The Awful Truth About Dyslexia Services at School

My child is bright and tenacious; a curious little guy who’s always had a love for learning. He could snap a puzzle together in no time flat, and often spent hours studying how things worked. He’s brilliant and clever, and he’s the only child in the world with Dyslexia. OK, I’m exaggerating, but that is exactly what it felt like the first few months after he got a dyslexia diagnosis.

At first, when we got the diagnosis, I was thrilled! We finally had a reason why my bright little boy was struggling so bad. I sat in that specialist’s office, beaming. Yes! The specialist saw the incredibly smart, intuitive, amazing little mind that my husband and I always knew was there. We finally had some answers, so we could start making this world easier for him! However, the longer we sat there, the more my joy turned into despair. The more I looked into the world of dyslexia, the more horrified I became.

I value our son’s educational team, but I felt as if I were more prepared than the school, armed only with a little knowledge from a book I picked up at the public library, and a handful of conversations on a parent of dyslexic children Facebook page. It was like my child was the only child they had ever heard of who was dyslexic! We left that first IEP meeting after the diagnosis feeling defeated. This isn’t our first rodeo with special education, or Individualized Education Plans as my son has multiple disabilities. It had never been all sunshine and rainbows, however, dyslexia is the only diagnosis I had ever heard of before. So why was the school more prepared for his other issues but not dyslexia which I thought was more mainstream? Why had the school not caught on to the fact he was dyslexic? Isn’t that what they are trained for? Hadn’t we moved to our small, quiet suburb for their great schools? So why were they failing us?

The awful truth is public schools are ill equipped, at best, their only provision being an aide with a workbook in the resource room. It wasn’t my son’s school district failing us, American schools as a whole are failing students with dyslexia. In the short three months my son has been diagnosed, I have found that mentioning “dyslexia” in a public school, is the equivalent of yelling “Fire!” in a crowded place. Schools do not want to go down the long, dark, expensive path that is dyslexia remediation. Some districts go as far as refusing to say a child is dyslexic. I know this sounds like a far fetched fictional tale, but this was the harsh reality we were unknowingly thrust into.

In short, I’m not asking for an all expenses paid vacation to Disney World. I’m just asking that my son be given a chance to read. To read! I’m asking that the educational system step up and do right by our children, to provide them the fair and equal education they deserve. Our children are the presidents, lawyers, doctors, scientists and most importantly, parents of America’s future. Why not give them the building blocks to make the future the best it can be?

However, until that happens, I’m going to keep fighting for my child. I am and will continue to be his biggest advocate, facing every obstacle that comes our way head on. The outlook was bleak, but I know deep down, through sweat, tears and lots of hard work, one day, very soon, he’s going to be able to read this.

Getty image by djedzura

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