Take Action

Parents, when you see many of the early warning signs of dyslexia in your child, take action — as this parent finally did. 

Debbie has always been an extremely bright child.

She loved preschool, but not kindergarten. She had extreme trouble with sounds, particularly vowels. She could never do the worksheets where you have to fill in the vowel sound. We had her hearing tested, which was fine. I did Hooked on Phonics and every other phonics thing I could lay my hands on.

By the end of second grade, her reading had progressed somewhat (but was nothing like my older daughter’s reading). Debbie just couldn’t seem to pick it up, and she could not sound out anything. She skipped many words (even the small ones, like he, at, to, it), and I was confused when she said a totally different word than the one on the page (vacation instead of trip, frog instead of toad, etc.) She spent a lot of time looking at the pictures.

And she couldn’t spell at all. Her teachers said her inventive spelling was horrible, even though we worked on her spelling every night at home for at least an hour.

At the end of second grade, she became so anxious about school that we asked them to test her for a learning disability. They claimed she did not have one (only inattentive ADD). So we decided to homeschool to lower her anxiety.

I have worked with her intensely with many different reading programs during the past two years of homeschool. Reading exhausts her, and she starts making all kinds of dyslexic mistakes after reading for less than an minute or two.

One day this summer, we were discussing a short book we had read about wishes. I asked Debbie about her fondest wish. She looked at me and said, “To be able to read, Mama. REALLY read like Lisa can. I want to read big books, like Harry Potter. But I don’t think I will ever get that wish.”

Right after that, I made an appointment to have her tested privately for dyslexia.

By the way, she still can’t spell. Neither can my father. He is a well-respected professional in his field. He never reads books. And he has always used a dictaphone to compose letters because his spelling is horrific. In fact, at his retirement party, they gave him a plaque that had misspelled words all over it — as a joke.

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