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Date Posted: 15:36:32 11/11/12 Sun
Dyslexic Son Breaks the Mold
My son was not diagnosed with dyslexia until he was 11 years old--long story but typical. Yes, he is far behind his peers in reading, etc. But, he compensates, uses AT, etc. When he was formally diagnosed, it was very difficult for him to embrace it. He realized that it would not go away. Yes, he gets all the required help, etc. Yes, we had to hire an advocate, etc. Now, he is doing well. His problem has a name (dyslexia). The remarkable piece of this story centers around what happened after the diagnoses in terms of his focus. Believe it or not, his confidence grew significantly. He started to excel in sports unlike any kid that most of his coaches have seen. He took risks in areas such as theater and voice that others would have not done. He does not like the dyslexia. The diagnoses initially demoralized him but it also empowered him. I saw that he wanted to focus on his strengths. He is not going to have the same reading level as his peers--such is life. The school is doing a great job. But, most middle-high school students with dyslexia may not want the remediation anymore. Some do quite well with AT, self discovery and self advocacy. Such is not the solution for everyone. My son has a journey in his life. It is not my journey. As a parent, I am trying to ensure that he has every opportunity to learn, develop his skills and to keep reading and learning. Also, I support his desire to excel in sports. I am thrilled he wants to attend college. I am more thrilled that he has developed a level of self-confidence and faith in God to get through those days when his dyslexia burdens him. It has been an exhausting journey for him and our family. When I saw him put his energy and focus into his favorite hobbies (sports) and excelled at it, I knew he was happy. Of course, I can push for him to get more remediation in school, ESY, after-school tutoring, etc. You name it, and he can get it. But, such is balanced with his needs and desires. He does not do ESY anymore as he wants to attend sports camps in the summer. Yet, he does required reading, etc. It is a balance. Recently, I met a fantastic mother. She told me that the school district paid for her son to attend a private school for dyslexia, etc. He attended for two years and looked at her and said, "I want to return to the school district to be with my friends." The mom agreed and did not return him to the school the following year. The boy, who is now a teenager, is very happy. Her son did make progress at the private school but he missed his community--was it the right decision for the mother to make? It was the right decision for her son and her. That is what it is all about. As parents, we balance the child's needs, the remediation options, etc. My son did not have the benefit of Wilson, OG, etc. during his early years. But, he is fine. I stopped worrying and focused on the total person and his needs. I was pushing the reading so much that I did not see his many other gifts. Once such was revealed to me, he grew and so did I. I encourage parents to fight for services for their kids. I also advise them to look at the total kid. My son is very happy when he plays sports. He is part of a team and he excels. He translates such into his school work. For some other kids, it may be theater, music, art, etc. We, as parents, must direct them to areas that encourage their many gifts. Guess what, my son (after I stopped stressing) is reading almost every night. He is in a great program at school READ180. It is not the best program, but it is working for him. I am just happy that he is reading and enjoys the books, the progress monitoring, a dedicated teacher, etc. He did have Wilson up until a year ago but for an older student it can be quite laborious but it was helpful and effective. Next year, it was our intention for him to attend a private high school that is specifically geared for dyslexic students. We had saved money and was willing to invest our resources to pay for it. The bottom line is that he is getting FAPE at his school. The bottom line is that he has met many other kids at his school with LD who are succeeding. The bottom line is that he loves his community, his friends, etc. These are kids that he is "growing up" with. These kids all support each other in so many ways. My main goal is that my son is happy and making adequate progress. As a mom of an older dyslexic student, he is happy and is making progress. He has come a long way and so have I.
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