Tag Archives: feels stupid

Tech Tools are not enough

Technology tools help adults with dyslexia survive. But as the following emails prove, they never stop wanting to improve their reading and spelling skills.

One woman wrote:

I watched your video on dyslexia, and I am exactly like your brother’s child.

I am 48. I am using Naturally Speaking software to write this. Otherwise, I would spend my entire day trying to fix my spelling mistakes.

I’m at the point where my heart is on the floor. I have tried every program in school, out of school, and on the internet.

At the moment, I’m doing a program that is supposed to increase your brain power to try please my mother for the last time.

My tears were flowing as I watched the demo of your program. Your program is the best I have seen in all my life. It makes so much sense to me.

I’m upset to realize that the form of dyslexia I have is complicated. I am also sad because I know this problem will never go away.

I don’t have to tell you the agony that a person living with dyslexia goes through. Because of that, when I was 16, I decided not to have kids. And that was a wise decision.

Things that happen in the classroom also happen at work, as this man shared:

I am 30 years old. I have always struggled with reading. I received extra help in school through Title 1 Reading, Special Ed, and summer school. As you might suspect, I hated school and would avoid going whenever possible.

Recently, I was at a seminar for my work and was asked to read out loud to the group. I was mortified.

Is there anything that would help me – an adult who has struggled for so many years – read better?

Yes. Adults with dyslexia can improve their reading and spelling at any age – so they will not have to avoid careers, as this woman did:

I am a deep thinker. I love learning about different religions and talking about God with my friends. So I would like to get a Masters degree in Theology.

But with that degree, I would end up being a teacher – which I am afraid to do because I would have to write things on the board.

I would also have to grade papers, so I would need to know more about punctuation than just a period and a comma.

And I might even have to read passages aloud to the class.

As the following man shared, companies that employ dyslexic adults are often willing to pay to improve their skills.

I am 56 years old, and I have tried a lot of things during my life to overcome dyslexia.

It started when I was in second grade. I can remember my mom crying when she tried to teach me my spelling words.

I attended summer tutoring for 4 years in a row to try to learn to read. Finally, the tutor said he would not work with me any more because it was a waste of money.

I took phonics in college, but it did not help. In fact, I failed a speech therapy class because I could not hear the sounds.

Many years later, I went to a dyslexia center. But they said they could not help me because I was too old.

Your video nailed me to a tee. When you talked about left and right confusion, that’s me. I always use spell check, and yes, sometimes it does say “no suggestions” or I pick the wrong word from the list because I can’t read them all.

I am in charge of a region with 145 centers that generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. My company is trying to find something to help me. Is it too late? If not, what would you recommend?

No, it is never, ever too late to greatly improve the reading, spelling, and writing skills of adults with dyslexia. The oldest student I personally worked with was 69 years old when we started. The oldest Barton student I have met was 83.

If adults get at least 2 hours of one-on-one tutoring by someone using an Orton-Gillingham based system designed for adults, such as the Barton Reading & Spelling System or the Wilson Reading System, their skills – and their self-esteem – will get so much better.

 

I can finally be who I want to be

It is best to catch dyslexia early.

But even in high school, it is NOT TOO LATE to greatly improve their skills — which will change their entire future.

A high school student gave me permission to share this talk that he gave at a fund raiser for his private Christian school in Idaho.

My name is Michael Warner and I am the first student at this school to fully complete the Barton Reading & Spelling System.

Before I knew that such a program existed, I endured many different types of special education plans and teachings. All, however, failed. After enduring nine years of mental, emotional, and social abuse due to my dyslexia, I came to this private school.

For the first time, I wasn’t only trying to match my mental capability, but to exceed it. I say this with my own choice of words… with no help whatsoever.

Although I never thought it was possible, I remember dreaming of the day that it would just click and I would just get it…although it was never coming.

Just to give you an idea about how much I have learned from the Barton System, I have in my hand my FCAT scores. For those of you who don’t know, it is the Florida version of the WASL. In reading, I got a one.

