Tag Archives: gifts

Why can’t people spell?

Originally posted by
The Dyslexia Project and Decoding Dyslexia – AR

When Leann sent this to me, I decided to post it. I hope someone might hold their head a little higher today, and that someone else might learn to look at the world in a different way.  

Leann Hammett wrote:

From time to time, I see people post ramblings saying things like, “Why can’t people spell?” “Learn the difference between your and you’re, or between to, too and two.” These ramblings initially made me angry, but not anymore. I am here to educate you.

spell-final

Have you stopped to think that if someone could spell correctly, that they would? Use spell check you say. That is easy for you, isn’t it? You see, there is a reason people don’t “just get it,” spell poorly, and don’t use correct grammar. It’s called dyslexia. For someone with dyslexia, it isn’t easy at all. Their brains are wired differently than yours.

If you read something that someone wrote with poor spelling, let it go. This person has communicated their thoughts in writing. You got the meaning. Love them for that. Accept them for that. How brave of them to put themselves out there knowing it probably isn’t spelled correctly.

If you are in a professional environment, offer to proofread and help out. Build them up. Give them confidence. And don’t complain about it. They can read what you say when you post your ramblings. Your words are hurtful. And quite frankly, make you look bad.

These people are the greatest inventors, actors, musicians, authors. (Google famous dyslexics. I dare you.) Like you, (You know, the ones who are complaining) I am left-brained. What do I have to offer? I can proofread your work and spell. Oh man, can I spell! And I LOVE grammar! It excites me!

What do they have to offer? They make the world go around. They think outside of the box. They invent, create, entertain, and run businesses. What a boring world it would be if we were all left-brained. We could sit around and proofread each other’s writing. But instead, we have brilliant people who use their magnificent brains for things that we couldn’t possibly come up with.

Instead of criticizing them, you should be thankful for them.

I am thankful for a father-in-law who is a poor speller because he can fix anything.

I am thankful for a husband who is a poor speller because he can imagine a project in the beginning phase as it will look completely finished.

I am thankful for a son who is a poor speller because he can help me hear a song made by the rain drops and who can write poetry in a snap.

I am thankful for them because they have erased my ignorance. I know how brilliant they are and that it does not matter how they spell or how slowly they read.

Spelling and grammar is NOT a sign of intelligence. But your judgment of their spelling and grammar is a sign of your ignorance.

 

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.

Do Not Wait

Schools often tell parents of struggling students to wait, as this parent shared:

I need some help to decide what to do for my eight year old son. He is finishing second grade, but he has never read at grade level.

The principal wanted him to repeat first grade, but my husband and I refused, so he was sent to second grade. He has worked with the reading specialist one-on-one for two years with no improvement.

I asked his teacher last year if he could be dyslexic. She told me that was not possible. She claimed he just had a behavior issue. I disagree and feel that he lost a year because of her poor attitude.

He was diagnosed with visual acuity issues and Irlen Syndrome, but after eight months with no improvement and horrible migraines, we decided to involve our pediatrician. He sent us to a pediatric ophthalmologist at a university who said my son does NOT have a vision problem it all. His said my son has dyslexia, and he felt my son’s headaches were caused by the tension and stress of not being able to do the work.

Yet he recommended we wait until he is 9 to be tested by the school because the gap will be greater.

His school has promised they will test him for Special Ed services next year.

The problem is I don’t want the gap to get any larger. I want to help him now!

What should I do?

If you know or suspect your child has dyslexia, waiting is the worst thing you can do – because it will not go away. Your child will only get further and further behind.

Every parent who has contacted me during the past 20 years wished they had started providing the right type of tutoring sooner.

So do not wait for the school to test him. Start tutoring him now using the Barton Reading & Spelling System or any other good Orton-Gillingham based system. Tutor him every day during the summer – while the pressure of school, homework, and tests is gone. You will be amazed how much his skills can improve with daily tutoring.

And if you think that qualifying for special ed services is the answer, read on.

A school psychologist shared:

From what I see, the biggest hurdle for these students is what happens AFTER the students are placed in special ed.

This parent shared:

I have a 12 year old son who is in 6th grade.

He attended a private Christian school until 4th grade. They noticed his reading struggles in second grade and put him in a reading lab. It was worthless.

We got his eyes checked, and the doctor said he had a tracking problem. We spent more than $ 2,000 on vision therapy and eye exercises that did not help with his reading.

He has gotten private tutoring, speech therapy, and gone to a number of tutoring centers. We have spent countless amounts of money on him. Everyone told us he would either grow out of it, or he would learn to compensate.

