Making a Difference, One Person at a Time.


Kindergarten- the awful year

Posted on May 21, 2016 at 11:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Jared began Kindergarten excited! He was able to ride the big bus and see his brother at school. He loved the social aspect!  It wasn't long before he didn't want to get on the bus and got off the bus crying- he hated school.  It was devastating to see my son who was so bright and excited to learn come home and tell me he was 5 years old.

We would practice letters M-R-S-T over and over every chance we got...he just couldn't get it, I never saw a kid try so hard- he was paying attention, he still loved to be read to, he loved to color and do other kindergarten activities....however he COULD NOT reliably tell me any letters with consistency.  He attended school all day, we practiced letters for at least 1 hour a night and he was read to every day. Sometimes we woke up an hour early to practice more....surely practicing more would help- right?

I met with his teacher and was told he wasn't trying, and to be perfectly honest- I was not impressed with this teacher.  She described him as lazy, not trying, not paying attention and sometimes he was a distraction when he waved at his brother in the hallway.....This is the only teacher in Jared's academic career so far that I can say that about.  Eventually I met with the principal and the teacher and told them if this wasn't a good fit, we would need to move Jared from her class, a 5 year old shouldn't come home crying daily because his teacher was mean.  The situation changed enough at that point he stopped crying. To this day he remembers that teacher and how she made him feel.  If I had it to do over again- I would have moved him. The emotional damage this women caused is still carried to this day.

Jared made slight progress by the end of the year- in hindsight- he memorized enough books to improve test scores.  He was pulled out for reading throughout kindergarten, yet had no 504 or IEP.  We repeated phonics, we practiced AR books, he took a computer based reading program- yet wasn't catching on.  We made the decision to place him in Transitional First- a class for those who needed to repeat kindergarten or for new kindergarten students who were closer to first grade.

While today I believe this was a mistake in some ways - retaining him did not help him learn to read, write or was a blessing in another way...We found Mrs. Clifford- the most amazing teacher.  She recognized something was wrong, yet she didn't know what. What she did do was build Jared's self esteen back up....she made him love going to school again. To this day he will tell you Mrs. Clifford is his favorite teacher.

Maya Angelou — 'I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.'

The beginning of our families journey

Posted on April 22, 2016 at 3:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Our families journey begins like so many others, yet we weren't aware at the time. My hope is that my sharing our story it may help others experiencing the same or similar journey. It has taken 7 1/2 years of searching for answers and tutoring to figure out our son is dyslexic....We didn't find this out through testing or the school system... we read a 4 sentence "ad" in our local paper that highlighted common symptoms of dyslexia and cried when we realized our problem now had a name. With a name we can fix the problem!

Our youngest son struggled from an early age, he was born with a dislocated elbow and had a cast for about the first 6 weeks of his life.  As he grew he struggled with crawling, which was attributed to the early elbow issue.  He walked late, had trouble moving food in his mouth to eat and struggled to talk.  We sought help when he was about 9 months old and began occupational therapy at that time.  We taught him basic sign language so he could communicate basic needs and worked hard to help him learn to speak.  He began speech therapy around age 2 and the only people who could understand him when he spoke was our immediate family, myself, his dad, brother and sister.  His grandparents asked us to "interpret" for them until around age 5.  He had FREQUENT ear infections...I barely remember a month we didn't take have him on antibiotics!

In preschool he was very social, loved attending and the teachers always had wonderful things to say.  He was a big helper and worked hard...but he wasn't catching on with letters, his alphabet and pronouncing words.  We were told "boys sometimes take longer" and "he'll be fine".  He loved to be read to and could "read" to us...when in fact he had memorized the book because we had read it to him so many times.  He finished 2 years of preschool and the teacher told me she didn't think he was ready for kindergarten...we agreed with her. His birthday is in June so he would be a young kindergarten student, we seriously considered holding him back a year.

Our district holds screenings for kindergarten and I signed him expecting to be told he needed to wait a year.  He was continuing speech therapy at this time through the early intervention program at the same school.  Imagine my surprise when the screener came out with him with a big smile and said "he passed mom! he'll do great"  I couldn't believe my ears....I knew he couldn't answer the screening questions reliably in spite of weeks of practice...yes we PRACTICED for the kindergarten screening...

And so our journey would begin that fall with kindergarten.  I hired a tutor for the summer again....we had him tutored between age 3-4 and 4-5 hoping by repeating basic phonics, sounds and so forth he would improve and be successful in kindergarten.  If only we knew then what we know now...our sons story would be very different.