Former Patient Excels As Cognitive Clinician

Probably no one at The Curious Edge in Lexington has clearer insight into the struggles of their patients than Shelby Abel – the company’s youngest employee.

The 22-year-old education major at Eastern Kentucky University has been a Cognitive Clinician for only three years. But before that she was also a patient.

Diagnosed at 8 years old with dyslexia, Shelby still breezed through school, scoring good grades even while playing on the high school softball and basketball teams.

She enrolled at Transylvania University where she also played softball – but not for long.

Suddenly school was no longer a breeze.

“Everything seemed like it was going too fast for me,” she said. “It was really difficult.”

When Shelby’s mother shared that experience with Kimberly Hudson, founder and owner of The Curious Edge, Hudson’s response was swift and direct.

“Bring her in.”

So Shelby started at The Curious Edge and resurrected her academic career. After an exam revealed that Shelby had memory issues, Hudson taught her to devise visual study guides.

“In psychology class, there were a lot vocabulary words,” Shelby explained. “For most students, they could just study the words and remember the definitions or use flash cards. That didn’t work for me.

“So I learned how I learn best. I drew pictures to go with the words that helped me remember them.

“The goofier the drawing the better because I could remember it easier.”

As she mastered this new study skill, Shelby spent a year at BCTC before enrolling at EKU.

A year away from graduation, Shelby works at The Curious Edge with students of all ages. Her personal story resonates with all of them.

“I tell my students all the time about my story,” she said. “When older students are frustrated, I tell them that I’m here because of this program. I know what they are going through.

“They usually start asking questions then and that helps open them up.”

Hudson sees that every day, saying, “It gives students hope to see what Shelby has accomplished.”

Hudson and Shelby hope their partnership continues.

“I would love to keep working here,” Shelby said. “These kids are growing and I want to be a part of that growth.

“This is what I want to do for the rest of my life.”


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