What Dyslexia Taught Me

I was a reading teacher for 20 years before I really learned about dyslexia. Sadly, that is not uncommon.

I had heard of it. I had asked my professors about it during my graduate work in reading back in the mid-nineties. Answers were always vague. “It doesn’t really exist. ” “It’s just an umbrella term.” These were the responses I received.

So I believed them…for 20 years.

Of course, I came across many students who struggled to read…bright students. Often times, gifted students.

I believed what I was taught: Some students were good at reading and some weren’t…end of story.

Parents cried.

I cried.

For 20 years.

Then I met two little girls and was charged with teaching them to read. They were not thriving in school. I accepted the challenge. I was a good teacher.

I failed.

Everything I knew about teaching reading from the field of education did not work.

I searched for answers.

With advice from a respected reading specialist, I turned to the field of psychology.

I researched. A lot.

I met with one of the best professionals in the field of child and adolescent psychology who directed me to learn a different way of teaching reading.

I spent days, weeks, and months learning methods which were dismissed by “experts” in the field of education.

I saw a change. The girls began to learn.

It was not fast. It was not easy.

I sought out more training.

I questioned my abilities often, but never theirs. I believed in them.

After two years, they surpassed their peers.

After our third year together, they were ready to enter back into school…this time qualifying for the district’s gifted program…where they belonged all along.

I did not make them gifted. They were already gifted.

I simply learned how to teach them to read, removing the barrier that kept them from reaching their potential.

Then I cried.

I cried for all of my former students for whom I did not help.

I can remember their names.

I can see their faces.

They keep me going.

They keep me pushing for your child.

I will work for your child because your child deserves it.

Your child deserves someone who stops at nothing to find what will work…because something will.

Dyslexia taught me that.

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