Friday, March 28, 2008

The Disease-which-will-be-named

Huge sigh of relief yesterday--we learned that we aren't barking up the wrong tree with Mr. T. The beginning of his dyslexia evaluation went well, but we still won't know anything definitive for another month (3 weeks until he takes a whole lot of tests, probably another week after that when we sit down to review results and the psychologist's recommendation--so of course, not until the school year is nearly over). Still and all, the psychologist ticked off a good portion of the "Dyslexia Checklist" and seemed to agree that it was the likely diagnosis.

I look at my son and I can't help think of Harry Potter and Professor Dumbledore's Pensieve. You know the bit where they stick the wand in their ear and pull out a thin strand of memory to stir into the Pensieve? It's like someone poked a wand in Mr. T's ear, but managed to scramble up his cerebral cortex just enough to cause confusion for the poor kid. 4 X 8 = 23. The bog went ot the yarb, dut cuobln't jumg the fenz. The information enters okay, it's on the way back out that gives him trouble.

I don't know much about dyslexia. I've no idea what accomodations can be made or if this is something he'll outgrow or pull through with enough help. What I do know is this: Mr. T is brave. He has so much courage and takes all of his problems--the epilepsy, the medications, the struggles in school, the battle with handwriting-- in stride and that makes me so proud of the boy he is now and the man he'll likely become thanks to all of this character-building God's providing. He told me yesterday that he wants to repeat 3rd grade and "I should probably take math this summer." Instead of viewing this as a deficiency or failure on his part, he accepts it with surprising grace.

I'm thankful that we're finally naming the problem--and it's not something horrible, it's just dyslexia. And like Harry Potter, if we have can call something awful by it's name, it's not so scary anymore.

In other news, The Earth's Hour is this Saturday from 8-9 p.m. Be part of the event! Turn off, or at least turn down your electricity use--be part of this annual global rolling blackout designed to heighten awareness of climate change and human impact.


  1. Please give Mr T a big hug--it brings tears to my eyes to think he so sure of himself and that he thinks it will help him repeat 3rd grade!!! You can take alot of credit for his self assurance at such a young age!!! Keep up the great "work" you are doing with those boys!! Prayer also helps.

  2. Mr. T is a wonderful young man. And you're a lucky mom.

  3. Well done - naming things DOES make them easier to deal with.

    My best friend is dyslexic - and in the 70's early 80's schools did not cope well with idea that she wasn't just stupid or lazy, she was very bright and intelligent, but didn't take any exams.

    Now things have totally changed, everyone knows that dyslexic doesn't mean lazy - it is just some dodgy info wiring from the eye to the brain.

    My two have lots of friends at school who have dyslexia - they have all sorts of different ways of managing it from coloured glasses to just having extra help. Higher up in the senior school, they seem to do very well in their exams. They are bright kids, who often have to use their memory more than the average kid to get them through. But it works!

    You are obviously giving him loads of confidence - and that's the perfect thing to do.

    Have a lovely weekend,
    Hen x

  4. Isn't it a relief sometimes just to finally name it? I'm glad he has you.

  5. Now you know and now you can help him move forward. He's an amazing boy with many talents and gifts, including, it seems, wisdom and maturity.

  6. Having a name makes all the difference. My Danger Boy has Tourette Syndrome; knowing what you're dealing with allows you to start dealing. Good luck.

  7. I came across you post in google alert for dyslexia. Just to let you know my daughter and I both have dyslexia. You will find it is hereditary. Don't worry, there is a lot you can do to help your son with a language therapist. If there was a good time to have dyslexia, the time would be now because we now know so much more about the brain and it can even be seen in MRIs. The best book I have found that I recommend to read is "Overcoming Dyslexia" I found it shocking that 1 out of 5 children are thought to have dyslexia however only 85% ever know or get proper therapy. Dyslexia can be mild, moderate or severe and can be audio. My daughter was tested at public school at the end of 1st grade only because I insisted on having her tested after seeing how much she struggled. It reminded me of what I went through in school. The school's test came up with she was average even through she could not read nor hardly spell and her writing was really bad. I questioned the test and found they do not conduct a full length test especially in the area of IQ which is very important in the testing process. Although they passed my daughter to 2nd grade, she asked if she could repeat 1st grade because she did not feel like she learned. We moved her to private school and gave 2nd grade one six weeks however it was way over her head and she was frustrated and depressed so we moved her to another private school where she ask to go back to 1st grade. She made the choice and it has been the best thing for her although she now reads she still struggles with both reading and spelling so we decided to test her with dyslexia specialist and she concluded she has moderate dyslexia and we're getting her the help she needs by hiring a language therapist. Looking back I can see how it was more obvious than I realized beginning with her speech. The process have been expensive and insurance sadly does not cover anything which I believe is why most kids don't get the help they need. I will you all the best. Love and blessings!

  8. You are doing such lovely, thoughtful and honest mothering of this child! He is going to be not just fine, but GREAT.

  9. J4's LD doesn't have a "name"-- they say it's not dyslexia, rather it is still "undefined reading disability". He managed to hang on by his fingernails for the past few years and keep up, but middle school has been rough and he has really fallen behind instead of hanging in there.

    After I saw his latest report card, I am seriously considering not letting him go to high school next year. This has all kinds of social stuff attached to it as well as educational, so I don't know what we're going to do. I almost wish we'd followed our gut back when the boys were small and we were set to send them to a private school and hold them both back (J3 is an August BOY...need I say more?), but in some ways we can see that would've been disastrous just because of that particular school.

    It's hard to know what to do.

  10. Take some credit. Mr. T is well adjusted because you've done well as his mom.

    Thanks for the reminder on Earth Hour, we are anxious to participate.

  11. I think you'll find putting a name to it will take a humongous load off your back, emotionally. And he will no doubt succeed with all the love and support he's receiving from you!

  12. At least with knowing what the problem is it can be addressed.

    The kids have "Turn off the tv" week when they return from Spring Break. A week??!?!?

  13. Hugs to your brave little man! True dyslexia is actually pretty rare, so it's great that you can name it and find out great techniques to work through it. I have a student with severe learning challenges that voluntarily repeated 3rd grade last year. Because he had such a great attitude about it he is doing GREAT this year. I mean, really, really great! I am not a big fan on retention at all, but I do think that attitude makes a huge difference!


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