According to that score, I had the equivalent reading level of a third grader. I was in the ninth grade when I took this test. A freshman in high school! Tell me that wasn’t emotionally damaging…a third grader! That test told me that in reading and spelling, I was close to mentally retarded.

My public school in Florida would not let me be in college prep classes. They tried to control what I learned so I would become a construction worker because they thought I was too stupid to do anything else. Everything around me told me I would never measure up to anything.

Then I came here. You found out I had dyslexia, and put me in the reading program. Halfway through that program, students were clapping for me in the middle of class because they could see how much I improved. That shows you the spirit of the students at this school.

After two years here, I wanted to become a programmer. So I had to leave and go to Newport High School to take the classes I needed. Do you have any idea what it feels like to finally pursue your own dreams?

So I went to Newport last fall and I took the WASL. One try and I passed everything — reading, writing, everything.

Some students take three or four tries to pass it, and they take special classes in order to pass it. I passed it on the first try.

I’m here to say how much this private school has changed my life. All I can say is thank you. I can finally be who I want to be.

Michael Warner
former student at House of the Lord private school
in Oldtown, Idaho

As a Teacher and a Mother

This long post is worth reading — especially with school starting in just one month.

Dear Susan,

My husband and three children have dyslexia.

I also teach at the local public school. Recently, during a lunch break in the staff lounge, a high school teacher shared that when she has to teach reading to her students, she has them read “baby books.” When the students ask why, she tells them, “Because you did not learn to read when you were supposed to.”

At that point I left the room, and cried. I was so hurt by what she said. At the time I could not talk about it without crying. (I still can’t). So I wrote this letter. Please share it in your book.

Dear Colleague,

What an inspiring discussion the teachers were having at lunch today. I enjoyed hearing about, and sharing, how hard our students have been working. I am not sure if you noticed, but there came a point when I stopped talking. Probably not, since there was so much going on in the staff lounge. I would like to share with you the reason that I shut down.

You began talking about one of your students. You shared your frustration that she is not reading at grade level. You said her atrocious writing is filled with spelling errors of simple words, like they and does, which she spells t-h-a-y and d-o-s-e. There are no capitals at the beginning of her sentences, and rarely is there any punctuation. Her handwriting is so sloppy that you can barely make out the words that she somehow managed to spell correctly. On top of that, she does not know her basic math facts and can’t get through a majority of the problems you assign, despite the fact that you just spent an hour teaching that lesson to the class.

You wondered why her parents did not care enough to work with her nightly. Surely her spelling and math would improve if they would just make her practice every night. You mentioned how lazy she is, how she could care less about the quality of her work, and how she puts forth zero effort towards improving.

You claimed you had tried everything and you do not know what to do with her anymore, so you will probably just end up passing her to the next grade level like all the other teachers have done.

Believe me, I understand your frustrations. It is difficult working with students like this. If they would just try harder, they would improve. Right?

I would like to introduce you to my daughter. She is excited to be entering high school this year. She is beautiful, polite, responsible, funny, caring . . . I could go on and on.

She participates in 4-H and showed her pig this year at the fair. She made over seven hundred dollars. She put some of the money into her savings account. Some will be used to purchase her next pig, and she can’t wait to go shopping and buy her own school clothes and school supplies with the remaining money.

She also participates in gymnastics, which she started when she was 18 months old.

When children are around her, they gravitate towards her. She loves to take care of babies and toddlers.

She enjoys preparing delicious food for others. Perhaps you would like to come to our home one evening. She will prepare her Pizza Chicken for dinner and Gelato for desert. She really is a great teenager.

Yet my daughter is scared and anxious about starting high school this year. She has dyslexia, and as a result, she is not reading at grade level. Her creative writing is filled with spelling errors of simple words, like they and does, which she spells t-h-a-y and d-o-s-e. There are no capitals at the beginning of her sentences, and rarely is there any punctuation. Her handwriting on school work is so sloppy because she does not want her teachers and classmates to see that she has trouble spelling.

