My daughter is 9 years old and in 3rd grade. It was recommended that we wait a year for her to start kindergarten because her speech and language skills were weak, and she wasn’t identifying letters and numbers as well as the other children. Even after waiting a year, she was still falling behind the other children, even as early as kindergarten. I asked her teachers in preschool, kindergarten and first grade if they thought she was dyslexic and they said no, she just needs to keep working on reading and she’ll catch up. One of her teachers said that by 4th grade pretty much all children have caught up. At the beginning of every school year her new teacher would remark on her lack of effort and focus. I had to explain every year that my daughter was working hard but was not understanding what she was being taught. She was spending hours on homework as early as first grade because it was so difficult for her. Her teachers didn’t know how to teach her any differently.
I began pushing for testing, and the School District finally tested her in 2nd grade. All the School District would say is that she was reading below grade level. They did not add this in to her existing IEP, which only addressed speech issues. Even her teachers were getting frustrated. It was like, “We know she’s reading below grade level. But what do we do about it?” No one had an answer for us. We finally had her tested at a private facility and she was diagnosed with dyslexia. The reading ‘tutor’ provided by her school went so far as to tell us there was no such thing as dyslexia (?! What!!!!???) so we decided to get outside help and found the Dyslexia Center of Utah. Finally, a place that understands our daughter’s struggles and can help her!!
We only wish that we had known sooner. As early as preschool I was asking her teachers about dyslexia, but kept being brushed off. She is now years behind in spelling, reading and math (dyslexia can also affect working memory which effects math skills.) Her IQ is normal and if we had known what do earlier in her life, I believe she would be reading and spelling at grade level or at least not so far behind (she was tested as being several years behind.)
There needs to be not only an awareness of dyslexia in schools, but a program that addresses the specific needs of the dyslexic child and teaches them in a way that will allow them to exhibit their true intellect. We are fortunate to have been able to afford private testing by a psychiatrist, which was several hundred dollars and not covered by health insurance, and to be able to afford tutoring outside of school. Many can not afford this, and most will trust the schools to do the right thing, and to know what the right thing is to do for children like mine.
Thank you for your time,