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Special education major Clare Healy teaches kids to overcome the learning disability she faced as a child.

Clare Healy ’13 remembers feeling scared when her first-grade teachers labeled her “at risk” because she couldn’t read. Her parents got her extra help in the classroom and a daily tutor, and it wasn’t long before Healy overcame the struggles she faced. Now, Healy, who graduated with a degree in Special Education, wants to help kids in similar situations. 

“I don’t want others to feel the same resentment and fear for school I had just because they receive a diagnosis,” says Healy, who dealt with dyslexia growing up. “I hope that in my teaching career, I can provide the love and support these kids need to realize that they have just as bright of a future as anyone else.”

“I hope that in my teaching career, I can provide the love and support these kids need to realize that they have just as bright of a future as anyone else.”

While working as a teacher’s aid one summer, Healy tutored a student who — like her 7-year-old self — had dyslexia. The student was embarrassed to read, much like Healy had been back in first grade. “I think it helps a student realize that having a learning disability isn’t a life sentence,” she says. 

“The struggles they face now will get easier if they keep working at it.” In the fall after her graduation, Healy completed her student teaching at Patton Elementary and Hill Country Middle School, both in Austin. “I’ve learned that I need to set high expectations for the kids I teach,” Healy says.

“Regardless of where they come from or their diagnosis, they are often capable of achieving more in the classroom than some people would believe.” 

—Lisa Thiegs 

St. Edward’s University launched its Special Education major in Fall 2012 and Healy was the first to graduate with the degree.