On top of that, she does not know her basic math facts and can’t get through a majority of the problems assigned to her, even though her teacher just spent an hour teaching the lesson.

You wonder why her parents do not care enough to work with her nightly. Surely her spelling and math would improve if they would just make her practice every night.

I love my daughter more than you can imagine. But I no longer force her to practice math flashcards or to write the weekly spelling words over and over every night. I know it will not help her. She will be able to memorize them temporarily, but believe me, she will not remember them the next day.

I know that she puts her brain to the test every day by concentrating so much that it often makes her feel sick. I know that she has put herself down all day long while in school and that she needs to build herself back up at night, so she can go through the same ordeal the next day.

Those are the reasons I no longer fight the “homework wars” every night. Instead, I enjoy the evening with my daughter as she cares for her pigs and rabbits, and as she does front handsprings across the yard.

Children do not want to, or choose to, have dyslexia. They want to learn. They are very frustrated that they can not learn to read like their classmates, that their spelling never seems to turn out right, that they can not memorize their math facts, and that they get lost in multiple step math problems. They can not try any harder than they already do because their brain will not let them.

As a teacher, I understand your frustrations. It is difficult working with students like this. I regret having made some of the same comments as you in the past. I never imagined that I would be the mother of a child with a learning disability. After all, I am a teacher.

As a mother, I am begging you to hang in there and not give up on your students, because if you do, you will be giving up on my daughter. They need you.

So please, let me be the mother who loves my daughter and encourages her to discover all she is capable of, and you be the teacher that encourages her and allows her to show what she is capable of.

Sincerely,

A Mother who is also a School Teacher

 

Say No to Summer School

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.

Summer School

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.

Parents Are Frustrated

I get emails like this every single day.

I have been trying to get my son’s school to test him for dyslexia or a learning disability. But they refuse. They say my son gets good grades, and I should be proud.

I am proud of my son, but he struggles with reading and spelling. Homework that takes children without dyslexia 30 minutes takes my son over 2 hours – with lots of frustration, yelling, and tears.

I also had dyslexia as a child.

What surprises me is nothing has changed in our schools.

Parents, if you think special education services are the answer, read this.

My son is going in 4th grade but is reading on a 2nd grade level. His spelling is also very low, and he is dysgraphic.

Although he has an IEP, I have seen very little improvement over the past 2 years.

The worst part is he has given up on learning. He claims he just doesn’t care. It’s very hard to engage him in any kind of learning at school. He would rather act up than learn.

Many children would rather be thought of as “the bad kid” . . . than “the stupid kid.”

The worst part of struggling academically for years . . . is what it does to a child emotionally, as this mother shares:

Susan, I just watched your video. It made me cry.

I have known for months now that my youngest daughter probably has dyslexia. She has been devastated by school and her inability to read. This bright child is sinking deeper and deeper into despair … about school … and about herself.

I cried because I realized that my brother probably suffered from this as a young boy, I probably have this to some degree, and so does my oldest daughter. I did not realize there was such a strong genetic link. How could I have missed this?

I know my daughter needs specialized teaching, and I am trying to get this help from her public school. She has an IEP, but they don’t seem to be giving her the right kind of teaching to get her reading on track. They seem satisfied in sending her on to 3rd grade “with support.”

I do not believe support is going to solve the problem. She needs to be taught in a way that she can actually learn.

Parents, stop waiting for the school to change.

If your child’s school does not provide intervention using an Orton-Gillingham based system by someone who is well trained and uses it properly, then hire a private tutor to provide it during the summer – or get the Barton System and tutor your child yourself.

To learn more, go to:
www.BartonDemo.com

A child’s skills can improve tremendously over the summer – if they get the right type of tutoring.

Retention does not work

Some states have a policy of mandatory retention for students who cannot pass the reading portion of the state standards test. But retention alone does not work – and never has, as this parent shared.

