This post was written on the day I dropped Jack off at what is now his new school. His 2nd new school in one school year. I was proud of him then. I am even prouder now when I think of what he has gone through, how well he has adjusted, and how much he is flourishing there. He is not "the new kid" any more. He is well-liked, accepted and has certainly found a school "family" and friends that encourage and support. We adore this new school.
I sat in the car with a huge lump in my throat. A few hot tears may have made their way down my cheeks. I am so proud of this kid.
I dropped him off with an eager attitude. How is it that he can have such confidence? I would love to think I had something to do with that but I am not sure. How can he still be so open-minded to another new school? New friends? New system? Another change?
I didn’t know what to the “title” of this post should be. I debated between “Reasons why I will never forgive myself for not listening to my inner voice”, and “Reasons why I will never forgive the public school system” and “Mother of the year, once again”. But really this is not about me. Or the
system. It’s about Jack.
I had shushed my inner voice that nagged me that something was not quite right. For years.
I listened to the teachers (including ones that I highly respected) tell me that he was “fine”. For years. The preschool teachers that said he was absolutely ready for Kindergarten. The seasoned 1st grade teacher who said, “He is fine!”. The young 4th grade teacher who said, “My husband can’t read aloud very well either (hee hee)”. The speech teacher who labeled him with “language processing” issues but released him from services at the end of 5th grade.
I knew there could be something going on but when a child brings home an “Honor Roll” certificate both semesters from a really really tough middle school, you question yourself. Even though you know how hard he worked to get there.
And so we decided to finally get some answers and have a psychoeducational evaluation done for Jack. Privately, of course, because even though we knew it was necessary, the school basically laughed at the mere suggestion. “He is doing too good” is basically what our answer was.
And that could have been Jack’s downfall or at least the reason we didn’t do this sooner. He’s just too darn good.
That’s why (as my husband said in our somewhat heated SST meeting at the school after the evaluation results were in our hands) he has “fallen through the cracks” all these years. He is not a problem in school. In fact, he’s the opposite. In preschool he always followed directions, sat quietly and transitioned well. In elementary and middle school he is a rule follower. A conscientious student. Makes friends easily. Is athletic and popular. No red flags here.
But we suspected…
But we didn’t expect a "diagnosis" of dyslexia.
Even though I consider myself somewhat familiar with dyslexia- I know that it doesn’t just mean reversals, etc- I just didn’t suspect it. He can read! Just a little slower than other kids his age. A little less comprehension going on there.
But it was still pretty surprising. Relieving too. Nice to have an explanation. An answer to our question.
He is relieved too. He was not upset when we told him. He was relieved, too. Kinda like if you put glasses on someone who had bad vision for years but didn’t realize it.
I have been telling almost everyone. It’s weird. But I am proud of this “label” and of this child. I was so proud last year when he brought home those Honor Roll certificates.
But they have a whole new meaning now. I am SO proud of this boy.
Today I dropped him off at a private school just for children with dyslexia. He is going to “shadow” a student for a day. And he was so excited.
The 7th grade has only 15 kids in it. That’s way different from what he’s used to. So, I have no idea what he’s going to think about it. But, we are pretty sure he will not be going back to his public school next semester (per a few recommendations and our instinct, knowledge on what he needs now, etc).
Our goal now is to get Jack where he needs to be. Find the place that’s right for him.
This will not define him. It will only be a part of his story.
So, (in our house) this is the face of dyslexia:
Well, precious for one.
“Average” (only according to the public school, not to us!)
(Last week- So proud!)