I haven’t hidden it. Evan’s had a rough go of it. It’s never affected his outgoing, funny, inquisitive, sweet, and kind nature… or his love of learning. But, school has not been easy.
Nothing was every noticed in preschool or kinder. He was just learning the numbers, the letters, routines, and rules.
But in first grade, he wasn’t keeping up. His reading was very medial and wasn’t progressing. I was even surprised that a classmate of his told me that “Evan doesn’t even know his popcorn words.” So when I met with his teacher at the end of the year, and she let me know that he was a good candidate for retention, I cried. I was relieved and happy. I knew that it would be best for him. And the weight of my worries fell out all over my face. (poor teacher, having to witness that)
That summer, we all went through the upheaval of the divorce and the move. But we were given the blessing of his dad staying in one school’s boundaries, me moving into another. His dad and I saw the advantages of Evan attending the new elementary, but also saw the comfort of staying with the school he already knew. He chose the new school (just because it would be across the street from his brother at the middle school). But, weighing all of the pros and cons, I was thrilled that he chose this new adventure.
First grade? He got a very patient and kind teacher. She tried to keep him up with everyone’s pace. And she obviously loved him. It was a good year.
But then came second. His grades dropped quite noticeably. He had office referrals. He wasn’t paying attention. He was having emotional meltdowns. He was being immature. He wasn’t keeping up. By the third phone call from his teacher, I was convinced that she didn’t like him (as inaccurate as that was), that friends were starting to hate him, that he was going to be teased, that he was going to get left behind. So I met with the teacher and counselor. He got signed up for the Title 1 reading program, which meant heading to school 30 minutes earlier than usual, four days a week. I also hired a private tutor, which meant an hour at the library two days a week. We studied hard. We read. We went over popcorn words and tested reading comprehension. He passed second grade. But something was wrong. And it wasn’t ADD or ADHD (like I felt his teacher was trying to tell me we should have him tested for). I knew my kid. I could feel it in my gut that it was something else.
So I had him privately tested during the summer… for all kinds of things. Lo and behold, dyslexia!
They taught me all about how his brain works, how he understands the world around him, how he sees what he’s trying to read, etc.
So I finally had reasons why he would confuse front door/back door, left/right or fridge versus freezer. That’s why spelling tests were SO hard, no matter how long we studied. It contributed to his horrible handwriting. It’s why he was dramatic, explorative, creative, empathetic, intuitive, and so artistic. We had answers. Good ones! Because now we had a solution!
Next came the support of sweet friends and family, that sent over lots of resources. Then Evan’s daddy attended a dyslexia conference in Austin. We got him into the dyslexia program at his school. And I signed him up for some brain re-training and dyslexia help at our local Learning Foundations (we started this with three sessions a week, but moved down to two when money got too tight).
And what a year 3rd grade was! <Insert pause for me to stop and cry. Geeze, Amy!> Still, studying for spelling tests was NOT easy. But his reading and reading comprehension greatly improved. His writing got better. He was finally “getting” the sounds of the letters and letter combos. His grades were wonderful. He was so proud of himself. School was a happy place for him. He adored his teachers, and I felt like they adored him (so I tried really hard not to act smitten when I saw them). No more meltdowns or office referrals. He was keeping up. And from what I hear, he was a leader and helper in his class. I was able to not only breathe a sigh of relief… but I was able to really enjoy this school year and his accomplishments. Loved seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, and can’t wait to see what next year (and the future) holds for my little man!
Are you dealing with any of this? Have you been in those low places? Are you a cheerleader for your dyslexic kid? Or are you, yourself, dyslexic? How have the school years been so far? What big accomplishments have you seen? Would love to hear your thoughts below!
Need some answers? Want to do some research? Here are some links!
Needing help and support in the San Antonio/Boerne area? There are two Learning Foundations locations! Your child can get help tailored to their needs!
And then, just a bunch of words from his teachers and classmates, that brought me to tears (I’m a cry-er). Because, what is better than knowing your child is loved and appreciated?!