Thursday, November 10, 2011

Learning Differently and Dyslexia

Learning Differently

A year ago this month, my own 9 year old was diagnosed with a learning disability. It is most likely dyslexia, based on the symptoms, but I don't know for sure since a neurologist's scan of the brain is the only conclusive test. For me it's not about having a signed paper by a M.D. She show most of the signs of a dyslexic, so for me that's good enough. This is something that I naively thought that as an educated teacher I could somehow prevent. Nothing will ever change me in the classroom more than learning that what I do every day isn't enough to educate my own child. How could I be that person? How could I not help kids that other teachers have allowed to fall through the cracks?

Since that first a-ha moment 14 months ago, I have researched feverishly trying to find how I can fix her learning problem. What I learned about dyslexics surprised me so much that I feel compelled to share her story. She continues to be ashamed of her inability to read aloud in class, spell simple words correctly, or take notes. What she doesn't know, however, is that she is well spoken, compassionate, and mature beyond her years. Some day I am certain that she will run her own business or lead others in some way. But every day it breaks my heart that she hates school.

Below are listed a series of great resources for kids of all ages...even the older ones. The unidentified students "caught in the middle" especially need hope since a learning disability without intervention increases their chances of dropping out. I hope you find something to use or that inspires!

She was in town giving a free seminar right about the time I started suspecting my daughter's learning problem. Ten minutes into the information she presented, I was in tears. She was talking as if she personally knew my child. She was inspired to change her entire career for the love of her nephew. Her site is full of free and insightful information. If you are just starting, look through all she has to offer first. She has a wealth of experience and has developed a home problem that parents can use at home.

The special education teacher uses this program with my daughter at school. It has helped her to make AMAZING progress. I would recommend it to anyone, but should be presented by trained teachers.

A group that puts together a yearly convention for the improvement of those struggling with dyslexia. It was here in Phoenix last year, immediately following me writing my daughter's IEP. They provide incredible support to parents and teachers alike.

This online site has so many resources available online.

A different way of looking at educating all kids. There are free online staff development and countless resources as well.

What I showed my daughter...I just wish she knew how incredibly successful all of these individuals are.

Then she, having seen this in emails forwarded around, told me that this is what it feels like being dyslexic. "I'm running like all the other kids, then something happens and I get left behind.  But luckily someone's always there to help's so embarrassing, just like I'm sure it was for that guy!" 


Wise Owl Factory said...

Thank you for explaining all this and providing resources. The videos were very inspiring. Carolyn Wilhelm

Sherrie said...

I am in tears after watching the video of that race. TFS! I know without a doubt I am a much more compassionate teacher now that I have my own kids. I always treat my students exactly how I would treat my boys (actually I am way more patient with my students than my poor kids). ;)

pacrapacma said...

I was not a good reader. I avoided it when I was young. I never read assigned books in high school, and no one noticed. You are doing a wonderful job with your daughter. You've noticed and are getting her help. Give yourself a pat on the back.
I taught elementary school for seven years and was trained in Reading Recovery. My mission these days is finding inexpensive and effective ways for parents to teach their own children to read.
My daughter had problems learning to read. I think it had something to do with the way she was taught to read in school. My very best friend's daughter is 9 years old and having trouble with reading. I gave my friend resources, books, and advice. It wasn't enough. I feel like I failed them both! I feel awful that I didn't help her more earlier. I'm working with her daughter one on one for 45 minutes once a week and sending home books with her.
I'm getting closer to finding just the right books and ways for parents to help with reading through research and trial and error. If I can be of help, please contact me through my blog or at we teach.
Best Wishes,
Michelle Breum

Caught in the Middle said...

Thank you all for stopping by and sharing your thoughts with me! It is definitely a topic I feel strongly about. Since the research shows as many as 1 in 5 fall somewhere on the dyslexic spectrum, I felt the topic deserved mention and resources.

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