Her mom never dreamed that Lauren would struggle with reading because of dyslexia.
Lauren started talking in complete sentences at a young age. By the time she was four, she could repeat whole passages from her favorite Disney movies, write her name, and many other short words. When she asked her mother to teach her to read, the thought was, “How hard could it be?”
As Lauren started fourth grade she was doing well with all subjects but was still struggling to read by herself despite her verbal and memory skills. Spelling retention was becoming a problem. She learned her words each week but she would forget them the next week or spell the word right in one sentence only to spell it wrong in the next. When she read the words out loud, she didn’t see anything wrong with her misspelled words; to her, they looked correct. She still turned letters and numbers around, something that is normal for kids through the third grade. However, by the fourth grade, it can be a sign of dyslexia. She was also starting to struggle with certain math concepts.
When Your Child Has Dyslexia
A professional who tested Lauren diagnosed her with dyslexia. Apparently Lauren saw mostly consonants when she looked at words. She struggled with sounding out words; it seemed easier for her to memorize things. When she read, if she got to a word she didn’t know, she would guess at it based on the first and last letters and what made sense. She usually guessed right as she had a huge vocabulary. But if you put a word out there without anything to give it context, she had trouble figuring it out.
The specialist advised her parents to accept that she would always struggle, but that there were “tricks” to help her learn. She also offered hope that in today’s world of calculators, computers, and Spellcheck, Lauren would succeed as long as she was encouraged to.
Successful People Who Have Dyslexia Are Great Examples to Young Students
Her mother went on to find examples of successful people who had dyslexia and told Lauren their stories (Tom Cruise, Keanu Reeves, Richard Branson, even her own pediatrician, to name just a few). Many famous actors are dyslexic. Their memorizing skill greatly helps them learn their lines in plays and movies. Armed with these stories, Lauren and her family charged forward.
Lauren loved to dress up and make up stories. As she learned to type on the computer (which was way easier for her than writing by hand), she would write a short story or add to a story every day. At first, she was discouraged by the fact that Spellcheck seemed to underline almost every word she wrote, but eventually, she got better. She read her stories out loud to her family and would catch some mistakes that way. She also started to learn to cook. Working with the measuring utensils helped with some math concepts she struggled with. She loved to act and started taking classes at a local theater. She was motivated to read, and her memorization skills helped her excel. By sixth grade, she was finally reading on her own and she started to devour books. She lists reading as one of her hobbies today.
When Lauren was fifteen she was encouraged by one of her acting teachers to enroll at the local junior college and take their theater classes. Lauren started off with two classes in the first semester. By the time she graduated high school two years later, she had her certificate in Theater from the college and had been in several college plays. Somewhere along the line, she decided she wanted to be a teacher. If she could take her love of learning and theater to children who struggled as she did to learn, perhaps she could help them succeed too. She’d have a career and be doing something she loved at the same time. This is a true story. Lauren has graduated from UC Davis with a degree in Human Development and is pursuing a career as a Special Education teacher.
TIA Teachers Set Your Student Up for Success in the Classroom
While Lauren did not attend TIA, there are a number of students like her here at our school. In the same way that Lauren’s teachers helped her, TIA’s caring teachers work with their students to discover the best ways to help each one learn. It is our goal to help set your child up for success in the classroom.
Here are some helpful web sites about Dyslexia.
The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia Facebook page
Understood: For Learning & Attention Issues
Story by Kim Murphey ~ TheJ3Effect