In 4th grade, we moved him to a public school, hoping to get more services for him. He did qualify for special education due to his reading. We thought we finally had the answer.

Wrong. He is now in 6th grade, yet he is still reading at a 2nd grade level and is a horrible speller.

They work with him one-on-one in the resource room, and they allow him to listen to books so he can keep up with what his classmates are reading. But he still is not learning how to read, write, or spell. I am soooooo frustrated.

I have cried. I have been angry. I have been humbled. I have prayed and prayed and prayed. God finally gave me peace about not pushing him so much and not being too hard on him. But he is not getting any better. He studies the weekly spelling list for hours and hours, yet he forgets the words by the following week.

Yet he gets A’s and B’s on his report cards, which amazes me. Our public education system has become a joke. He is in 6th grade and can’t read or write anywhere near grade level, yet they are giving him A’s and B’s.

There must be so many other children who are also slipping through the cracks, and so many parents at a loss.

I would like to start tutoring him using the Barton System, but he absolutely refuses to try one more program or tutor – because in the past, they have all done more damage than good.

So, parents, get your child the right type of tutoring yourself – as early as possible. It makes a huge difference, as this parent shared:

Dear Mrs. Barton:

Thank you so much for helping us help our daughter. We learned about Learning Ally through you. We learned about classroom accommodations through you. And we found a great Barton tutor through you.

It has been a joy to watch my daughter grow from being a reluctant 3rd grader to an engaged 4th grader. She still has a lot of work with her tutor, and we will have many other challenges, but knowing there are resources that we can use to help her be successful is an unbelievable comfort.

And this parent shared:

Susan, I have to thank you for all you do. The support and knowledge you have shared has helped me with my daughter in so many ways.

Two years ago (after we gave up on the school) we had her tested privately and discovered she has dyslexia and ADD. That’s why she would never read out loud in class, or even to us.

That was then…..

Yesterday (after two years of Barton tutoring and appropriate accommodations) she stood in front of the entire school …classmates, teachers and parents … and delivered an amazing (and confident) speech about why she should be SCA president.

She WON the election!

I knew she was special and had many gifts, but yesterday she proved it to herself and her school. She said “challenges make you stronger and wiser” (which is what her speech was about).

My husband and I sat back last night thinking of the last two years, and we realized how hard she has worked…but she never gave up.

Kids with dyslexia are tough. I am not sure I could do what she has done, but I am glad I was there to encourage her along the way.

Thank you for all your help and guidance. We couldn’t have done it without your support!

Finally accepted by the public schools

Often, a public school has to see 2 or 3 students they have given up on succeed, by getting the right type of tutoring after school, before they will partner with those tutors and accept dyslexia, as this parent shared.

My husband is dyslexic and all 3 of my kids are as well – to varying degrees. My oldest daughter (who is severely dyslexic) is now in 7th grade and has made high honor roll once again!

This is the same child who was minimized by her teacher in 1st grade, who told me that she would never read above a 3rd grade level, if that, and that she would ALWAYS struggle. But that teacher was wrong.

McKeighla is about to start Level 9 of the Barton System. Her confidence, and her ability to “own” her strengths and weaknesses, have become an inspiration to her teachers and her peers.

Our small community has embraced my tutoring services, and the school district has now become a wonderful support to both my daughter, and myself, as I daily pull students from their classroom to tutor privately, on the public school campus, during school hours. Each and every student that I work with (all 13 of them) have shown tremendous growth. At first, some teachers claimed their improving scores were just “a fluke.” But now their improving scores are known as “Barton scores.”

This past year, I opened an office in Mount Vernon and work there 2 days a week. I have students who travel from as far north as the Canadian border, and as far south as Seattle. And we are starting a dyslexia support group for parents in Skagit Valley.

The passion and drive I feel for these kiddos, and for this field, reaches the bottom of my soul. So thank you, Susan, for pioneering a way for parents to get involved, for empowering us with the knowledge to make a difference, and for all your support which allows us to be courageous and confident.

Sommer Holt
Certified Barton Tutor and Dyslexia Specialist in La Conner, WA
http://www.SkagitDyslexia.com

If you cannot afford testing . . .

If you cannot afford testing, do what this mom did.[audio https://brightsolutionsdyslexia.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/if-you-cannot-afford-testing.mp3]

My son had always struggled with reading. I knew something was not quite right but never could figure it out. I asked his first grade teacher if it could be dyslexia. She assured me it was not, and she was not worried about his reading. She was concerned about his lack of focus.

