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When I Worry About the Challenges My Son With Dyslexia Will Face

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Our oldest son, John, is dyslexic. He’s so sweet. He works so hard. He got his reading abilities from his daddy and me and my daddy and my brother. That’s just how the ball bounces.

John is a homeschooled senior in high school. He takes dual credit courses at the university near our home. It hasn’t been easy. As he neared graduation, he decided he wanted to join the Navy and be a first responder.

With the help of some friends, it was determined that he might consider some certifications to streamline his career pursuits. An associate’s degree as a paramedic made sense to him.


Not just because he’s been homeschooled and I feel the stress of his challenges. I worry about what he may encounter — tender-hearted as he is. Mommas with children who face challenges, I know you hear me. We just want them to feel OK. We want them to be successful.

We know these children. We know they are more than the sum of their standardized test scores. They’re more than that bubble-filled sheet. They’re more.

He is brave.

He is kind.

He’s more than his test scores can convey.

This morning, John left for his medical personnel CPR certification.

I paced.

I prayed.

Please, I don’t want him to be discouraged or humiliated. Worse still, I don’t want him to give up. You gave him a hero’s heart. Please.

At lunch, John called and sounded great. But he reported on the written exam he’d missed all but one. I told him to meet his father and me for lunch.

We were heartbroken.

Our young man strolled into the restaurant with a huge smile on his face. I just wanted to wrap him up and love on him.

“Well,” I gently inquired, “now what?”

He chirped, “I’m done! I’ll take my packet to the school.”

We were confused. I said, “You said you missed all but one?”

And John interjected, “What? I did pass.” He rubbed his head and face, laughed and explained it was his dyslexia. “I meant I got all of them right but one! I got a 95.”

Cheers and laughter erupted. He joyfully told us which one he missed and explained his folly. He was elated and excited to face the future. He was proud. He did it.

He will do great things.

More than the sum of their test scores — just more. Don’t give up encouraging these unique children. Don’t doubt they will have boundless and mind-blowing accomplishments. You’re right about your children — they are outstanding. Sometimes it can be hard, but hard is good. Hard means there are challenges. A challenge can mean depth of character.

Your child may be “different” — it separates them from the pack.

The Mighty is asking the following: What’s one thing people might not know about your experience with disability, disease or mental illness, and what would you say to teach them? If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images

Originally published: April 11, 2016
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