I was sitting at the hairdresser’s shop, reading an article in a women’s magazine. Suddenly I realized: This is my child! The article is talking about my child. Each sentence re-enforced this realization. They are talking about my son.
The article was about dyslexia, describing the characteristics of dyslexic children. I don’t remember the exact details of the article, as 25 years have passed since. However, this was the first time I ever heard of dyslexia. This was the first time I learned that Reading and Writing, these learned skills, skills that almost everyone succeeds in mastering, may be very difficult to very intelligent people diagnosed with dyslexia.
Unbelievable. This piece of information was the most important piece of information I have ever received in my life. Now I understood, that my son was not lazy, my son needed help. Till then I tried to teach my son by forcing him to sit down and repeat again and again words and letters. That was not easy and in some way looked cruel. But what was the alternative? Can a person succeed in our world without the knowledge of reading and writing?
25 years ago my son, Kevin, was 10 years old. At that time, awareness about dyslexia was quite low. I remember talking to my son’s teachers and educational counselors and being amazed about their ignorance on this topic. How can it be that a women’s magazine publishes information about learning disabilities that professional educators are not familiar with. The best were those teachers, principals and psychologists who admitted their ignorance but were eager to learn more about dyslexia. The worse were those educators who pretended to know everything or were simply indifferent to the condition. Against these people you have to decide to fight.
I hate arguments and conflicts but sometimes you have no choice. After all, Kevin is my son, and my son must know that his parents fully support him and will fight for him.
My husband and I embarked on a battle to educate my son’s school about dyslexia. It was no easy tasks, and sometimes I wondered what happens to all those children whose parents do not know how to persistently argue a case until it is won…
After a long battle we were able to adjust the learning conditions of my son in his school. At certain points we realized that our son understood his parent’s defense incorrectly. He began to behave as if he was granted permission to do in school whatever he wanted, avoiding assignments and tasks that he did not wish to perform. I was informed that he was coming in late to school almost every morning. Coming late to school is not one of the privileges a dyslexic child is entitled to. It is important that you fight for privileges that are required to compensate for your child being dyslexic, but at the same time make sure that your child is not abusing these privileges to avoid his responsibilities.
My son’s son (my grandson) has recently been diagnosed with dyslexia. When looking back, I feel that some conclusions may be drawn from my experience of raising a dyslexic child:
1. Look at the truth straight in the face. If you suspect a problem, consult a good and reliable therapist. Consulting does not tag any child in a negative manner.
2. Although your child may be treated by the best professionals, keep being involved with his progress.
3. If your child experiences misunderstandings at school and you are expected to intervene, examine all facts and sides carefully, before forming an opinion.
4. And last: although dyslexic children may reach high achievements, they usually cannot overcome all spelling errors from appearing in their writings. Here is where assistive technology (like Ghotit Writing Assistive Technology) offers its value.
Ghotit hosts from time to time guest blog posts about dyslexia.
The writers of these posts may be dyslexics, dyslexic family members, dyslexic tutors, teachers, assistive technology specialists or any other writer as long as the post provides quality information about dyslexia.
This is the second hosted post by Mary, a parent of a dyslexic.