Saturday, August 24, 2013

Overcoming the Fear of Dyslexia

"profoundly dyslexic"

The words echoed inside my head as if everything else in life had suddenly abandoned me to this phrase.  And, the rushing title wave of fear threatened to overtake me in that moment.  As I sat listening to the reading therapist go on and on about strengths and weaknesses, appointment times and schedules, I heard little more.

"profoundly dyslexic"

I left her office feeling rather numb that November afternoon.

Dyslexia?  To my knowledge we had no dyslexia on either side of the family.  I had graduated with honors when I earned my B.S. in Education.  Peter earned a B.A. in History and went on to earn a M.A. in Government and a J.D..  I was struggling to believe that our child could have dyslexia.

But, I knew it was true.  It just made perfect sense.  We had used a strong phonics program and it hadn't worked.  I knew there was something deeper.

I was looking for answers but this was not the answer I wanted.  I was hoping for a quick fix but it was not to be. 

It took a few days for the tears to wash away the numb feeling inside me.  Then I did what every mother would do.  I began to research how to help my child.  But, the fear still threatened to paralyze me as I wondered about the future. 

I immediately enrolled this child in intensive one on one therapy for the next six months.  It was incredibly expensive but we had just moved and were expecting a new baby soon (in addition to homeschooling three other children and corralling two preschoolers).  I knew that I would not be able to help right away.  .

We were now on our way but I still needed my Abba Father to take away the fear and replace it with peace and hope.  He began to show me that this child was His creation.  This new diagnoses was no shock to my loving, heavenly Father:)  My child was not broken but perfectly made by a loving creator...every.single.detail...for a specific purpose.  I had to release the child that I expected and celebrate the amazing, talented person that this child is...a gifted child who has dyslexia.  Dyslexia is not something wrong.  It's everything that is right about this child.  It's what gives this child an incredibly high intellect, musical talents, artistic abilities, and technical/problem solving skills.  Watch for an upcoming post on the gifts of dyslexia:)

Over the next months, I began researching dyslexia.  I needed to hear success stories, understand what dyslexia is, how to teach my child, and learn to celebrate this new phase of life.  So, after putting many, many hours into research, I thought I would make a list of the resources that I found helpful for anyone who is just beginning this journey.  It's a journey of celebration and not fear!  So, if your child has just been diagnosed with dyslexia, rejoice.  Your child can and will do amazing things!

 Just for fun:

Overcoming Dyslexia by Sally Shaywitz, M.D.
Dyslexia 101 by Marianne Sunderland
Brain Integration Therapy by Diane Craft

Susan Barton has a number of helpful videos and articles at brightsolutions for understanding dyslexia...and what it isn't.  
Dianne Craft offers helpful instruction for brain integration therapy to open blocked learning gates.  She also has some great nutritional ideas to balance kids' systems.



Here are a few keys that I learned in the process.
*Dyslexia runs in families.  This means that we may see it again in other children.  All the more reason for me to become proficient at teaching according to these new methods.
*There are preschool warning signs.  This makes me happy that I can watch for them and sad that I didn't know them years ago.  I was a classroom teacher and surely missed out on helping many children because of my lack of knowledge in this area...not to mention missing it earlier in my own child.
*Dyslexia is simply a brain that processes language differently.  My child will read the word "woods" as "forest" visualizing each word before saying it when reading aloud.  That is pretty amazing!  And, it explains why the process may take a bit longer.
*Dyslexics can compensate by memorizing an amazing number of words which can mask what is going on inside.  Because of this, they can sometimes read at a higher level than where they would test.  But, when they are given nonsense words, they will not be able to sound them out using phonics.

*I received no compensation of any kind for any information in this post.  This is just me sharing:)

1 comment:

  1. I am so happy you wrote this! We are having our son tested this year after three years of trying three different curriculum, I have come to accept he is most likely very dyslexic. I have a high school son that did not read until ten and then he just got it and now excels at reading. So I was thinking maybe the same thing was happening, but in truth I have know he need more help. SO he will be tested this year through our charter school and he is being tutored. I am really curious what curriculum do you use for him? Which one help him learn to read? I have read lots of Susan Barton this summer and watched videos but I am not sure about her program. Any tips would be appreciated.