dyslexia

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**It’s been soo LONG since my last blog entry, I’ve been working on a few to try to catch up. This is story I am about to share is very personal and has been such a huge part of our lives over the last year and half. Out of compassion for all the others who maybe are struggling with this currently, I hope this brings you hope and encouragement.**

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This last year I’ve felt super protester mom over the education system in Texas. It’s taken me quite some time to process everything as we have navigated the waters of new territory both literally and mentally. I felt like I needed to share our story and my personal soap box aka blog is probably the best place.

Let’s flash back about to over a year ago. We had concerns with K’s lack of progress in the reading department, we could see his school work being effected and him needing extra support in the classroom. (A little backstory… K was slow to talk and was in speech therapy as an almost but not quite 3-year-old. As he got older he struggled with the alphabet and saying them in the order, eventually getting it down but much later that anticipated. He never was into singing nursery rhymes. He still sometimes will struggle with numbers, getting tripped up on or skipping a few. Red flags started flying when practicing sight words and he is constantly forgetting the same words we just read over. (I mean to the point that he is frustrated, then I am and sadly we both end in tears.) At this point, I am feeling like worst mom ever. Why isn’t my kid learning this stuff? What am I doing wrong? Should I get a tutor? All those things right. So I spoke with my friend (home school teacher/ former elm. teacher) about our struggles and she had said she just watched a documentary during a seminar thing and felt like I would benefit from watching  The Big Picture: Rethinking Dyslexia. (It was on Netflix for a short time about a year ago but seems now it’s on HBO.) At the time I was kind of like in the boat of “well surely there isn’t anything wrong with him, he’s a normal kid he’s just stubborn and forgetful”. But immediatly after watching I jumped ship, I am now sitting on the … “hmm, ok this is a real thing and possibly our thing” boat. Now I am like, what next? I read articles, checked out books from the library, subscribed to blogs and reading blasts all still pointing towards the direction of dyslexia. This is where I start talking with his teacher mentioning that I wasn’t an expert on it by any means but I worry that there is something more than just forgetful/ stubborn behavior. When I start talking learning disability, I can already see alarms going off in her eyes. She explained that testing could be done if I requested but is only done once a year, in the spring so they would have to monitor him all year to see if he’s even qualified. (At the end of the year… seriously?) The whole year I collected samples, still seeing little progress on reading and before we knew it, it was spring. The school monitored him and came back with the conclusion that he was not a valid candidate for dyslexia testing based on his inconsistent test scores in other subjects. That was that, I felt like we were back at square one. What now? There was nothing more the school was willing to do other than tier 3 RTI support. RTI obviously wasn’t the solution because he only moved up the tiers rather than showing improvement. That summer I met a mom who had similar story about the school denying testing and she said she had submitted a package and application to the Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in the Luke Waites Center for Dyslexia. (The story how we met is so crazy, it gives me chills thinking about it because I have no doubt in my mind that The Lord sent us into this store to meet this special woman. I see this total stranger (sales lady) reading signs with K in the store. He was frustrated and she gave him confidence to push through. I was watching from a little ways and smiled at her thanking her for giving him that moment. She smiled back and said “My son is dyslexic and so am I, so I know how frustrating it can be to read even simple things.” My jaw probably hit the floor in that moment. I cried right there in the store. She shared all the details of her school denial and process at TSRHC and assured me that mommy gut feelings aren’t usually wrong.) TSRHC was something I didn’t even realize was a resource available. We submitted and we waited. We ended up getting pushed through a little faster because we were running out of time with the upcoming move to Maryland. The committee accepted his application based on his DRA test scores and RTI background. He was tested within the week. His results came back only a week later with the dyslexic diagnosis, superior IQ and combination ADHD. The issue was his IQ is so high he was able to just get by with his learning disability plus his ADHD is combination meaning inactive and hyperactive so on his “on days” he was really good and his “off days” he very poor, thus the inconsistent test scores. Sounds like a recipe for disaster, it basically made K look like a problem child in the class room. After diagnosis we were going through so many emotions but mostly glad we got an answer to be able to pin point the exact type of intervention to help build the skills he’s missing. I was validated on my gut feeling but still left with a sick feeling that we were failed by our school system. Their denial was based on inconsistent test scores. My question is… “how can a dyslexic child test well in any subject when they can’t read the question on the paper like the other students they are being rated against?” Dyslexia doesn’t only affect letters its affects numbers as well. A Houston reporter, Brian Rosenthal wrote an article around this time that further confirmed my rejected feelings called Denied that exposed TX school systems and their “cap” on special education. It all made sense why Kingston was not selected to be tested on the school district level after reading the article, but it broke my heart for all the other kids who are missing out on the support and tools they need because of a “cap”. It honestly made me want to break into a hippie protestor mom mode. I was furious. As parents we want to trust that the schools, teachers and administrators are the professionals and that they have our children in their best interest. (I realize that I can’t paint them all with a broad brush, because we have had some pretty great teachers … but some pretty eh teachers along our way.) I still keep up with the Denied article updates and saw The Houston Chronicle just posted this week saying that investigation into TX school systems is full force even under Trump administration. I hate that we missed out on almost 2 years’ worth of LD support and understanding because of this “cap”, I hate that I almost thought that the school was the last hope, but mostly I hate that some families are probably feeling hopeless because of the lack of support in TX schools right now. I hope changes are coming for the education systems in TX and more value is placed on the education and the children rather than a number and money. Moms & dads, if you’re feeling something in your gut… don’t give up, be your children’s strongest advocate and never give up. I’ll step down off my soap box now.

