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Dyslexia Life

A Journey Through

It can be what you want.

The great thing about being the author of your own blog is the freedom to write what you want, no matter when you want it.  Isn’t it about our “whole” story and not taking this journey “alone”?

Today, my dad has been on my mind an awful lot and it reminded me of a beautiful quote by actor, Christopher Walken, regarding the feeling surrounding you when you lose a loved one.  It brought me comfort, I wanted to share it, and I especially wanted to keep it in a safe place.  It may not be what you need today, but it might be what you need tomorrow or years from now.

“Someday you will be faced with the reality of loss. And as life goes on, days rolling into nights, it will become clear that you never really stop missing someone special who’s gone, you just learn to live around the gaping hole of their absence. When you lose someone you can’t imagine living without, your heart breaks wide open, and the bad news is you never completely get over the loss. You will never forget them. However, in a backwards way, this is also the good news. They will live on in the warmth of your broken heart that doesn’t fully heal back up, and you will continue to grow and experience life, even with your wound. It’s like badly breaking an ankle that never heals perfectly, and that still hurts when you dance, but you dance anyway with a slight limp, and this limp just adds to the depth of your performance and the authenticity of your character. The people you lose remain a part of you. Remember them and always cherish the good moments spent with them.”

We all have a story.

When I started this “blog” journey a few short weeks ago, I never knew quite where it would take me or even if it would amount to anything.  To be honest, I figured it would be like the other two blogs I started, which still remain on my home computer, un-shared, private, and only for my viewing pleasure.

This blog has been different.  This blog has been my own journey along with my daughter’s.  By sharing her story, opening up about our struggles, and having our voices be heard, we have been blessed with the knowledge of so many other “stories”

Everlee gifted her Dyslexia Awareness bracelets to her second grade class, sharing the symptoms she encounters while being dyslexic.  The class was intrigued and asked so many well-thought-out questions.  The next day, the classmates shared about their own family members who face each day with dyslexia.  It’s someone’s dad, grandfather, brother, cousin, mother, sister.

Dyslexia effects 1 in every 5 people.  Let’s not let our journey, be a journey walked alone.  I love meeting the people I have so far, and hearing their own unique story.  We are all in this together.   Give your story a voice and see where it takes you.

So maybe this is harder than I thought.

This is by far one of my favorite photographs of Everlee.  I love the twinkle in her eye, the gentle look of her hand, and her curious smile.  When I first saw this photo, I knew instantly it would be the photo I would choose for her Upper School Graduation which would be featured when the seniors present the roses to their parents.  It seems to capture her soul.  I think of her, and I think of this….keeping her safe, keeping her innocent, unharmed, carefree, not a fear in the world.

I feel as though we have been pretty lucky so far with Everlee’s diagnosis since it was caught early, and she has been at a school where she was able to be surrounded by teachers who were all trained in Orton-Gillingham.  Everlee has only expressed a handful of times her distress over being dyslexic. She described it has “horrific” and “traumatic”, but in another sense shows so much confidence when explaining to her 2nd grade classmates the definition of dyslexia and what it means to her.  Most days, I honestly felt “okay”, like I could breathe a little easier, not completely, but just a little, tiny bit easier.

Then came the meeting with the teachers and the progress reports.  I hear how Everlee is excelling in math, loves to write page after page ( still struggles with spelling), is above average in certain areas academically…..BUT, she is anxious, afraid to try new things, loves math but is nervous to advance.  Her progress report is filled comments such as, ” the anxiety piece in her (tears)”, “feels overwhelmed”, “wants a blockade between her and the student next to her.”, “hope we can alleviate this pressure”, “hope we can alleviate this pressure.”  Now, I really can’t breathe.  Where is this coming from?  Not from home, not from us.  Then I try and remind myself it is all apart of Dyslexia…being anxious.  It comes with the territory.

When I think about my daily struggle and worry as a parent, I need to remind myself that maybe this is harder than I thought for Everlee.  She puts on a brave face, she wants to be strong.  I need to remember the picture with the twinkle in her eye and the curious smile, and remember to take each day one day at a time.  Breathe.

Want to know what I really think?

