I wanted to take a minute and share with you my family's experience with Dyslexia and how it relates both to public school and to the Dyslexia Center of Utah. My daughter is a very bright, very smart girl who loves school and couldn't wait to get started when she turned five years old. However, her enthusiasm was quickly dulled when it became apparent that reading was going to be a struggle.
While she seemed to be able to keep up well enough in Kindergarten, by first grade she was already falling far behind her peers. By second grade, her teacher begin doing interventions with her and having reading aides spend a lot of one-on-one time with her focusing on her reading skills. However, even this failed to help her and she grew more and more frustrated.
By the end of second grade, I knew we needed help that her public school simply could not provide. As a school teacher myself who teaches reading, I was beside myself. I could not understand WHY SHE WASN'T READING! Her teachers and I were doing everything "right" and she was still failing to show any growth at all. She was angry and sad and confused, and as her mom and as a teacher, I was feeling the same.
Another teacher friend suggested I have her evaluated at the DCU and I was so confused by that suggestion. "She doesn't flip her b and d when she writes! She's not dyslexic!" was all I could think. As an educator who is highly qualified with a Master of Education, that was truly all I had ever heard about Dyslexia and hadn't even thought of it as a possibility. All I knew was, what we were trying with her, over and over and over again, simply wasn't helping her.
So, to DCU we went. That was the day I realized that public education teachers (as well as my special education teacher at my school, mind you) truly have no idea what Dyslexia is or how to spot it, let alone know how to effectively help a student that struggles with it. Everything I started reading after that day was so eye-openning and my heart hurt so much, knowing that her teachers and I hadn't been able to help her because we were going about it all wrong. We didn't have the knowledge, training, or even an inkling of what Dyslexia truly is. Students with Dyslexia learn in a completely different way that requires the man-power and resources public school simply doesn't have available.
My daughter has now been in tutoring for about a year and a half at DCU, and her growth and enthusiasm for reading and learning has been amazing! She is gaining confidence and asks to go the public library all the time. She is happy and loves school, and is catching up to her peers. Her reading comprehension has grown significantly, as has her reading accuracy and speed. It's like she has become a whole new kid.
Without DCU, my daughter would still be struggling to read and learn, and would be pulled out of her class every day to sit in a special education class that would be failing her. She would have been classified as having a "general learning disorder" and would not be recieving the type of reading interventions and supports that she receives at DCU.
The drawback? It costs my family $200 per month to have her recieve this help. That is a lot of money for a single mom to pay each month. Is it worth it? Absolutely. Being able to read is a non-negotiable. Is it difficult to make ends meet? Yes. Tuition is more than most of my utilities that I pay each month. However, it is a sacrafice I am willing to make to help my daughter be successful.
The Dylexia Center of Utah would absolutely benefit from additional funding. Please consider our story and share it with others as you are making your decision. There simply aren't many resources available for families like ours.
Thank you for your time,