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Luke's Story

Posted on May 21, 2016 at 10:45 PM Comments comments (0)

I have a son who is sixteen years old and struggles with reading, spelling, and writing. He is dyslexic.  He also suffers from ADHD, which is the reason that everyone thought he was behind academically in the beginning. 

His second grade teacher recommended that we have his eyes checked. The eye doctor told us he had a tracking problem and we were sent to a specific eye doctor who gave us eye exercises to work on. This did not work.

My son attended a parochial school until the middle of third grade.  At the end of second grade he was evaluated by Peoria’s district 150.  He was diagnosed with a learning disability, with no explanation into what his learning disability was, just a “learning disability”.  When we all met to set up his IEP it was recommended that he attend a public school where he could get the assistance he needed.  My husband and I hired a private reading tutor, who was a reading specialist in the Pekin school district.  She worked with him diligently for 6 months before she told me that he was not making any progress.  It was brought to our attention that Luke was showing many of the basic signs of dyslexia.  The tutor led us to a website called Bright Solutions for Dyslexia where we found a lot of information that we needed to understand what Luke was going through.  We found out that there was a proven reading and spelling program that could help our child but at the time we did not have the extra money to purchase it or to pay for a trained Barton Reading and Spelling program tutor. This was a huge mistake on our part that I regret everyday.  The older our child got the worse his school experience became as his feelings of inadequacy grew.  His confidence plummeted and he gave up trying.

During Luke’s 5th and 6th grade years, he was blessed with a teacher who had some training in an Orton-Gillingham method of teaching and had received some education about dyslexia.  Even though the reading program the school offered was not helping Lucas progress, she taught him special techniques that did help him show some improvement.  

Starting the summer of his 7th grade year, I purchase and taught Luke the first three levels of the Barton Reading and Spelling program myself.  However, we again did not have the funding to continue. 

In May of this year, we again made the decision to seek out someone who could teach Luke using the Barton Reading and Spelling program. We knew that if we did not find someone on our own, who could help our son, he would end up being a high school drop out.  We came into contact with Melissa Garretson and she began working with Luke in June. They work together for 3 hours a week and he has completed levels 4 and 5. Currently, our son is a sophomore.  At this time he still reads and writes below his grade level however, he is placed in all regular classes with some IEP accommodations. He barely gets by in some classes and in other classes he is failing.

But, there is a difference between this year and the previous 10 years of Luke’s schooling.  This year, he is finally beginning to show progress.  This year, we have Ms. Garretson to support, encourage and teach Lucas using a method that we know will actually make a difference! This year we see light at the end of a what has been a very long tunnel. Children who are dyslexic and their families should not have to go through years of suffering through school when there are proven programs that can help these children learn to read and write.  Just because they have to be taught differently does not mean that our school districts should not be responsible for teaching them.