Since we’ve moved, K is currently on a 504 plan at his new school for his dyslexia and ADHD. We have applied for an IEP for additional services like occupational therapy for his handwriting that seems to be a part of his dyslexia, called dysgraphia. We currently utilize services like bookshare, a web based library for people with print disabilities. Although, it does sound like Stephen Hawking is reading to you, it has worked great for us. The book shows and the words are highlighted as you move along. Thankfully this is a lifelong service and even something K can utilize in college with any requested textbook. Although, technology should be so high tech by then… books will probably be reading to us right off the pages. I imagine it being like some Harry Potter kinda stuff with holograms and all. *sigh* I can’t wait!

We currently try to keep ADHD under control with diet, sometimes it’s really hard and it is still a learning process for us. I’ve spoken with moms who do the feingold diet, and I totally get the organic and food coloring restrictions. I hate food coloring and try to avoid at all costs; but sometimes you gotta get a little crazy and eat a twizzler or that crunchy cheeto or a whole bag you know what I’m sayin’. Still a work in progress. Anyone else have other diet suggestions that work for them?

We are extremely happy with the support his new school has provided and we are already seeing so much improvement in all subjects, YAY! Plus, a little tid bit, Maryland is home to IDA, the International Dyslexia Association so I feel like we ended up right where we needed to be for our situation.

 

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I took this picture the day of K’s testing, I remember feeling grateful we got this opportunity. I remember thinking about how pretty soon he’ll be too cool for playgrounds and hanging with mom. So I remember savoring the moment, snapping the pic, putting my phone away and jumping right on with him.

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** I am forever grateful for the sweet ladies at the Luke Waites Center for Dyslexia at The Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. Everyone from the cafeteria ladies, nurses walking the halls, receptionist, doctors and child phycologists were so kind and helpful. Stephanie Forbis, one of the assessment specialists was especially instrumental in getting our package reviewed by the committee so soon and getting us in so quickly, we are forever and ever grateful.

** Also, to my loving friends back in Texas and family who has been by our side through the process and given us words of encouragement and love, your kindness means the world to us.

** I do believe that God had his hands all over this situation, every step of the way and for that I am eternally thankful.

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hello september

hello september

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Hello there, September just walked into my life out of nowhere! Where did this summer even go? Don’t get me wrong, I am really ready for cooler weather but boy did it fly by. So you know what that means, pantry is already stocked with pumpkin puree. Pumpkin french toast, pumpkin coffee creamer and I make a mean (copycat Starbucks) pumpkin bread, not to too my own horn or anything but… toot toot. & I’ve been told so 😉

update on first grade: Art is K’s fave subject, of course and hating gym – makes his legs too tired (insert sarcasm). Still hoping the clouds will part and the sun  and rainbows will appear and he decides that he loves first grade, or is at least giving it a chance. Still looking partly cloudy…

At least K is getting better about walking to school. No allergy issues, so far. We brought Ollie one morning and it took a good 45 min longer to walk the one mile round trip thanks to his excessive need to sniff/mark everything in sight. He doesn’t get out much (outside of his bed & the backyard), so I guess we can’t blame him.