I am 34 years old, and I have struggled all my life with reading and spelling. As a result, I have this record playing over and over in my head that says I’m not smart.

My mother has a photo of me going into first grade. I did not want to go. My head is down, my arms are at my side, and my book bag is dragging along the ground. This was my theme during my entire school career. I hated school from the very beginning. I only wish someone had noticed all of the signs of my dyslexia.

Retention - Shame - little kid

Fast forward to 8th grade. I knew I was struggling – and struggling bad. I don’t recall going to classes most of 8th grade. I don’t know why I passed that grade since I didn’t attend much.

I skipped even more school during 9th grade because I was still struggling and felt stupid. I finally dropped out.

Many years later, I got my GED. I then attended a local community college. I have many credits, but not enough to get my AA. That’s because I have taken “Basic English Composition” 3 times – and dropped out 3 times. It is just too difficult for me.

At 18, I become a mother to a wonderful and incredibly smart boy named Jerry. I did not know the preschool warning signs of dyslexia.

But his kindergarten teacher informed me of his difficulty with letter recognition. Later, in first and second grade, I heard about more of his problems. He was eventually tested by the school, and he got an IEP for an Auditory Processing problem. The tests also showed he had a high IQ.

They advised that I read aloud to Jerry every day so he could hear good reading, which they claimed would teach him fluency. Despite doing that, Jerry “hit the brick wall” in 3rd grade. He was retained because he could not pass the end-of-year state standards test.

When I dropped him off at school during his second time through third grade, it was so hard for me to watch him pass all the other kids in the hallway and go back to the same wing he was in last year. I can only imagine how hard it was on him. It was a horrible year.

Fast forward. My son is now 15 years old and going into the 9th grade. Jerry continues to struggle with reading and spelling – despite getting special ed services for 6 years. He can’t even say the months of the year in order.

I watched your video on dyslexia last night and cried almost the entire way through it. You were talking about me and Jerry. I’m one of “those” kids. So is my dad, my aunt, my sister and my nephew. The inheritance pattern is so clear.

I feel very angry at the school system. I did EVERYTHING they told me to do – but none of it worked. Jerry has adapted and can get by – but even though he is smart, he feels so stupid at times – a feeling I know down to my core. It happens every time he is called on to read aloud in class, or when he can’t spell even simple words.

I am so afraid he is going to drop out – like I did.

What it took to get through college

I love it when teachers attend my free presentations on dyslexia – because they share amazing stories of how hard they worked to make it through college:

A new teacher shared:

I saw you speak about a month ago. Let me first say that you were wonderful! I am a new teacher, 24 years old, and I went with some coworkers. We left thinking that every educator should be required to attend one of your seminars.

I now think I might have dyslexia. I always felt that I was slower to understand things in school because I couldn’t read as well as the other students. I remember my teacher putting me in a remedial reading class. I got out of it by faking that I needed glasses and that was the reason why I couldn’t read. After that, I got really good at faking reading.

I graduated from college after struggling many nights trying to read the textbooks and just giving up. I am sad to admit this, but I am a college graduate who has never read an entire chapter of any textbook. It’s not that I didn’t want to read the books. It’s just that I would start reading, but I would get lost. I kept having to reread the same page over and over again, reading was exhausting, and I could not understand what I was reading because I read so slowly and inaccurately. Yet when someone explained it to me verbally, I would instantly understand it.

Even though I never read a full chapter of any textbook in college, I did end up graduating with an overall 3.1 GPA.

A teacher at a private Christian school shared:

Your talk was amazing. I have a degree in Theology, but I stopped buying textbooks after the first semester because I never read more than the first few pages of them.

Instead, I formed study groups where we would TALK about the subject and share the information that “each person” learned from reading the textbook.

I also loved the literature courses. I could not read all of the words in the books, but I could guess at enough of them to follow the storyline. I also discovered that many of “the classics” could be downloaded as text files, so I could use Dragon Naturally Speaking to read them out loud to me.

