Therapeutic Literacy Center in Solana Beach helps children correct learning difficulties


If your child has difficulties with learning, is slow to complete homework, or just can’t keep up with the other students in class, help is close by.

The Therapeutic Literacy Center in Solana Beach has a team of experts, headed by owner Maria Bagby, that offers affordable specialized programming custom-designed for each child.

Since the center’s opening in 2013, successes have been evident. “We have officially helped seven children exit special education in the last year,” said Bagby, a former kindergarten teacher who earned her first master’s degree in early childhood psychology from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.

“And many others have turned around their process, potentially becoming special ed but then instead ending those processes (to enter into special education) because they no longer needed them.”

Due to this success, the center has become renowned as a deficit specific treatment center for both auditory processing disorder (APD) and attention deficit disorder (ADD).

Fifty percent of children diagnosed with ADD in truth have APD, said Bagby. Often they have a hidden deficit of cognitive processing for which they cannot be medicated. “But we can change the way that processing happens and we have been very successful at fixing that.”

The center partners with audiologists, psychiatrists and psychologists, which further helps the children in “gaining their self-regulation and attention,” said Bagby.

Her work is carried out by a team of professionals; the center has 17 highly-trained clinicians with a clinical director and an assessment director on staff.

Due to its reputation the center is growing rapidly. It has expanded twice since its opening and is already running out of room.

Its philosophy that all learning problems are temporary resonates with parents and their children.

“I think it is commonly misunderstood that you cannot correct underlying learning difficulties, especially in schools,” said Bagby.

In a traditional school setting, teachers are not trained to give children individualized learning programs. “Their belief is that we have to live with what we are born with and find ways to accommodate it,” she added.

“We go underneath to those underlying layers to see why, and what is the specific deficit and what is the recommendation for fixing it so that children may become independent learners,” Bagby said.

This approach has evolved from Bagby’s 30-year career in education being developed through decades of hands-on work in the classroom, training teachers, and expanding her own education.

Bagby earned a second master’s degree in reading in the years she lived as a Dominican Sister in Grand Rapids, Mich., teaching Catholic school. She then earned her third master’s degree in curriculum and assessment and became a National Board Certified Teacher.

She had the opportunity to work with the Milken Family Foundation in the development of a teacher excellence program and became a lead national trainer of Mentor and Master Teachers.

Her subsequent professional endeavors include work as an academic interventionist, earning her certification in using the Orton Gillingham methodologies, and learning the Lindamood Bell programs.

Bagby’s passion became remediating dyslexia, which was the catalyst for her to begin the transition into private practice outside of the system of school.

Earning her certification as an educational therapist, she was able to open up her practice in the Del Mar Corporate Center across from the Del Mar Fairgrounds.

The center offers specialized programming that is short-term and individually-based on the evaluation of specific cognitive processes behind a child’s success in reading, writing and spelling.

Therapeutic instruction is offered to diagnose dyslexia, aid memory, attention, processing speed, phonemic awareness, visual processing, internal timing and organization, logic and reasoning, executive function and much more.

Parents interested should contact the Therapeutic Literacy Center at 858-481-2200 or online at The center will schedule an assessment of the child. The intake process also includes a parent/client consultation, report and recommendations, and program set-up. The center is at 990 Highland Drive, Suite 106-D, Solana Beach, CA 92075.