A New Path with Dylslexia
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams!Henry David Thoreau
Some paths we choose.
Other paths are chosen for us.
Her handfuls of stones are for tossing into the creek. They seem a fitting image for the story she carries to school each day. A balancing, a weight, and, hopefully, a successful adventure in the end.
Last week, I was picking her up when I heard results of recent testing. Long time readers may remember My Daughter, Learning to Learn. Last year we discovered that she has troubles processing sounds, an Auditory Processing Disorder. She recevies extra help at school and I work with her a lot. We spent this year focusing on phonetic structures. How sounds feel when we say them, how they link together and come apart. And she is making progress. Not at the same rate as her peers, but still. A couple of weeks ago she read the Cat in the Hat (a few pages) and was incredibly proud of herself.
At the same time, she's tired. She comes home from school exhausted most days. Homework is a stretch of patience and stamina. We supplement with games and practice on the iPad, but she will give me that look, the one saying, "I am spent. Is there really more?" And she's aware that her friends are moving faster quicker. She has an amazing teacher and the school is completely supportive. She is getting help, but she has not had a formal assessment. Until last month.
"She's has all the classic markers," our specialist said. I teach at the school so she and I share ideas outside the formal meetings. "First of all, your girl is so smart!"
I knew, of course I knew. It was still gratifying to hear.
"She sees big concepts and her visual memory is very strong. She is very bright."
Which is nice to hear from others when you work with a struggling child. I see her light and hear her stories. I want that celebrated and not lost under the learning challenges.
"She has dyslexia."
Oh. I assumed that the specialist was going to share the Auditory Processing, not open a whole new path through the forest. I took the news in stride. They are connected. The left side of my girl's brain is not doing its job. For some unknown reason, tasks have been reassigned to the right side of the brain. So she sees logic and big ideas. She adores storytelling and creative thinking. And, yet, written language is a muddled mess. Sounds and symbols are a constantly shifting quagmire.
I have been reading about Dyslexia since then and I'm getting a better picture of the world through my daughter's eyes. Luckily, she has been held with such confidence and support that her self-esteem remains strong (mostly). We have a meeting at the end of the month to gather our ideas and make goals. She will officially become a Special Education student. A girl with a Learning Disability.
I celebrate the different-thinkers. I celebrate the new ideas. I celebrate the hidden beauty in tangled paths. And I will help her along this journey. She has a very strong support network. I will keep the story going here, along with ideas that work (or don't work). Right now, we've already switched homework so she does the bulk of it on the weekend. She said yesterday that it was easier to finish on a weekend-day. She wasn't so tired.
I was glad, really, getting a diagnosis.
My relief may sound strange. As anyone with a disability knows, though, information is everything. Getting the label means getting the help. And that is all good. The underlying challenges are there, whether you have a diagnosis or not. This way, we can get her help and accommodations. Because she shines.
She will blaze her own path :)