|Posted on May 21, 2016 at 10:20 PM|
I am writing this to help provide a small insight into the frustrations associated with dyslexia. My son’s name is John and he is 13 years old and is completing his 7th grade year in school. He is the third of three children and is the only boy. His two sisters are both in honors courses. I am a speech pathologist who have taken many education courses. When John was in preschool and in the early years of elementary school, it was apparent to me that something was just not clicking with him. I informally screened him and took him to a developmental screening as I just could not put my finger on what was going on with him. Was it just that he was young for his class, a boy and the baby of the family or was it something else? When I questioned his teachers, they all responded the same way that he was a delightful child, with no red flags, and anything that he was behind in, he would catch up with as he got older. John has always been a well behaved child with no ADD or ADHD. He has never caused any problems in the classroom, so therefore was flying under the radar and as we would discover, was slipping through the cracks.
Third grade brought everything to a head. Every week John would come home on Mondays with his spelling pre-test. Every week he had missed 17-19 words from a list of 20-25. We would work diligently on this list all week. We had him write and re-write all the missed words. After several practice writings, we would quiz him. He would miss 8 words. We would have him re-write all the missed words 3-5 times and re-quiz him. He would consistently then miss 8 completely different words. He would typically make it through the test with a fair grade, but couldn’t spell the words the next day. This went on all year. One day, he got in the car after school, and burst into tears. To our surprise, he was now being pulled out for RTI. He was confused and frustrated, as were we. He was miserable! This is when the consistent questions began. “Why am I so dumb? Why aren’t I as smart as the girls? Why can’t I be in the challenge classes? Why am I so stupid? Why is it so hard for me?”
And then it turned into definitive statements…
“I AM SO DUMB!”
“I AM NEVER GOING TO GET IT!”
“I DON’T UNDERSTAND!”
“I AM STUPID!”
Fast forward a couple years. By chance, we happened to run into one of my daughter’s former teachers at the library. We had heard that she was taking a year off. As I questioned her about the year off, she told me that she would be tutoring. To make a long story, short, she was our angel. She was the one who identified John’s dyslexia. Over the course of two years, she took him through the Orton Gillingham dyslexia system, helped to educate our family, and helped John to regain SOME of his confidence. He was in 5th grade.
Today, John is a fairly good reader but continues to struggle with memorization, math, knowing phone numbers and dates, spelling and writing. He is an auditory and tactile learner, which is not always conducive to how teachers teach. He is a smart kid who can put remote control toys together without instructions but cannot consistently spell February correctly. Copying information down and taking notes is absolutely painful to watch John do. John does not have an IEP or a 504. At this point, he seems to not be impaired enough to qualify for the accommodations, that we feel he needs to be successful in upper grades. It is extremely concerning that teachers are not grasping what dyslexia really is and how to accommodate each individual student.
Things need to change. Our teachers are NOT being educated about this learning deficit. Teachers are not being educated in what the dyslexia is, how to recognize the signs and symptoms, what to do with kids that they suspect might have dyslexia and how to help these kids. Screenings are not being done and accommodations are not being made.
Categories: John's Story