Tag Archives: bullying
Parents, do not let anyone at your child’s school lower your expectations. If your child has a dream, ignore the naysayers – and support your child as she follows her dream, as this mother did.
In elementary school, Lisa was in special ed because of her severe dyslexia, dyscalculia, and ADD. She also had buck teeth (the kids called her “beaver”), so she was a walking target for bullying. Lisa had very few friends, and extremely low self-esteem. The bullying became so brutal that I switched her to a more caring private school for junior high.
At the transition to public high school IEP meeting, I was shocked by her low achievement test scores. The IEP team asked Lisa to come in and share what she wanted to achieve in high school. Lisa said, “I want to earn a regular high school diploma and be a cheerleader.”
The team members told Lisa that due to her low scores, she would NEVER earn a regular diploma (a modified diploma was the best she could expect), and they shared that no special ed student had ever become a cheerleader.
Lisa hated her special education English class. It took half a year and countless meetings, including one with the head of special ed for the district, to convince them to give Lisa a chance to be in a regular English class. They warned her that she would have to prove she could handle the material to remain in that class.
The next year and a half was a real struggle. Lisa put in extremely long hours of study and work. She even made up the first semester credit of that Freshman English class by going to night school at a local community college (a 2 hour commute) because the high school said it was not a “credit recovery” class.
Something amazing happened at the end of her sophomore year. Lisa was selected to be on cheer, and it changed her life forever.
She learned her cheers, learned to do the stunts, learned that people could like her, and started to believe in herself – all while maintaining a high enough GPA to stay on cheer.
In her junior year, Lisa became her own advocate at her IEP meetings. She insisted she had what it takes to earn a regular diploma. The IEP team did not believe her, but agreed she could try.
Fast forward to this year – her senior year. Lisa is doing extremely well. She has a 3.6 grade point average. She has just passed all 3 of the required graduation tests, so she will get a regular diploma.
Yesterday, we had her final IEP meeting. Not one of the people who had originally told her she could not be on cheer, or get a regular diploma, showed up to congratulate her. I realize they are busy people, but I so much wanted to tell them NOT to give up on students – and to give them a chance to follow their dreams.
Lisa is proof that through hard work and dedication, dreams really can come true.
Many parents send me questions like this at the end of a school year:
I have a daughter who just finished first grade. I am pretty sure she has dyslexia.
The last two months of school have been a nightmare of real and feigned sickness and tears every day as she tries to get out of going to school.
Jane struggles so much and ends her day so sad and frustrated due to journal writing, or even worse, having to copy poems from the board. What makes it even worse for her is seeing every other kid at her table do it faster and better.
My daughter’s school is recommending summer school. My worry is that their summer school is not going to help her – and it may make her hate school even more.
Most summer school programs just teach the very same reading program your child got during the school year, which will not help someone with dyslexia.
So I tell parents to say “no” to summer school, and instead, get your child the right type of tutoring – with the Barton System or any other good Orton-Gillingham based system — for an hour a day, every day, during the summer.
If you do not, second grade will be even worse – as this mother shared:
I am the mother of an extremely bright, frustrated, and sad 8 year old girl.
We have been struggling to find answers to her troubles within the school system.
Everyone knows she is very smart, but her written work reflects the exact opposite. She cannot spell or get ideas into written form.
The teacher claims she just needs to study harder, or she is just being a “difficult” child.
My daughter overheard her tell the principal that my daughter is “unteachable.”
Kids bully her and refer to her as “dumb” and “stupid.” This is so far from reality.
She is extremely articulate, has a wonderful imagination, loves information, and thinks things through very carefully. I want her to aspire to all that she can be. She is so bright and so interested in the world.
But if I don’t find some answers soon, she is going to fall through the cracks and continue on this downward spiral.
And by third grade, they all hit the wall in reading development, as this mom shared:
I must say that your video is superb! I cried a lot as you described my son. I wish teachers and administrators were required to watch it – as I’m sure my son would have been caught much earlier, and that would have saved him (and us) a lot of anxiety and stress.
For the past two years (during first and second grade) school became such a stressor that my husband and I not only looked forward to the summer break, but we would get start to get anxiety attacks in August . . . realizing school was about to start again. I’m sure whatever we were feeling was 10 times worse for our son.
My son just started 3rd grade and I can see that brick wall before us. He can read, but his reading speed is so slow. It took us 2.5 hours to get through 16 pages of a small chapter book last night.
By fourth grade, they often qualify for special ed. But that doesn’t make school any better – as this parent shared.
My son is in 4th grade. He has dyslexia. He is a special ed student.
His regular ed teacher is so ignorant of dyslexia. She wants my son to participate in a 4th grade spelling bee because she wants to “challenge” him.
My son is terrified and traumatized at the thought of standing up in front of his classmates and being humiliated – again.
Without the right type of one-on-one tutoring, they will be stuck forever at the third grade reading level, as this mother shared:
My son is in 7th grade, but his reading fluency and comprehension have been stuck at the 3rd grade level for years – despite years of special ed services, and despite my following their advice of forcing him to read out loud to me for 20 minutes every day.
When he passed 6th grade, I was thrilled because newspapers, magazines, and job applications are written at the 6th grade level. So we bought a box of brownie mix to celebrate. I was crushed when he could not read the cooking instructions on the box.
And adults who were forced to go to summer school when they were kids know it never helped, as this adult shared:
I have dyslexia.
My early school years were horrible. No one knew what to do with me, so they just passed me through each year.
But I had to attend summer school EVERY summer. I hated it, and it never helped.
I grew up thinking I must be stupid because it took so much time to read, study and retain information.
I am pretty sure my 7 year old daughter has dyslexia, too. I see so much of myself in her. She is struggling with reading and has started saying that she hates school.
I will do anything to prevent the torture I went through as a child from happening to her.
So, parents, if you know or suspect your child has dyslexia, just say “no” to summer school. Get them the right type of tutoring instead.