A teacher pursuing her Master’s degree shared:

I am 56 years old and have dyslexia. I see myself in so many of your descriptions: the disorganized desk with piles of paper, the messy room, the right versus left problems, and spelling. Lord, I can’t spell anything.

Technology tools, especially spell and grammar checkers, have been a saving grace for me. I use them constantly. My wonderful husband has also read and corrected the spelling, punctuation, and grammar in my papers, my emails, and my class work for the last 30 years.

I am now going for a Master’s degree. It is sooooo frustrating that I can make A’s on all of my discussions and demonstration classes, but I can barely get a C on multiple choice tests. I run out of time on every test because when I read the questions, I skip words or misread them. So I have to check and recheck to be sure I’ve read each long convoluted question, and each possible answer, correctly. I can then choose the correct answer, but it takes me longer. Time always runs out before I finish the test.

From a caring teacher and friend:

When you mentioned that dyslexics have poor written expression – even though they have a clear grasp of the concept when discussing it orally, I thought of a young lady I met in college. We started out studying together, but eventually, I became her scribe. When we discussed a topic, she clearly knew what she was talking about. But when she came back with a paper she had written on that same topic, it made very little sense. She would ask me to look over and edit her papers, but this was such a struggle for both of us (her during the original writing, and me during the proofreading) that it simply became easier to write together sitting in front of the computer. She would talk, and I would type.

She shared that she had a reading and writing learning disability and had gotten an IEP in third grade. She also shared that she had been told by several teachers that she was unlikely to graduate from high school and probably would never be able to attend college.

But she had an amazing work ethic. She worked her butt off. And she earned a Master’s degree in Elementary Education and graduated Magna Cum Laude.

Her story stuck with me, and I’ve been so angry at those teachers who dared to make such a negative prediction to this obviously bright young woman. I can’t help but wonder how different her educational experience would have been if only her teachers had known about dyslexia.

Dyslexia still haunts me

When adults share the emotional pain caused by dyslexia, and how it continues to impact them even as adults, it will give you the anger and courage needed to fight hard for laws that require early screening and early intervention.

I’m 23 years old now, and I barely graduated from high school. My fiancee and I just watched your dyslexia video, and the story you told about your nephew Ben made me cry. It brought back many painful memories. I am like Ben, but unlike Ben, I never got the right help. I would like to tell you my story, and then I’d like to ask you a few questions.

In kindergarten, I had to walk home. It was only about three or four blocks, but I would often get lost. Also, I still remember getting criticized by my teachers, classmates, and even my own parents when I was falling behind in reciting my ABC’s, my 1-10’s, and even my phone number and address.

They almost retained me in Kindergarten, but my mother talked them out of it.

In first grade, I started to learn to read, but again, I was falling behind. All the way through school, I feared my turn to read in class. It’s funny how good memories are sometimes forgotten, but bad memories never go away. When I was trying to learn to read, I can still remember my father telling me that I was lazy, and I just wasn’t trying. I guess my tears and frustration weren’t enough proof for him to see how hard I really was trying.

When I finally got tested for dyslexia in 3rd grade, they put me into “Special Ed.” If you ask a child what Special Ed means, they will probably say “retarded.” That’s what my peers called me, and that’s what I thought I was.

My parents sent me to many programs, and spent a lot of money. Yet I’ve held a grudge against my parents for years; I felt they failed me and didn’t try hard enough to get the right type of help. That’s because after years of “help,” I was still the same.

I struggled all the way through high school and barely graduated. In my junior year, the state created a High School Graduation Exam. In order to graduate, you had to pass 3 tests: reading, writing, and math. You could take them 3 times, but if you don’t pass by the end of high school, you only got an “Attendance” certificate. The first time I took it, I somehow passed the reading test. But I failed math and writing.

To this day, I can’t do math. I still mess up on simple things such as adding and subtracting. I still don’t know my multiplication tables. I’ve tried to learn them for years, but I just can’t remember them. I’ll have all the fours mastered one night, but when I try them again the next day, I’ll only remember a few of them. By the following day, I won’t remember any of them.

