L has been having problems with his reading. Since… forever.
It has just been such an odd departure from how quickly he grasps his other school work.
It’s no effort at all to understand Maths, and Life skills etc, but reading…. Oh. My. Goodness.
He just was NOT getting it!
He also procrastinated so badly and gave untold uphill when needing to do reading homework. It’s caused major anxiety in our home, and many of you can relate, I am sure!
I had raised the issue with his teacher in Grade R already – I saw the writing on the wall, so to speak. However, I was told it is too early to really press these issues.
In Grade 1 we started seeing that things were not ok. He was one of the brightest in the class, but one of the worst readers. Now for those of you who know me, you need to know I am THAT Mom. I am the Helicopter parent who wants to be on top of things IMMEDIATELY.
I am always there, always making sure I have not missed something. Overprotective one might say. But let me tell you this – I know my kid, and I have Mother’s intuition and a right to use it. I also have a very fiery personality and I will fight for my kids. I may neglect myself, but my kids are going to get representation.
So, after doing loads of extra classes, remedial reading, and extra lessons… Nothing changed. Frustration mounted, he felt bad about himself (Despite us trying very hard not to make a big deal of it), and it reached a point that we thought we had really failed him, as parents.
Had we not read enough to him as a small child?
Do we not pay enough attention? Urg… We felt so small and helpless.
I’ve been involved in higher education for most of my adult life in a professional capacity, but please dear heavens don’t task me with a Primary school age child to teach – It’s like torture. Pulling my nails off kind of torture.
I’m not proud of it – I thought I was going to Mary Poppins my way through my kid’s younger years.
Nope. Not me!
But I knew something was not right.
This was just too hard for him.
Oh, and when his friends started writing pages of stories and reading BOOKS, I felt like a Squirrel who had lost his winter stash of nuts! I went very A-Type and started researching and calling people like a mad woman. No no no.... It's not ok to be THAT behind. Sorry.
Lock down has it’s benefits. Some Moms get to see their kid walking for the first time, others get to see that their kids do not need to be entertained all the time to be happy. I learned that L was not just a slow reader. Something was WRONG. I have been homeschooling and I can tell that things are not getting better. It’s not ok.
We have been blessed with amazing teachers for my son’s whole life. I feel blessed by knowing many of them! This year at a new school is no different. His teacher gave me the details I needed to have eyes, ears and brain checked. Ok not really brain but sort of. Educational Psychologist to check for IQ and potential dyslexia.
I felt like if it was one of the other options, I wanted to check those first, because play therapy is extremely long and $$$$$$$$$$$$$. I don’t want to traumatize him, right? So we test eyes first.
We went in, and tests were done.
They were pretty great with Logan.
When he sat down for one of the tests I had an “AHA Moment”.
I saw his eyes jerking back and forth as he was reading the numbers to the optometrist.
As if his eyes were the skating rink, and his instead of gliding on them, there were chunks of ice gauged out and he was stopping every millisecond to avoid the holes.
I knew instantly that his eyes were not managing to process something correctly.
As the rest of the 3 hour assessment finalized, the optometrist gave me a lovely description of what was happening – My boy child has two eyes that work independently of one another instead of as a team, and then when that picture gets to his Amygdala, it takes WAY longer than it should and the brain decodes it incorrectly.
In essence, I was told that had he not come to be seen to, he would never have been able to really read!
He is currently in grade 2, and his reading is below that of a Grade 1 child. His eye movements are so erratic that he reads about 5 times slower than he should be for his age.
The amazing news is that this is fixable! We have had to embark on a gruesome eye exercise regime, 3 times a day.
We are working to get his eyes to read from left to right, and work as a team. When we go back in a month, they revise the exercises and we test again to see if there is improvement.
So we have a plan. Life is not what we expect, and we wish L didn’t have to deal with the kind of thing that he is right now, but it is shaping his character, and our resolve to do well by him.
I can already see a difference when he reads. It’s amazing that people have figured these awesome things out. I’m so grateful.
I’m also grateful that when we push hard for what we know our kids need, we get answers.
Never stand down Moms – You know your kid better than anyone! And with God’s help, everything we notice is amplified. He speaks for our children through us, if we let Him.
I wish I had done it sooner.