Homeschooling Dyslexia

Homeschooling Dyslexia

 

Although dyslexia was discovered over 140 years ago, obtaining treatment in public schools can be difficult. For instance, the state of Tennessee refuses to recognize dyslexia’s existence. Dyslexia doesn’t care if Tennessee recognizes it or not,  it is going to continue bringing its unique mix of gifts and troubles to children.

I am dyslexic.

I didn’t find out until I was in my late 20s, in an MBA program. When I was diagnosed, I commented to my mother how odd it was that no one had seen it before. She told me they had tried to get me tested when I was a child, but my school had refused on the basis that the test was too expensive. This was in the 1980s in upstate New York. I was shocked that a school would do such a thing.

I almost didn’t graduate high school. By the time I reached eighth grade, I had given up. It seemed that no matter how hard I tried, I never got the grades that made my parents or teachers happy. Everyone told me I was smart, and told me I wasn’t living up to my potential. But I was working so hard. It seemed that either I was stupid, or just not capable of doing what everyone else could do. The diagnosis of dyslexia shed light on all of those struggles. How very unfair that the cost of the test prohibited me from achieving in school.

My Daughter Started Struggling in School

Not long after my diagnosis, my daughter started struggling in school. She’s very bright, outgoing, and imaginative. But, at the end of first grade, she was unable to write her own name. In second grade we insisted on her being tested for dyslexia. Her teacher said, “She’s not dyslexic, she’s just stubborn.” I agree she stubborn. So am I. But we knew something was wrong. And when the school decided to pass her from second to third grade without her being able to identify all of the letters of the alphabet, we knew public school was not for her.

We decided to homeschool. We worked on her strengths: music, math, science. I researched dyslexia training. Having been a math teacher, I knew that there were products out there for people with weaknesses in different areas. I found All About Learning. This program is based on the Orton-Gillingham method, which uses touch, sight, and hearing to teach each of the phonems of the English language.

Dyslexia represents in three different ways

Where a child without dyslexia picks up the variations of the English language by following text while listening to a reader, dyslexia prevents the child from making the connection between sight and sound. Dyslexia represents in three different ways: auditory processing, visual processing, and memory. Children can have weaknesses in any of these, or all of these areas. My daughter struggles with auditory and visual processing.

This means her brain does not connect what she sees with what she hears. All About Spelling, a product from All About Learning, exposes the child to the auditory and visual aspects of each sound in our language and reinforces them throughout the length of the program.

It is not possible for a school with hundreds of children to provide the individualized instruction required for every child. No one learns exactly the same way as everyone else. Even without learning disabilities like dyslexia, we are all individuals. Homeschooling provides a way for a child’s strengths and weaknesses to be addressed in a nurturing and supportive environment. Homeschooling has allowed my daughter to grow.

For Christmas, she received a series of books. Two years ago, this would’ve made her cry. This year, she ran to her diary and wrote excitedly about the books she had gotten. And that, my friends, made me cry!

The first sentence my daughter wrote independently.

The first sentence my daughter wrote independently.

 

 

Kathy LaPan is a homeschooling mom of two in Northern NY. She has an MBA in finance and teaches through SchoolHouseTeachers.com. Check out her blog at Simply Homeschool Living.

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