tige- “OR”  just isn’t the same. I’ve written a children’s book about this problem, titled: It’s Not a Monst-OR — It’s a Monster!

My scores in English, spelling, math were often low.

I did score well in character education. I made the good citizenship award and good attendance award far more often than the honor roll award. I’ve written a children’s book about character education too, titled: Building Character with Sam and Izzy: 15 Tips to Help Children Build Character! 

I enjoyed the extra training:

I didn’t mind getting the extra help. I enjoyed the one-on-one attention in reading assistance and speech therapy. They often made learning fun with games and activities.

I did feel uncomfortable that my peers knew that I was going to these classes. I tried to keep it a secret. I didn’t want my peers to know that I was, “not-so-smart.”

But my peers often knew I wasn’t being called out for gifted class.


My learning problems continued through high school:

I barley passed Algebra II and Spanish II during my junior year in high school.   I stayed after school two days a week to get additional tutoring in both of these subjects during high school.

I had to take an extra Reading and Writing course during my senior year of high school for kids who did poorly on standardized writing test.


College Testing

My scores on the American College Testing (ACT) were low too. I got a 15! I took it again and got a 16! I had to take a full semester (12 credit hours) of basic college courses that didn’t count towards my degree because my ACT scores were so low. I took English 98 and English 99 as well as Math 99 and Math 101.


Completing college

I still completed my four year degree in four years (by taking summer courses every semester. Marshall University (Huntington, West Virginia) offered a wonderful tutoring program. I got assistance in writing. I had access to a Med Student who tutored me in chemistry and kinesiology.


Will I pass the big exam?

There were a few people who said I wasn’t smart enough to pass the NCTRC exam to become a CTRS.  However, I was very lucky to have those people who cheered me on to go for it. There were times when I didn’t think I’d pass the National Counseling Exam (NCE) either. Fortunately, I passed both of them on the first try.

Do I still have anxiety? Sometimes.

Will I pass the big exam in life? I think so.

I believe the big quiz in life is learning and loving.  


Attribution to my success:

Encouragement from others: I attribute my academic success to having a very strong support system that helped me throughout the years. I had a lot of good teachers, additional tutoring, training, and overall, people who cared.  There are so many teachers, mentors, and people who I could list here.

Self-encouragement: A second factor is determination and persistence. I kept trying and trying. I had a goal and I knew I wouldn’t settle for anything less. One thing that helped was passion for learning. I loved learning about things and I find it easier to learn about subjects that I love like psychology!


Intelligence isn’t fixed. People can grow knowledge and skills

I don’t think intelligence like an IQ score is that fixed. Why would we have education in the first place if IQ stays the same throughout life? I do believe that all people are capable of learning and growing. Some people are faster and some are slower. Regardless, all people can improve.


My real secret is that I believe all people have the potential to grow and improve in any area.

My best advice is to be a cheerleader for the people who you are providing services for. Encourage people at all ages and with different types of abilities to continue to improve.

You got this!