But at the beginning of 3rd grade, one of the items on my son’s school supply list was an NIV Bible. I bought it . . . and cried. I knew he could not read it, not even close. He could not even read the children’s Bible we had at home. He was CLEARLY far behind, and it was much more than just being distracted.

So I started to do some research on the computer. Why could he read a word in one sentence but not the next? Why were all his words missing vowels?  Why couldn’t he sound out words? He had plenty of phonics instruction.  Why did a clock baffle him so much? Why was he still reversing letters and had handwriting that looked like he was just learning to print?

I found your website. There it was! I could check off about 95% of the symptoms. My son had dyslexia!!

Yet when I shared this with my son’s school, they were skeptical and encouraged us to get formal testing because they did not think it was his issue. But the cost of professional testing was high. We had to decide which was more important: get a diagnosis (knowing his school did not have the right type of help) or skip that and go directly to the solution.

We chose to get the Barton Reading & Spelling system so I could tutor him myself.

We have now been using it for 2 years, after school twice a week, and we are half way through Level 7.

Recently, we had to miss church. So I encouraged my boys to read a Bible story and I pulled out our children’s Bible that I knew my son could now read. Instead, he pulled out his NIV Bible, that same Bible I wept over 2 years ago, the same one I feared my son would never be able to read. He opened it up and read aloud while his 3 younger brothers listened.

He enjoys reading now, and his fifth grade teacher has never mentioned “lack of focus” or “not being prepared.” Instead, she talks about my son’s amazing “writer’s voice,” and his grades are all A’s and B’s.

My son embraces his dyslexia. We do not romanticize it or deny that it makes things hard for him. But he knows that the brain differences that gave him grief with his reading and spelling . . . are the same brain differences that created his amazing imagination, his fantastic building skills, and his love of music.

Thank you, Susan, for the work you do. It has clearly changed my son’s life.

What a great teacher

This heartwarming email from a parent made my day.[audio https://brightsolutionsdyslexia.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/what-a-great-teacher.mp3]

I want to share something amazing about my son who was recently diagnosed with dyslexia.

This morning his teacher stopped me to tell me what an intuitive student he was. She said his character is well beyond his years and that it never wavers. She also said he is such a beneficial member of his class because of his compassion and ability to self reflect, and that he has basically set the standard for the class with his global “out of the box” thinking.

When my son was recently diagnosed with dyslexia, I did a lot of research. I found the information on your website about the strengths of dyslexics. That teacher was mentioning many of those strengths.

So I was beaming with pride when I told her of his diagnosis.

Thank you for sharing how children with dyslexia are special. It was nice to hear confirmation of what I have always thought of my son — and I now know why he is so special. He’s dyslexic.

Unique Gifts of Dyslexics

The gifted areas that come with dyslexia show up very early in life — as this mother shares:

I have read Dr. Sally Shaywitz’s book and have reviewed your website and many of your videos. This has caused me to have a Eureka! moment regarding my son. I have known that something was wrong with my very bright child for quite a while, but couldn’t seem to figure out what it was or what to do about it.

In addition to having most of the classic weak areas, he has so many of the gifted areas — even though he is only 9 and in third grade.

He is incredibly mechanically inclined. He builds complicated lego robots that he programs himself.

He is extremely creative. I have crazy inventions all over my house.

He is artistic. He especially loves sculpture, but he is also good at painting and photography. In fact, he has gone on to the state level in the local PTA Reflections photography contest 2 years in a row.

He is musically inclined. He plays the piano — by ear.

Additionally, he has always been extremely sympathetic and compassionate with others — to the point where several friends and relatives have mentioned it to me.

He has a strong entrepreneurial spirit. He started a mulch spreading business at the age of 7, complete with marketing materials. He actually convinced a perfect stranger, a nice cashier at our local grocery store, to hire him (I went with him to the job for safety reasons of course). He has excellent sales skills. He has now extended his business (and customer base) to total yard care. This year, he made a company t-shirt and hat, as well as fliers and business cards, and a wooden sign for the front yard. The only thing my husband and I have done is given him encouragement and corrected his spelling!

Once he gets an idea in his head, it is like a dog on a bone — there is no distracting him from one of his projects (like figuring out which trees in our yard were maples last summer so that he could tap them and make maple syrup this spring. This project is, thankfully, complete). He works out all the steps to complete his project himself (including getting help from the librarian to find a book on the subject in the adult section) and he won’t stop pestering us if he needs help to reach his next goal (such as someone to use the power drill on the tree. He hammered the tap in himself).

I just wish he would be so focused on cleaning his room, which at times (if I don’t keep on top of him constantly) reaches fire hazard level.

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