Learning to Help
In 2002 I was told my son, Kenneth, had dyslexia. I had been questioning his teachers about his reading progress since he was in Kindergarten but was always told that he'd be fine. His teachers would say things like, "he just doesn't like to read" or "he can but chooses not to" or "we don't make him write because he tells us such great stories." It was clear that my son was intelligent. His IQ was well above average, and he was in the Gifted Program. His report cards were always good with A's and B's.
At the time, I was teaching in a Gifted and Talented Middle School. I knew that many gifted children tended to gravitate toward things that they found interesting and that it could require quite a bit of coaxing to get them to complete assignments they found uninteresting. I trusted that his teacher knew what was going on. I was not an elementary school teacher and my students all knew how to read. I didn’t understand how to teach someone to read or how to spot problems.
At the end of third grade, my son’s gifted teacher told me she thought there might be a problem and suggested that I get Kenneth tested. The results were clear - dyslexia. I thought, “Well, now that we have named it, we can fix it!” I thought that the school would know exactly what to do. Was I ever wrong!
My son’s fourth-grade year was a life-changing one for my entire family. We were told that there was nothing they could do for Kenneth. He was too smart for their programs, and they didn't have anyone on campus who could meet his needs. They balked at having a private tutor come into the school that could help. They finally allowed it – during lunch and recess. Kenneth began to make progress with his reading but was being beat down emotionally. His teachers just didn’t understand what was happening to him.
After a year of tears and frustration, I resigned from my teaching position and set out to learn everything I could about dyslexia and how to help my son. I found a private school for him to attend and went to every conference or training session I could find. That led me to start INSPIRED EDUCATIONAL SERVICES so that I could help other children and parents understand and deal with dyslexia.
Today Kenneth is working as an animator and is pursuing a Master’s degree in digital media. He thinks that what I do it the most important job in the world!