Drew Thompson, Founder
To Parents: I understand my students because I’m one of them; I just got bigger.
To Students: I speak parent, but I'm not "one of them."
I myself have dyslexia and ADHD. The personal strategies and attitude adjustments that gave me the patience work through adversity resonate well with my students. My own struggles qualify me to understand my students uniquely, relating their struggles to ones I’ve experienced. My students appreciate that I “get” them like few adults do. I help students understand themselves better and help parents learn more about the learning process of their son or daughter. Greater understanding helps create effective strategies and supports harmonious relationships.
I do not tell my students to do their work. I am not another adult lecturing them. I offer choices and describe likely consequences for their decisions. This preserves relationships and builds intrinsic motivation. Understanding how the work connects to their own goals, rather than as a means to avoid punishment or please others, combats procrastination.
Note: Given my learning profile, if you would like to learn more about what I can offer your family, speaking with me over the phone or in person will be more informative than my write-up!
Who We Work With
Organized Minds works with people, grades 1 and up, who benefit from non-standard instruction, often including: ADHD, Dyslexia, Autism, undiagnosed friends with a flavour of something, and otherwise high energy, disorganized students. And any of these combined with giftedness. We help deal with the frustrations that those peaks and valleys create, the frustrations that come with the gap between imagination and execution.
Speech-Language Pathologist Assistant, Vancouver Language Therapy for Kids, 2014-2018
UBC Speech Language Pathology courses, Social Thinking and Executive Skills conferences, 2014-2018
Executive Skills Coaching, Mosaic Education, 2014-2018
Vancouver School Board Support Worker, 2013-2015 Lord Byng/Sir Charles Tupper Secondary, Life Skills classroom
Orton-Gillingham Tutor, Little House Tutoring Inc., 2010-2013
Mentor and Tutor, 2006-Present
United Nations, Research Officer, International Labour Organization, 2009, Geneva
Madrona Elementary School, Teaching Assistant, 2005-2007
We believe that frustrations should be addressed at their source, if possible. Coming into your home allows us to address challenges around homework more effectively, seeing the physical and social context with which those frustrations exist. We facilitate larger conversations between student and parents to promote greater understanding. Understanding builds compassion and patience. We offer concrete strategies around getting work done without frustrations, be it writing remediation, time management, or social planning.
If there is a good relationship with the school, we work with students at their school, helping more with advocacy and teacher relationships - though this almost always happens in private schools.
Warning! The following is too long! It is laden with superfluous details.
Proceed with caution.
After I completed my BA at UBC in Geography and International Relations, I pursued a longtime dream and was hired as a Research Officer at the United Nations International Labour Organization in Geneva. It was a prestigious position that sent me on international assignment to South Africa. The fulfillment of this aspiration was a hard-won victory for me. However, I am not built to sit still and read and write all day. It just does not make me happy.
As a boy, my learning disability became all too clear. Later, after testing for this, my giftedness was also identified. Despite being able to quickly form and apply concepts, I struggled to write, read, hold a pencil, and was always late. As the only member of his family with these challenges, I felt isolated. I did not understand myself, and no one else seemed to either.
In the 5th and 6th grades, I attended Kenneth Gordon School (now Kenneth Gordon Maplewood School), receiving Orton-Gillingham tutoring to remediate my reading and writing. It taught me a lot more about who I am. Being in an environment where my dyslexia was held constant, my gifts became apparent to me for the first time.
For high school, I entered the GOLD program at Prince of Wales, a place where I finally felt I belonged. While high school remained difficult, I learned the importance of self-advocacy, found clever ways to improve academic achievement and ability to organize, planned and manage my time (though, frankly, still struggling). I put my real energy into other passions, such as basketball and drama. With strong support from the GOLD program and a drive to improve, I continued on to Langara College and then to UBC, paving the way to my position at the United Nations.
While completing my undergraduate degree, I started tutoring Gifted and Learning Disabled (GLD) students at the behest of a desperate mom. This led to a part-time position at Madrona, a small elementary school for “independent learners,” where I fell in love with education. I managed the quirky personalities of gifted and learning disabled/emotionally fragile students.
After coming home from the United Nations, I returned to work in education in Vancouver. Once an Orton-Gillingham pupil, I completed the Orton-Gillingham course and began tutoring at Little House Tutoring, working one-on-one with learning disabled students.
I have remained an advocate for GLD issues, staying active with the GOLD program ever since graduating high school. I am a founding member of the Gifted and Learning Disabled Advocacy Group of Vancouver. In collaboration with parents and educators, I was the principal presenter in a multi-year lobby, leading to the successful creation of a second GOLD program, now serving students at David Thompson High School.
The strategies and attitudes I have developed to be the balanced and accountable person I am today resonate well with my students today. My own experiences are my guide, as well as a youth surrounded by many peers with similar challenges in the GOLD program and at Kenneth Gordon School.
Ultimately, my drive for educational excellence and my (nearly) endless patience comes from knowing what it is like to be a frustrated learner. To have people tell me that I am capable all the time, but not able to tell me why I could not do well in school. I am now the person that I needed when I was a little boy: someone who listens and understands my students in ways that only people who have lived the life can.