I’m not really sure how I think some days about dyslexia…to be honest, I don’t always think about it.  I feel fortunate that my daughter is dyslexic and not suffering from some terminal illness.  Struggling to read and write won’t kill her, it will frustrate her, and me, but it won’t be the end of the world.  So in the end, I feel truly blessed.

There are days when I feel sad and scared because of how the outside world might treat her.  Everlee is an incredible individual and I don’t want her judged before people have a chance to know her.  I don’t want people to question her intelligence or friends to dismiss her friendship.

I feel aggravated and frustrated when I receive the look of pity or the “I’m glad it isn’t my kid” even from friends.  I hate that I feel the need to justify the reason she is able to attend a college prepatory school ( as if she isn’t capable) and a school for students with dyslexia.  I feel like I am on constantly defending her academic abilities and her IQ regardless of the fact that she excels in math and writing (still can’t spell) and her IQ is well above average.

Everlee is happy, confident, loves soccer, her family, friends, art, and to sing and dance.  She is an average, typical 8 year old little girl who just happens to be dyslexic…..treat her as such.  If Walt Disney can manage his empire while being Dyslexic, I can only begin to imagine what her creative mind with create.

Trust the Teachers….Seriously!

As a parent it is hard to hear your child is struggling, hard to digest there may be a hurdle they will need to climb when it comes to their learning….all I can suggest is, Trust the Teachers….Seriously.  I know and understand this both as a parent and as an educator.  It can seem so easy, lessen the pain, if we dismiss what the teacher is describing..this “dyslexia” thing.  I am sure their, “reading will eventually click”, “they will catch up to their peers”, “they are not really that far behind.”  These are things we say to ourselves in order to avoid what is really staring us in the face.  Our child is dyslexic and they need help.  They don’t need help in 2, 3, 4 years…they need help NOW.
Everlee is fortunate enough to attend a college preparatory school where I also teach 4th grade.  Not only is she surrounded by the top teachers in the state, but these teachers are also my close friends.  They love my children like their own.  I know without a doubt the teachers in Everlee’s life will only recommend what is best for her.
We started discussing Everlee’s learning style when she was 4 1/2….as educators, we are always watching and always assessing each student.  We love our students and we want what is best for all of them.  Trust the Teachers…Seriously.
Dyslexia is usually diagnosed mid-way through first grade around the age of 7.  Since Everlee turned 7 before entering first grade, we decided to have her tested in the summer after Kindergarten.  We wanted to have as many opportunities for intervention as we possibly could.  The earlier a child starts to receive intervention strategies, the better for the child.  What parent wouldn’t want this for their child?  Unfortunately, quite a few parents don’t trust the teachers because they let their egos get in the way. We let what others will think of us and our children influence our decisions.
I know this to be the case because I am both a parent and a teacher. I have been on both sides of the fence.

Would your decision change if no one knew?  Would you help your child the way they needed to be helped if no one ever discovered the truth about their dyslexia?

My “Why”

This year I was asked to set a  yearly goal around the thought, “What would I attempt to do if I knew I could not fail?”.  It sounds quite simple until you sit down and actually start to consider the possibilities: cure cancer, end world hunger, find two candidates for the presidential election, the list goes on and on.

I decided I wanted to set a goal which I knew I could obtain, it was centered around my family, and would benefit my professional teaching career.  I decided after long deliberation ( and eliminating shark diving) that I was eager to become an advocate for my dyslexic daughter, all her friends, her future friends, and those friends she will never meet.

Dyslexia is not a disability, it is a difference.  Dyslexics have a special way of seeing things “YLTNEREFFID”.  I strive to help parents and individuals to understand they can be as confident as our children become confident once they receive the attention and services they need to be successful.

Everlee is my “WHY”. I won’t stop educating until everyone understands just how capable the mind of a dyslexic can be.

Featured post

Just a Lytle High Strung

I can’t thank, Caroline Lytle, from High Strung enough for helping me create Dyslexia Awareness bracelets to help reach out and educate those around us during the month of October for Dyslexia Awareness Month.  Caroline is an incredible artist, talent, and has a true genuine heart.  Her goal is to bring beauty to the world around her.  Thank You!!

Please visit http://www.highstrungshop.com to see her amazing work.

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