Break the cycle

When parents see their child struggle in school the same way they did, they react with fear, panic, and guilt.

The good news is that with the right type of tutoring, the cycle of academic struggle can be broken – as this parent shared in an email to Susan Barton about a nonprofit dyslexia center in Michigan.

During a recent high school graduation ceremony, I was overwhelmed thinking back on my own graduation and the hopelessness I felt as the speaker repeatedly said this was going to be the best time of our lives.

But my ears rang with the words of a teacher, who weeks before, as she threw my final report on my desk with a big red F on it, yelled in front of the whole class, “Only stupid, ignorant, and lazy people can’t spell.”

I remember crying for the next few weeks because all of my classmates were making their big plans for the fall and the future, but I had none. They did not know that in addition to not being able to spell, I couldn’t form a sentence or construct a paragraph. (Or is it the other way around?)

The college rejection letters began coming in, one by one. With little or no direction or support from my parents and family, I was lost. I did end up attending a small local college but survived only one semester.

I blamed the school system for allowing me to fall between the cracks and go all the way through school and graduate as what I thought at the time was an illiterate.

Fast forward 30 years to the day I went to my youngest son’s kindergarten parent-teacher conference. We were heart broken when the loved and respected teacher wept as she told us that something was not right. Although she did not know what it was, she felt it might impede his learning if not identified and addressed.

That day I was hit like a freight train with my past and my own inadequacies. We wandered kind of lost for awhile, grasping at anything for answers.

After receiving the diagnosis of dyslexia, we then began the difficult task of getting help. Along the way, I found the phone number for the Binda Dyslexia Foundation and Mrs. VanZanten. After talking to her and asking questions a mile a minute, I hung up the phone and sobbed — with a hope I had not had in years. I had found the help for my son so he would not fall through the cracks as I had.

Our experience with the the Binda Dyslexia Foundation, which provides tutoring using the Barton System, has been wonderful. In just one year, our lives have changed, our son’s life has changed, and even our extended family (many of whom had such a hard time understanding dyslexia and the steps to treat it) has been impacted in a positive way.

Susan, you are invited to our son’s high school graduation in 2016. He is now full of confidence and hope for a wonderful future.

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