Saturday, September 10, 2011


Kate is behind in her reading. Really behind. She tests at 0.9 level, which is basically a Kindergarten level. She reads 20-40 wpm. The average for a second grader is 90wpm.  Her teacher last year had her do pull out reading, and by the end of the year, she had met her 85% goal, so I figured, she was 'caught up'. I read with her almost every day all summer long. I thought that would keep her where she was at.

Well, apparently, she wasn't 'caught up' last year, because she is WAAAAY behind. Almost 2 full grade levels behind.

Reading with her over the summer, I started to notice that she was switching letters, like b and d. Or words, like reading saw, instead of was. I wondered if she had a touch of dyslexia. After sitting through her 2nd grade assessment with her teacher, it was painfully obvious that she is way behind. I discussed the possibility of dyslexia with her teacher. She was super helpful, but told me that she would have to do a series of 'interventions' before they would test her, this could take months, even the whole year. And then, the test would be for general learning disabilities, not specifically for dyslexia. I left practically in tears, and very discouraged for my child.

The second day of school, she came home and through tears said, "I wish I could read better. I can only read pink and yellow dots!" (Kindergarten level books) Needless to say, I was heart-broken for her. And indeed, at back to school night, I noticed on Kate's desk her 'book', basically a pamphlet of a few pages stapled together, while almost every other desk had chapter books on top.

I came home from her assessment and started researching dyslexia. What an eye opener! Kate has about 50% of the signs, and I learned that most public schools are not equipped to handle the special type of learning that these children need. I left the website up and went to bed, thinking, I'm going to have to have her privately tested ($400-500) AND then I'm going to have to pull her out of language arts every day and homeschool her with a special program ($2-3K). My head was spinning.

In the morning, Chris told me that he had read the entire site after I went to bed and said he had 100% of the signs, and was positive he has dyslexia. He's always known that he has ADD, but the dyslexia revelation was new to him. Interestingly, dyslexics have a very high occurrence of ADD.  I'm not sure Kate has ADD, but my Mom thinks she does, so maybe I'm just too close to it.

Anyway, Dyslexia is genetic, and we think my Dad has it, so she got a double dose in the gene pool. Oh! My heart aches for her! Knowing the years of struggling that Chris went through and the nightmare experiences he had in school, I am sick. However, if she does have it, it's not too late to intervene. Hopefully she won't have to be nearly 30 yo before she is a fluent reader, like her father was. He used to hate reading, now we can't make him stop, still, I don't want her to have to find her own way like Chris did.

So, what to do? I emailed an old friend who has severe dyslexia, did her Masters research in it, and became a school teacher. JACKPOT! She said she will come read with her THIS weekend, and then will LOAN us the system that will work best for her, since she owns most of them!  I am so grateful to have remembered this friend, that I don't stay in touch with, and that she is so willing to help Kate. I'm sure she feels it is her personal mission in life to help dyslexic children, but whatever her motivation is, GOD BLESS HER!

I also have a meeting w/ the Resource specialist tomorrow, but I already have a feeling that that will get me nowhere.

And just a FYI, I learned that dyslexics are not 'slow'. The condition is diagnosed by the talents as well. Dyslexics are usually very bright, spatially oriented, gifted in music, art, athletics, sciences. Just check out the list on the left. Some people equate dyslexia with the capacity for genius. 

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