Making a Difference, One Person at a Time.


A Concerned Parents Story

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

My son had always struggled with reading.  Since he was in Kindergarten, I knew something was not quite right but never could figure it out.  I asked his first grade teacher if it could be Dyslexia.  She assured me it was not, and she was not worried about reading.  She was concerned about his lack of focus.  He attended a private Christian school until 3rd grade.  They noticed his reading and spelling struggles in second grade and put him in a reading lab.  It was worthless. We got his eyes checked, and the doctor said he had a tracking problem.  We spent more than $2, 000 on vision therapy and eye exercises that did not help.  He got private tutoring, speech therapy, and we took him to a number of tutoring centers.  We have spent countless amounts of money on him.  (We don’t mind spending the money, but NOTHING was helping.)  Everyone told us he would either grow out of it, or he would learn to compensate. 

In 3rd grade, we moved him to a public school, hoping to get more services for him.  He did qualify for special education at that school due to his poor reading.  We thought we finally had the answer.  WRONG.  When he was in 5th grade, they would work with him in the resource room, and allow him to listen to books, so he could keep up with what his classmates were learning.  But, he was still not learning to read, write, or spell.  I become so frustrated. My son thought he was “stupid” had no self-esteem, suffered from depression, and rarely talked to his peers at school. (He wanted to drop out of school at age 11.) 

He would study for the weekly spelling list for hours and hours, yet he forgot the words by the following week.  He could only read at a 2nd grade level, could not spell the words because, does, or friend, yet he would get A’s and B’s on his report card?  My son was not stupid, so when he brought home his report card, he was not proud.  He said they just gave him the grades because they feel sorry for him. 

We had an IEP meeting his 5th grade year and they told us our son, who has 120 IQ, just may be “one of those kids who never learn to read.”  That was NOT acceptable.  I could not believe that educators were telling us this!  So, I started to do some research on the computer.  Why could he read a word in one sentence but not the next?  Why were all his words missing vowels?  Why couldn’t he sound out words:  He had plenty of phonics instruction?  Why did a clock baffle him so much?  Why was he still reversing letters and had handwriting that looked like he was just learning to print.  I found the Bright Solutions for Dyslexia website.  There it was!  I could check off about 95% of the symptoms.  My son had Dyslexia. 

Yet, when I shared this with my son’s school, they were skeptical and encouraged us to get formal testing because they did not think it was an issue.  But, the cost of professional testing was high.  We had to decide which was more important: get a diagnosis (knowing his school did not have the right type of help) or skip that and go directly to the solution.

In sixth grade, we found our solution and angel, Melissa Garretson.  Not only did Miss Garretson understand Dyslexia, she took the time to explain Dyslexia to my son and me.  She tutored my son for three years twice a week using the Barton Reading & Spelling system. 

When my son was in 6th grade, he was a “broken” 12 year old that was a horrible speller and writer, and was reading on a 2nd grade level.  Now, my son is 15 years old, he is no longer in Special Education, his Language Arts teacher just commented on my his amazing writer’s voice, and he is REALLY getting A’s, B’s and C’s. 

If that wasn’t enough, Miss Garretson has helped make my son “whole” again!  This is the part that makes me cry.  My son is now a confident young man with many friends and has blossomed so much in just three years.  My son embraces his Dyslexia.  We do not romanticize it or deny that it makes things hard for him as he will have to deal with it his entire life.  But, he knows that the brain differences that give him grief with his reading and spelling are the same brain differences that created his amazing imagination, his fantastic building skills, and his love of music.

THANK YOU so much Miss G. for the work that you do.  You changed my son’s life!