So I switched to a vocational high school where you could  take construction electricity to earn math credits. In that hands-on class, I was a super star.

But I still could not pass the math portion of the high school exit exam — or the writing part, which you had to do by hand and they graded it on spelling, punctuation, and neatness of handwriting.

Fortunately, many parents in the district (whose kids could not pass the test) fought the district and got them to withdraw the test. So I did graduate after all — with a D average.

After high school, I went from job to job, but I wasn’t happy. I needed a skill, so I turned to the military. I took the ASVAB for the Coast Guard, and once again, I almost failed it. But I scored just high enough to get into a mechanics position.

But Basic Training was a nightmare. I could not memorize and retain information, marching left versus right was almost impossible, and I still could not write down anything. In the end I had a mental breakdown, and got discharged.

That was two years ago, and since then, I’ve been going from one job I hated to the next.

But last January, my finance gave me an ultimatum. “Go back to school and try, or I’m going to leave you.”

So I’m back in school in the diesel mechanics program.

Although the Disabilities Office has provided some software, more time on tests, and a note taker for each of my classes, they are not teaching me how to overcome my dyslexia.

I still can’t spell, do multiplication (or most other math), memorize anything, tell my left from my right, or find my errors when I write. I even make mistakes when filling out a job application.

Yet there is so much I can do. Right now, I work as an assistant maintenance person at the fire department, and I’m good. Really good. I can fix just about anything.

Yet that’s not what this world wants.

I want help to overcome my dyslexia so badly. I will try anything. I just want to be like everyone around me.

If it’s too late for me, then I need to know what to do to help my children when I have them. I do not want them to feel like I do now.

Hopeless, helpless, and sad.

Students share

A Certified Barton tutor who recently attended an Advanced Certification session gave me a packet of letters her Barton students had written to me.

I hope these touch your heart as much as they touched mine – and will help you realize that with the right type of tutoring, students with dyslexia can bring their skills up to – and beyond – grade level.

From Matthew, age 10

Thank you for writing the Barton System. You have helped me grow. Thanks to you, I’m now a better speller. I was at below basic on my second grade CST. Now I’m above average on my fourth grade CST.

Gabe, age 17

When I first started tutoring, I could barely read at all. I am now reading high school level textbooks, websites, movie reviews, and more.

Thanks to this program, I passed the high school exit exam the first time – which I thought would never happen.

Samantha, age 12

Tutoring has helped me because I am not in Special Ed anymore.

I used to have trouble reading, but now I can read really good. Last year, I even got a ribbon for reading because I got 100 AR points.

I can now spell words and no longer have to ask someone else how to spell a word.

From Elysia, age 9

My favorite thing about tutoring is reading. Even if I was sick and missed school, I would still want to go to tutoring.

From Chloe, age 9

I used to hate reading, but now I don’t. Now I can catch up in reading with the class, so I’m not the last to finish.

From Aidan, age 9

Barton has helped me in my spelling and reading. I no longer have to pass when the teacher calls on me to read out loud.

Alina, age 12

I am currently on Level 10, Lesson 2, and love it. English is now my favorite subject.

I was so pleased when my teacher decided to have a class spelling bee and I won! I even asked for the origin of the words. I was then picked to represent my school for the ACSI spelling bee.

Scottie, age 15

School has become amazing now that I’ve learned so much. I don’t feel bad anymore when I read or write. I can spell right, and it’s a wonderful feeling.

Bryce, age 25

My aunt was a teacher, and my mom thought she would be able to teach me to read. So she enrolled me in her class.

My aunt had this horrible way of posting grades after every assignment. She would write your name and the grade you got on the board. There were 32 names, and mine was always at the end with a big F – every single week.

I loved my aunt, so that just made it worse.

Then I was put in special ed, and even there, I was at the bottom. People with autism and other disabilities could read better than me. What’s worse is I could comprehend and understand the scope of their disabilities, and I knew I was not like that. But everyone there could read better than me.

