I am by no means an expert when it comes to dyslexia. I can say; however, I am the mom and the teacher of dyslexics and I have walked in the shoes of parent and educator. I know the tears. I know the frustrations. I know the words, "you are not working hard enough", "you have to pass this test", "pay attention and concentrate", "study harder". I know the 504 accommodation law and I have educated many with how this plan works and how the parent and student MUST advocate ALL. THE. TIME. This all sounds like a huge curse and it is. It is heartbreaking and all the while the intelligent, amazing person is trapped in the box of "this is how we do school and you must conform or you will not be successful" (Yes, my daughter has heard this, too.) And, it does not stop there. These incredible people often give up. They hate the game of school because they do not conform to the standardization, because, well, they are not the standard learner. Many people have misconceptions concerning these people. "Oh, you are dyslexic? You can't read?!?!" (Yes, my daughter has heard this too, yet she loves to read.) Teachers are not trained enough with how to help these precious students. Teachers often become easily frustrated, because educating a dyslexic student is up and down. Each day is adventure.
If this wasn't enough, consider the point of view of the dyslexic learner. Imagine: you know the material, the test is read to you, BUT, on this day, because you know how much is riding on the score, your brain shuts down and you can't perform. You can't connect the words. You can't come up with the perfect vocabulary word. Sure, you know what schedule means; however, you can't quite explain except to say, "it's that thing you follow". Because memorizing things verbatim is a struggle, you think, how can I pass this test since the teacher/professor believes regurgitating the information exactly as dictated shows you know the information? How about the music teacher who belittles you because you can't play the music from memory even if you are first chair? You get the picture: You feel like a loser, you can never live up to expectations, the teacher/professor hates you because you are different and by law they must follow your 504 Plan. That's not all: your peers. They think you are stupid. They don't understand and never want to revise or edit your paper. Your papers look like a third grader wrote it, even if it is typed. You hate the 504 Plan because others see you have "special" things for the test, like extra time or a quiet, small group. Your peers view it as cheating or unfair because they don't get these "special" things for test taking or for learning. You always fall apart, your parents can't brag on Facebook about your straight A's, or being on the honor roll.
Where is the blessing? How could dyslexia be a gift? Is there ever a silver lining
Stay tuned for the next post!