Do you or someone you know have Dyslexia? Do you know what Dyslexia is? You might be surprised by how many people have no idea what Dyslexia is. It is manageable, as long as the student receives what they are entitled to through their school districts and also have parents as advocates and as their #1 supporters. My daughter is proof. Since October is Dyslexia Awareness Month, I think it is quite fitting that I spread awareness about the most common learning difference many of us face or will possibly face.
1 in 5 people have Dyslexia; that is a lot of people! Dyslexia is more common than one might think. The definition for Dyslexia is: the learning difficulty characterized by trouble decoding (sounding out) words, difficulty with word recognition, and spelling. Also, significant difficulty with fluency, comprehension, rapid naming, vocabulary, and written language. Sounds like a lot, right? Well…it is. But it is doable. Dyslexia is one of the most common reasons smart kids struggle to read. Also, children with Dyslexia are at a higher risk for falling behind in school in comparison to their peers. This is why early intervention is KEY for the child. The earlier to know this, the better.
One major thing I would like to make clear is that Dyslexia is not a DISABILITY. I think they are able. I believe they are able through interventions, resources, accommodations, tutoring, and advocating. I would prefer the term learning difference when used to describe Dyslexia. Dyslexia is simply and complexly that; a learning difference. Children with Dyslexia have a brain that is wired, so to speak, to process words, reading, and life in a different way, a different route. Their beautiful minds process and navigate through reading, writing, and spelling in a different way than the “norm”. This creates the huge challenge that Dyslexics face.
The mainstream education system is not setup for the minds that are wired differently. But luckily, they have special accommodations, teachers, and strategies that have proven success in mastering reading, writing, and spelling. Dyslexia is NOT a vision problem or problem seeing words/letters backwards. Dyslexia is complex. Also, did you know, that 80% of people think Dyslexia is associated with low intelligence? Actually, children with Dyslexia have average to above average IQs.
As a parent, I can honestly say I knew nothing about Dyslexia prior to our daughter being diagnosed in October 2017. Our daughter, who was six at the time, was struggling with reading, even struggling with letter and sound recognition starting in her Kindergarten year. She proceeded to first grade and still struggled immensely. I found her a private tutor halfway through first grade to help her with her reading. After a year into tutoring, her tutor pulled me aside after a tutoring session and said, “I think LJC might be dyslexic.” I was pretty shocked. Her private tutor is also a Dyslexic tutor at Shelton in Dallas.
So, one day I took LJC to Shelton and she was evaluated by the head diagnostician and LJC was diagnosed as Dyslexic. I honestly was not sure what that meant at that time. So as we drove from Dallas back to McKinney, I cried the entire time. I felt like I failed my girl. I felt like it was all my fault. The mommy guilt kicked in full throttle and continued on for 11 months. After I had my little piece of paper that said she qualified for Dyslexia services and the test in which they administered that deemed the diagnosis of Dyslexia; I took it to her school. It was like I found the missing piece to the puzzle. Finally. But that was just the beginning of our journey with Dyslexia.
After LJC’s school did their own test to qualify her for Dyslexia accommodations, that changed everything, as far as her school life. After the school identified it was Dyslexia; her teacher, principal, Dyslexia specialist, and I came up with LJC’s IEP (Individualized Education Plan). I love having an IEP because nothing can be added or deleted in her education plan without our consent, agreement, and all parties signing off on any change. One other perk of an IEP is that they set reachable goals, monitor progress, and determine whether the goals are met or not. Accountability for the teachers and student are great.
Our daughter is now in second grade and is flourishing and making progress much like her peers. With the right interventions, the right support team, all of this is possible. The progress our daughter has made is amazing! I believe it is also important as parents to find a balance for our children. Balance between how hard they work at school and allowing fun for them outside of school. They need a balance between work and fun. For our girl she loves anything physical so she partakes in physical extracurricular activities and she excels immensely. It is a great balance and I highly suggest you and your child finding something they truly love and have passion about outside of reading, writing, and spelling classes and curriculum.
When I was first processing Dyslexia, I was beyond overwhelmed. For 11 months, it was honestly almost too much for me. I easily became so obsessed with educating myself, on Facebook pages for Dyslexia, checking out books at our local library. Dyslexia consumed me. I think I was trying to “fix” this but over time I realized and accepted I cannot fix this. Releasing that from my heart and mind was the most freeing thing ever. I realized I cannot fix this but I can do what LJC needs, which is support her, provide what she needs, encourage, love, be patient, and listen to her. I chose to do ALL that and more for my girl.
Dyslexia is not impossible. Dyslexia is not lazy. Dyslexia is not stupid. Trust that, believe that. Google that, even. After beating myself up for 11 months and finally accepting this is what it is, life has been so much sweeter. I want to tell parents Dyslexia is a marathon, NOT a sprint.
Dyslexia is much like fingerprints or snowflakes; no child with Dyslexia is the exact same. Every child much Dyslexia is a struggle with reading, writing, and spelling. Accept it. Understand it. Get or find the resources needed and move along. Progress will be made. Patience and positive encouragement is key. Don’t forget it. Give the much needed accommodations and help your child needs but give your focus and attention on their strengths, positives, things they truly enjoy and thrive in. Give them opportunities they enjoy and what they love to do. They need balance. Dyslexic students work extremely hard daily.
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its
ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing
that it is stupid.”- Albert Einstein
Did you know how many famous celebrities have Dyslexia? There are so many brilliant, talented, driven, beautiful minds that have contributed majorly in history and now, presently. Celebrities such as Steven Spielberg, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Walt Disney, Albert Einstein, Channing Tatum, Henry Winkler, Henry Ford, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Bill Gates. Pretty awesome, isn’t it? I think so. If you think about it, these people have changed the world in one way or another and worked really hard in the process of doing so.
“It is more common than you can imagine. You are not alone.
And while you will have this the rest of your life, you can dart
between the raindrops to get where you want to go and it will
not hold you back.” -Steven Spielberg
Our children can and will be successful. Our children have been given a gift; a gift of a beautiful mind. I truly believe this. In spite of Dyslexia and maybe because Dyslexia, our children have the ability to change the world, to be leaders, to be dreamers, to be creators, to be intelligent, to be understanding when others cannot. I see Dyslexia as a gift. Understanding Dyslexia is to understand my child. The way her amazing mind works, the way she thinks, what she says and how she solves different things is quite unique and very impressive.
Every child has strengths and weaknesses. Some are different, some the same. Remember weaknesses do not define future success or future failure much as strengths do not define future success or failure. I can tell you momma, stay positive, stay informed, stay connected, determined, and positive and most importantly keep going above and beyond. I have seen the fruits of our labor and I will never stop trying, believing, and supporting, and you shouldn’t, either. Until my LJC can be an advocate for herself, I will not stop. I will hold her hand when needed, fight a fight if necessary, and continue this journey with her. When she tells me, “I got this, momma”; then I will know, she is ready. Until then, she will not fight this potential battle solo. Stay the course, mommas; you got this!