I began to think, “I can’t do this. Perhaps I was not meant to learn how to read.”

Now I am 25 years old, and to find a program like this . . . is just amazing. I only wish I could have started this as a child.

Labels

Some teachers and parents do not want to  ‘label’ a child as dyslexic.  But I  feel that decision does much more harm than good.  Here’s why.

One parent shared:

My husband is a medical doctor who told me, “In medicine, it is extremely rare for a patient to have 6 or 7 different conditions or diseases at the same time. So we start to search for 1 root cause that would create their many different symptoms.”

Yet the root cause of my son’s many academic problems, dyslexia, is a word that doesn’t see the light of day a lot. I have heard teachers and administrators claim, “There is no such thing,” or “We don’t like to ‘label’ children.”

But claiming dyslexia does not exist will not make it go away. You are just sentencing a child and their family to years of uncomprehending frustration.

Going back to the one root cause creating many symptoms:

What would a doctor say to a person who has the following symptoms: unusual weight loss, irritability, blurry vision, is tired all the time, is experiencing frequent urination, and often feels hungry?

Would he tell that person to drink more, eat more, put on weight and see an optician?

No. A doctor would say “Hmmm, that sounds a lot like diabetes. Let’s get you tested. If the test is positive, we can create a treatment program that works for you, and we can enable you to live a healthy and productive life.”

Do you see? I love labels, I love them! Once you have a label, you know what you are dealing with, you can talk to others about it, and you can seek help and find support.

I would far rather have one label that I can understand than a whole stack of symptoms that I don’t.

This parent agrees:

I have found many parents worry about labeling their child as dyslexic — and therefore, do not pursue testing.

We have found “dyslexia” to be a much better label than “lazy,” or “stubborn,” or “uncooperative.”

My son blossomed once he understood why reading and writing did not come easily for him, and that he could improve through tutoring.

Children may choose a far worse label, as this adult shares:

I’m 35 and have struggled with dyslexia my entire life, but I didn’t have a name for it. So I created my own name for it…DUMB.

Then I had to watch my little boy (who is now 17) go through the very same struggles in school. I told him every day (and still do) that he is smart. But if you don’t feel it, and your grades don’t reflect it, and you fail 3rd grade, nothing translates to SMART.

Today, we both know we have dyslexia, but it’s so hard to erase the old label of “dumb.”

Another parent shared:

Everyone told me that testing my son would insult and depress him — and categorize him — and be a waste of our money. For years, I believed that, which made my child virtually HATE me because I did not understand who he was, and HE knew something was ‘wrong.’

Once we got a diagnosis of ADHD and severe dyslexia, I saw all the weight lift off his shoulders. It’s like a light came on.

We began to work along side each other with the right homeschool materials, and I have seen a complete turnaround in his behavior, emotions, and learning.

It has also given him compassion for others.

Even homeschooled children need to know, as this parent shares:

I have to admit that I’ve always known something was wrong with my daughter, who is now 17. We tried so many approaches (colored overlays, physical exercises, and so many different phonics programs), but I never had her tested because I didn’t want to label her.

Thanks to homeschooling, I’ve been able to provide accommodations that match her needs. I’ve read aloud to her almost daily, so she has a great oral vocabulary. I record all of her textbooks, which she then listens to while following along.

I have her dictate most of her written work to me. We’ve been doing that since she was in 2nd grade.

But now that she’s approaching graduation and wants to go on to college, she needs to be more independent.

After watching your video, I decided to share my suspicions with my daughter. She cried when we went over the list of symptoms. She said for the first time, she realized that she wasn’t alone. She felt normal. She said it was so freeing to hear all of those things and to realize it wasn’t just “her” problem. She and I even joked that she could be the poster child for dyslexia.

To my surprise, she does not feel labeled. She feels hopeful.

So, parents, please share the correct label with your child:  dyslexia — not “dumb” or “lazy” or “stubborn.”

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