And now the realization of it has me plagued with guilt. Or something like it…maybe more just plain remorse or regret. But feeling like I should have known better is really bugging me.
How many times in this blog have I said the mother is almost always right?
The mother knows her child better than anyone else?
That parents should go with their instincts, their gut feeling?
In the case of Farmer Boy, that has proven true. The results are back from his screenings with the child psychologist and he is diagnosed with the following:
General Brilliance. (Okay, the word “general” wasn’t in the actual diagnosis.)
Dyslexia is a learning disability that, in the last 40 years or so, our society has become familiar and comfortable with. It is a difficulty in learning to read because the regular neural pathways in place for most children are not the same in dyslexics. Dysgraphia is similar to dyslexia, but instead of causing confusion while trying to decode a word to read it, dysgraphia is difficulty in writing (encoding) the word. Dyslexia is difficulty changing symbols into sounds, dysgraphia is difficulty changing sounds into symbols.
Anxiety and brilliance are just part of his personality.
In the bits and pieces of reading and researching I’ve been able to do since the meeting with the doctor, I’m in a state of relief and justification balanced by mortification over the mental anguish he must have suffered every day as I insisted he work on things that would be comparable to “tiger mom” mentality if I’d truly understood his situation. Also I have remorse over suspecting this a year ago and not acting on it. As with anything else, the earlier the interventions, the greater the results.
I was happy to hear the psychologist talk about some of the very important phonetic building blocks that are usually missing for dyslexics, which she pointed out because Farmer Boy DID have those tools and she was very positive about his ability to build upon them. As it turns out, the phonics program we’ve been using this year (Saxon Phonics) has a multi-sensory teaching method (one of the reasons I chose it) which is very helpful for dyslexic children. I’m very thankful that Farmer Boy spent his one year of “regular” schooling in a kindergarten classroom that also used Saxon phonics. I can only imagine how much that has helped him as he has fought his way into the reading world by the sheer force of his own will. The doctor also mentioned his memory skills, which can be common in children with different learning abilities like dyslexia, but she felt his were quite remarkable. She also ruled out dyscalculia (difficulty in understanding numeric principles) but Farmer Boy’s math skills are affected mainly by the amount of time required to read the problems and the typical confusion of place-value for dyslexics, as well as difficulty in getting the answer out of his head and onto the page (dysgraphia).
His reaction was also one of relief. But mostly he didn’t care. He already knew there was something ‘different’ going on. He is glad I will be able to teach in different ways now that will better enable him to learn to read. And he is visibly glad to hear that he will, eventually, be as good a reader as anyone else (specifically his brother) so long as he continues to work hard.
As the psychologist said, “There is absolutely nothing this particular child cannot do so long as he sets his mind to it.”
I still feel as though I understand only the tip of the ice berg, but just in writing this post I have moved from remorse to immerse. I’m ready to learn everything I can and apply it. Next year is going to be so awesome! Just imagine all the changes I can make and what a positive impact it’s going to have on our household and schooling! I’m ready now. Time to get started.