The Thing About Dyslexia :: Go Red for Dyslexia Month

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When my twin girls were born into this world, my hopes were high for them. Yet, after a traumatic birth and countless doctors reminding us to “not be hopeful”, those hopes and dreams faded from, “I hope she is President”, to “I hope she can speak, or hear, or walk”. It’s odd how things can change so quickly and what you hope for can become the things that are often easily taken for granted. So, when one of the girls started meeting her milestones and the other one didn’t, I was prepared. At the age of 3, we had her tested for everything and anything. I was prepared for whatever they threw at me. Being that young, though, the bigger disabilities were really the only ones that were going to show up, so we waited.

Something Wrong

My girls were born 9 weeks early in August of 2010. Because of this, we chose to hold them back in school and have them repeat kindergarten. The first year we knew was a trial. Not surprisingly, both girls needed help in reading and writing. I was okay with that and had even expected it; they were only four years old when they started kindergarten.

After the second year of kindergarten, all of first grade, and then half of second grade, I became concerned. One sister was right on track and exceeded her educational targets, while the other one was barely able to read a sentence without assistance. Homework was a dreaded and exhausting task. There was lots of crying, screaming, and tears from both of us. This couldn’t be the way it was supposed to be, right!? Her teachers kept reassuring me that she would catch up and reminding me that she was excelling in math, science, and history.

However, one thing I have learned from being a parent is that if your gut says something is wrong, you should go with that! We must to be ready to push forward and get more information when needed. 

The Diagnosis

Then, we pushed! When my daughter was tested for dyslexia it was clear and obvious. The tester said she is 100% textbook dyslexic. She explained to us that dyslexia is what happens when the brain can not comprehend words on a page. They jump around and make sentences confusing. Letters are turned around and everything seems out of place. Who in the world could read a sentence if the letters and words were all jumbled up? What dyslexia DOES NOT MEAN is that someone is unintelligent. Dyslexic people are actually highly intelligent and can be off the charts or gifted in other areas. The portion of their brain that does not manage language is more powerful. Dyslexic people tend to be able to memorize easily, do math well, be analytical, and use engineering skills more easily than others. 

Our Next Steps

We chose to enroll our daughter in a school for kids that have learning disabilities. We are so blessed to have such a wonderful program right here in Birmingham! This school has figured out that kids with learning disabilities learn better by using their bodies. They learn by touch, feel, and motion. Those actions trigger the non-disabled parts of their brains and then they are off to the races! 

Blakely’s First Day of School at Spring Valley

Having a child with a learning disability is definitely a challenge. It requires extra work and a shifting of the typical mind-set. Thinking “outside the box” is the only way to think. Her disability has definitely not held her back since we’ve been able to get her the help she needs.

October is dyslexia awareness month. It is a month where we acknowledge and celebrate those who learn differently. Our daughter has shown us so many new ways to approach learning and life. We even find success with our other kids by using some of these methods. I would encourage any parent who is curious about dyslexia or wonders if their child has a learning disability to ask questions. Ask teachers, faculty, and tutors what their thoughts are. Get second opinions. There is so much information out there about learning disabilities. If you live in the Birmingham area, Spring Valley School has lots of resources and information to help guide you and assist you. 

Fun Facts

 

Just for fun here are some of the successful people in our world who are known to be dyslexic. You will notice a common theme here. Most of them excelled in areas of creativity. Embrace your learning disability! It can take you far! 

  • Richard Branson
  • Thomas Edison
  • Tom Cruise
  • Walt Disney
  • Magic Johnson
  • Steve Jobs
  • Jennifer Anniston 
  • Kate Hudson 
  • Winston Churchill

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