UPSTART Prepares Brothers for Kindergarten, One Overcomes Speech Impediment


Viven Van Leeuwen, a mother of two sons and an infant daughter living in Utah, first learned about UPSTART from a friend. What she did not know at the time, was that UPSTART would change her and her children’s lives for the better.

In 2013, her oldest son was accepted into the program, and then in 2014 her younger son was also admitted. Not only has UPSTART prepared both of her sons for kindergarten, the UPSTART program has also played a key part in helping her younger son overcome a speech impediment. Van Leeuwen said, “I had people telling me that even a couple months ago they had no idea if he was even saying ‘hi’ to them and now they could understand him reading a long sentence.”

After using the program every day of the week for nearly a year, Van Leeuwen’s oldest son entered kindergarten with the ability to read, add and subtract. Today, his reading ability is still above average. He is able to read chapter books, while most of his peers are still only able to read short books and picture books. Van Leeuwen’s youngest son soon developed the ability to use consonants and grow his communication skills. In fact, by age four, he tested out of regular speech therapy, and tested out completely when he was five! Like his older brother, he is now above average in reading.

This story is one that demonstrates just how well the UPSTART program benefits children with different instructional needs and capabilities. “I would most definitely recommend the UPSTART program to everyone who has young children,” Van Leeuwen has said. “It’s been such an incredible program to use, and it’s been so great to watch our kids grow through using it.”

You can read more about Viven Van Leeuwen’s story in this case study.

Learn more about Utah UPSTART and pre-register at


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