Dr. Mildred Wood of Cedar Falls is one of four women inducted into this year's Iowa Women's Hall of Fame. Wood devoted most of her life to helping children with learning disabilities. It started when she was a first and second grade teacher.
"I was so embarrassed when I found I couldn't teach one child,"said Dr. Mildred Wood. "Three years of school and still she couldn't read or write her name, and the principal said to me, 'I want you to teach that child to read.' He said no one has been able to do it yet. Well, I couldn't."
Wood wanted to understand learning disabilities better. So she started reading and attending conferences
"I decided I would not teach again until I could teach every child in the room," she said.
Wood kept getting more schooling, including four degrees from UNI and her doctorate from Indiana. She taught classes at UNI in speech therapy and special education. She was a charter member of the National and Iowa Associations for Children with Learning Disabilities.
Wood also co-authored the PAL test in 1975, which is a screening device for incoming kindergartners to detect possible learning disabilities.
"It was so nice to be able to say to parents, your child is not dumb, but your child has a learning disability," said Wood.
She admits times have changed since she worked in the school system, but her best advice for parents is simple to be there.
"Children need their parents," she said.
The 91-year-old is humble, but former co-workers weren't shy about her accomplishments in writing recommendation letters for the Iowa Women's Hall of Fame.
Gloria Tollefson wrote, "If anyone would ask, 'Who is the most known person in the field of learning disabilities in the state of Iowa?' The answer would still be Dr. Mildred Wood."
Even though Dr. Wood doesn't work directly with children anymore -- she still impacts the lives of children everyday by paving the way for understanding learning disabilities and making sure every child gets a chance to learn.
Reporter: Danielle Wagner