We all have a finite cup of resources when advocating for our children. For many of us, it’s financial, but sometimes it’s emotional. We get so intensely focused on the fact that our schools should be experts and take proper care of our children that our laser focus distracts us from the bigger picture. We deplete ourselves.
We’ve got to remember that we are going to build a “village” for our kids that will encompass more than just your local school.
We have to be open and honest about what the schools are really going to be able to do even if you win an IEP battle or court case.
Three out of four elementary teacher preparation programs still are not teaching the methods of reading instruction that could substantially lower the number of children who never become proficient readers. Virtually no secondary school preparation programs include curricula about reading and written language instruction in spite of the fact that dyslexia is a life-long issue.
Many good people in our schools haven’t been given the proper education, training and experience to effectively support our dyslexic child’s educational needs. That’s not their fault but it is our reality.
There are times when exhausting that cup of resources on forcing a school system to do something they can’t runs counter to your primary goal which is to give your child a safe, happy environment in which to grow.
I was working with a family today that had reached the point of complete exhaustion and exasperation in their efforts to get their daughter’s school to provide adequate academic support for her severe dyslexia. They gave up and I supported their position.
I did what?
They had already come to the precipice of deciding to try cobbling together a homeschooling program for her. I just helped them get over the hump on the idea. They had tried homeschooling before but it was hard for mom to be teacher too. It didn’t work so well and they returned her to the public schools. She’s now in 6th grade and she still can’t read beyond the second grade level.
This little girl is never going to shine in an academic environment AND she is a bright, delightful child who loves being with her family and friends. It happens that our little friend is a tomboy and her real passion is camping and fishing. She struggles mightily with generating two sentences about an academic topic but get her going on lake fishing and she will not stop.
Mom and dad have done a brilliant job putting together a program for her upcoming year. They’ve got a retired language arts teacher who is trained in Orton Gillingham working with her daily…They’re using a homeschooling curriculum they found online that will give them a foundation for organizing resources for other content areas. Most importantly, they’ve freed their daughter up to spend more time fishing and camping. In fact, they found a mentor in the forestry department to take her under his wing for “special projects.”
Please know that I’m fully and completely committed to overhauling the public school systems in the US when it comes to treating our dyslexic kids. The school system is broken and it will be for many more years. We’re working on it but we have a long way to go. So, in the meantime, we have to decide whether Plan B is best for our kids.
I’m also super aware of what it means for a child to feel safe and properly nurtured.
So in the interim, what makes the most sense for your child? Traditional education where your child is getting pummeled every day or some sort of creative plan that gives the kid a place to shine.
Not every child should be homeschooled and the above program isn’t right for everybody. But, I wanted to jostle you a bit and ask you to remember that we’re going to have to get creative in creating our village because the schools oftentimes can’t…yet.
Remember to use that cup of resources any way you need to so that your child knows we’re going to help them find a place to shine!