Sunday, January 27, 2013

My baby can't read.

Those words just keep going through my head. My baby can't read. I knew there was something more than ADHD. I knew that that couldn't be the only thing going on with him. Thursday, he brought home this ...

I'm looking and looking and I just don't see it. "Goofy Child," I say, "what does this say?" He's looking and looking... "I don't know." Now, this combined with these...

has me a little concerned. Well, you know, a freakin lot more than these but these are easily accessible and enough of an example for you to get the idea. So I contact a few friends. One beautiful lady asks me if I have considered dyslexia. Well, no. not seriously. She sends me to a few sites... 37 common characteristics of Dyslexia and this site that lists more detailed symptoms of dyslexia. I'm reading and the more I read the more excited I get because maybe this is it. maybe this is the answer.

I don't know if it's the answer or not and really, at this point, I don't freakin care. The one thing that convinced me beyond all else that there was something off was the inability to really read his own name, after 6 months in Kindergarten, he should be able to read his own name. and I am devastated. Written words are my comfort. There's something about holding a book in your hand and looking at the lines and lines of uniformly typed words that is just soothing. Reading those words and getting wrapped up in the story line, a story more able to to transport you into another world than any movie ever could. Wondrous, fantastic places. places that only exist in the land of imagination. and my son can't do that. Something that is so lovely for me brings him nothing but heartache.

At first I was excited about possibly having the answer and then I was crushed by the truth of it. After the ache came the anger. I'm angry with the doctors for not listening, I'm angry with the school for not doing something before now, I'm angry with his teacher for not keeping me up to date on what they are working on in class so I could know where he should be, I'm angry with every report card they have ever sent home where the lowest he has ever scored is "nears expectations", and I'm angry with myself for not catching it.

I want to lash out at all of them. I want to blame them. I want to make them fix it. make them do something. I'm angry and I'm hurt and I want them to know it. I want to tell them that this is their fault. I want to tell them that I told them there was something there but they wouldn't listen. They told me he was fine. They told me that it was *just* ADHD. They told me "all kids do that." But they were wrong. I want them to know that and I want them to feel the weight of the blame...

because I'm looking at this as "us vs them". I accuse them of not working as a team, I accuse them of not taking me seriously, not valuing me as an important part of the team and yet... *I* am dividing the team into us and them. I'm attacking them and demanding action instead of asking them to work with me to find the problem. I tell you guys that just plain asking works nicely and 9 times out of 10 if you just plain ask, you will get what you want. That just plain asking is an offer of respect and trust. If you want a good relationship with anyone, you need both respect and trust. If you want respect and trust, first you have to give it.

I've been sitting here these past days trying to decide what to do. where to go from here. I think a good place to start would be to offer a gesture of respect and trust and just plain ask. To ask my question and then really listen to the answer. I am asking his principal and his teacher what they think of this and what can be done. I am taking him to the optometrist in March to ask about a physical reason he can't read, and I am contacting his psychologist to see if he should be evaluated for dyslexia. Not demanding from any of them (yet), just asking. each waiting their turn. waiting for the response of the person in front of them. and then I am going to wait for each of their answers before forming any argument.

and, I'm going to start thinking of solutions to the communication problems that lead up to this moment where I felt betrayed. I'm going to ask the teacher what she thinks we can do. and I'm going to listen to what she says. because she's just as important to the team of people doing the best that they can to help this child as I am. She has valuable input, she has a point of view that I don't, she has many years of experience in teaching kids like Goofy. She has a voice and it's time for me to stop fighting and listen to it.

As wrong as it feels, as much as it goes against this urgency screaming inside me, this does not need to be fixed right now, it cannot be fixed right now, we just need to take the first step. together. by talking about our concerns so we can see if there is even a reason to be concerned and not using harsh words in the process. harsh words are something that "I'm sorry" cannot wash away. harsh words never strengthen any relationship and rarely produce desired results. Words- written or spoken- are very powerful things that need to be used wisely. It's perfectly acceptable to have the reaction, to feel the emotions, but you are always responsible for your actions. I accept my anger, my hurt, and my need to cast blame as being a perfectly valid reaction to this unexpected turn of events but I choose not to allow that mental reaction to influence my course of action.


  1. I know what you mean about the written word...I want my kids to love books and word and reading. I have so many stories I want to share with them...if they can learn to read. If it's any consolation, my hubby is dyslexic, and has a master's degree, and reads for pleasure. I hope the Goofy one gets the help he needs, whatever the issues are, because you both deserve some success.

  2. There is hope for you! My son got the dyslexia diagnosis at ten years old. A little late you know. Too many tears cried on I'm a good mom why the fuck can't I get him to spell one word right? It was a heart break. Anyways 2 years later. He is doing better extremely better like a hop skip jump over the IQ scale. If they could never of got him to read n write he still would not get credit for what he knew. He still writes horrible but its correct. Idk if adhd meds of intuniv n foclain helped but the day he past a spelling test I cried. He went from failing ten words at 3rd grade level to passing 25 fifth grade words idk how the hell it happened but I praise God that it has improved. But I guess its all him all his hard work he has done good luck down this road. As an autism mommy getting my son to read n write was probably the most emotionally because I put so much work trying until I. dropped. Praying for you! ~shawna~

  3. Oh my goodness Mac, this was like watching James!! All I can think of is to find out if he knows all the letter sounds and how to blend them. I am all about phonics and it really helped my kids become good readers. James was a horrible reader in kindergarten but is very fluent and a great reader in 3rd grade. Hope you get some answers. Poor little man!!

  4. OH MY, THIS COULD BE MY SON! Watching this video is SO familiar. "I already did it! It's boring! YOU know how to read, YOU read it!" Even the posture and tone of voice. Wow. We are going to set him up with a sleep study to rule out a sleep disorder before testing for a specific learning disability. He's finally learning to read, now, but he's 10. Developmental delay accounts for some of it. We've been working on phonics for years. Last year it finally started to click. My husband (dx ADHD in his 20's) went through speech therapy, tutoring, etc. Husband's IQ is genious. He struggled in school and didn't LIKE to read (until he met me!) Goofy likes the Kitty books? That's a GREAT start! Take a few deep breaths. It WILL be ok! :) - EB

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  6. ok my kindergarten twins with autism can read but if you ask them to color inside the lines they throw things, bite each other and have a massive scream fest. May I just point out that your boy can color inside the lines? They all get to where they need to go and everyone takes a diff route in getting there. If he wants to play computer games so badly why not set him up on games on raz kids or starfall or whatever that force him to read to play the game? you're an awesome mommy and to me, he doesn't seem so far off track--- I'm pretty sure lots of kindergarteners can't read halfway through the year.