As a graduate of a local learning center in 2013, Jack Tillotson developed the self-advocacy and leadership skills to help him throughout his academic career and beyond.
Jack’s journey was rather typical of any child who just “didn’t get it”. He displayed all the characteristics that represented a child with dyslexia but despite the efforts of his parents and teachers, didn’t get the kind of instruction he needed until he began lessons through community resources. Even though it took a few years to get the instruction he needed, he learned invaluable lessons about advocacy along the way.
His parents, Tammy and Scott, felt that the best way to advocate for Jack was to get him involved – even at a very young age. He attended parent-teacher conferences and initially he just observed what good healthy conversations looked and sounded like. By fourth grade he was an active participant in those conversations. By junior high school he was carrying the conversation and by high school his parents were no longer needed in those conversations. From early on his parents encouraged him to first understand his needs, second develop a good relationship with his teachers, and third to have a strong voice in expressing his needs for learning and demonstrating his knowledge. While this may sound simple, it can feel overwhelming and frustrating at times but staying the course has proven success.
In 2019, Jack enlisted in the Wisconsin Army National Guard. When he is not actively engaged with his military responsibilities, he is taking college courses for welding. On January 12, 2020, as a Private First Class, Jack was presented with the Drill Sergeant’s coin recognition. The coin recognition is given to a single soldier who demonstrates the army values, leads by example, and exhibits overall soldier ability.
“This is a great example of the incredible impact community support and encouragement can provide for the young people,” said Dr. Tammy TIllotson, Jack’s proud mom.
A big congrats to Jack for all his hard work. In the words of Sargent First Class Guidord, Jack’s recruiter, “Keep leading from the front!”