Ski—Thank you for sharing your personal story. I agree that school these days (exacerbated by No Child Left Behind) focuses far too much on standardized testing and not enough on fostering a love of learning. For my son, we’ll probably eventually need to get some sort of assessment done to allow him more time for tests, etc. As far as dyslexia, I’m wondering if you were ever guided to do OT or any other interventions and how you felt about the intervention community. I just hope my son doesn’t feel when he grows up like we were trying to “fix” him. We always phrase it as “helping” him feel better or making life “easier” for him, but I’m wondering if all these “treatments” are making him feel more different than the other kids and less self-confident in his own abilities. And, of course, I’m wondering if any of these “treatments” are actually having an effect.
I am a believer in taking every opportunity to learn. If my story helps, great.
Reference my bold above - I faced both sides of this.
I had a ‘near miss’ with intervention when i was very small as I didn’t start talking till i was nearly two. Fortunately, i started talking before I actually needed to go and see whatever medical type person deals with such things. When I was 5ish, i did recieve some extra schooling as I was somewhat behind the other kids my age.
later in my schooling i had different issues related to being dyslexic. This is going to make me sound like a bit of an arrse, but oh well! I was very good at certain subjects, namely maths and science- basically I was in the top three in my year. I had always loved learning about the world and loved building things (in lego!) or taking everything to pieces (bikes, video players, clocks .....) to see how they work, which is great.
On the other side, english, history and in particular foreign languages, no matter how hard I worked, I could, at best only get a moderate grade. for example, I cannot remember names, So learning by rote what the french words for fruit (or whatever) is basically setting me up for failure. It is the same with learning dates. History tests of the form, “when did ‘x’ happen?” were likewise simply setting me up for failure.
As I could achieve in one subject and then do so badly in another, if it is not understood why, would easily lead an ignorant teacher to assume i was simply difficult. I strongly suspect my parents attempts to get the school to help me didn’t help, other than to wind the teachers up. there were sure that i was simply difficult and were no going to listen to anyone who tried to tell them otherwise. so, they took thier frustrations out on me.
I had three assessments during my schooling, one my parents arranged outside the school system, which the school ignored, one within the ‘problem’ school, which was performed by someone who didn’t believe in dyslexia (so no help there) and a subsequent assessment in a different school which confirmed that i was dyslexic and therefore entitled to extra time in exams and a computer to use while at university (payed for by the local education authority).
So, there was ‘help’ which acknowledged that the ‘normal’ system is effectivly biased against me. Knowing that i wasn’t the only kid who had the same issues certainly helps from a self esteem point of view. also, having a broad enough educaton that i am able to find the subjects and career that I am best suited to helps in the long term for obvious reasons.
I would say that anything which separates the child from what he considers to be ‘normal’ schooling may make him feel uneasy. I suggest that meeting others with similar issues would help him to see that there are many forms of normal. for example, I consider dyslexia to be normal, its just the dyslexic brain works slightly differntly to most others. I guess it helps that dyslexia does have advantages. My spatial awarness is very good, which is a big advantage when using Computer Aided Design systems and I can also see evolutionary advantages to having good spatial awareness.
Having said that, I have also heard the suggestion that dyslexia is an autism spectrum disorder, which does actually make some sense to me, but that is another story!
My advice would be;
try to keep his schooling as ‘normal’ as possible, even if it is dfficult. Sometimes life is difficult, and he will be better able to learn to cope at school than if he has to face his difficulties when he first gets a job.
Ensure his teachers understand what the issue is and what the effects will be.
Help him to understand that he is not alone in having the problems he has.
I hope that makes some sense and is helpful in some way!