In case  you weren’t sure, this is the official outfit of stay at home/ working from home mom. It’s like… did I just get done running… or did I just get of a Pretty Little Liar binge…? Who knows?

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This semester is such a relief compared to last semester’s accounting, micro-economics and business management, oy. Still, my business ethics textbook is quite possibly the most blandly written book. I have made so many note cards in preparation for mid-terms (already, these are 8 week courses) that I feel like I have early onset arthritis. But seeing the light at the end of the tunnel!

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On another note this week has been a shift in routine & I was forced to fend for myself last night. I actually made a pintrest meal; I know, this happens once in a blue moon that I actually cook and it was delicious!

I made some “garlicky & Cheesy Quinoa zucchini fritters”. I actually had most of the things on the recipe list, which almost never happens but praise The Lord I was able to whip up this batch of yumminess without having to make a quick run dreaded trip to Wal-Mart. It made more than I will probably eat before it reaches is day 2 expiration date. (I hate leftovers, but in the rare occasion I go ham…) I am not sure what the actual expiration date is on leftovers but if you go past 2 days, I feel like you’ve lost your freaking mind. Good luck! Don’t even get me started on milk expiration dates…

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The only thing I had to sub out was the panko for bread crumbs but it was just fine. They were really easy to make especially for someone who doesn’t like to cook. I would make it again. Although it could use some sauce, the recipe called for yogurt? GROSS. Note to self: add the marinara.

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Kingston opted for the easy mac & cheese and peaches.

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Countdown to Friday, mom & Kels are flying in to Dallas for a little Labor Day action 🙂 🙂 🙂

Look what I found while cleaning out my office, ‘scute!

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back to school

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Last night was tough falling asleep, I think nerves for Kingston and I. Arthur had no problem falling asleep, figures. I think Kingston finally fell asleep at 9 after laying in bed for an hour. I was more like 1 am. zzzzzzzzz.. so tired.

This morning was really easy, easier than I thought it would go. K worked on his hair for the majority of the morning…

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out of all his new school clothes he picked ole’ trusty, Minecraft Creeper T

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lunch

first day lunch – for my super SUUUPPPEEERR picky eater, slow eater so I try not to pack too much because he wont eat it all… creeper sandwich [attempt], choc milk, mix berries and oreo

*not pictured his two snacks gogurt and tortilla chips* 

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we walked to school, short .4 mile walk & K got an itch attack on his ankle… not an outdoorsy kinda guy… oy

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first day at his new desk & happy to start the day still upset over the itchy ankle… over it

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In the days leading up till today, I thought I was really ready for Kingston to go back to school. Walking home with Arthur it really hit me that my little dude wont be hanging out all day, running errands, going to the pool, library trips and having lunch. I think every mom has this moment the first day of school… then it wears off right?! *sigh*

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meet the teach night

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School is just around the corner, ahhh the excitement! We’ve done the dreaded supply shopping (really with the supplies, must it be so difficult?! Black chisel tip ultra dry-erase 6 pack, the detail is seriously excruciating!) We’ve gotten new backpack and matching lunch box. School clothing/ shoe shopping is done (thanks to my mom and dad who seriously went ham on new clothes! You rock!!). Last check on the list is meet the teacher night or “Longhorn Launch”.

The only teacher that we had really heard anything about was Mrs. Scott, so naturally we were hoping to get her. Our neighbor kid had her and his parents raved about how awesome she was last year. To my surprise, Mrs. Scott sent us an email Wednesday night welcoming us to her class, YAY! Kingston has had the run around with crazy teachers so I really appreciate a GREAT teacher. (Years ago one chased me down the hall and in front of everyone tried to basically diagnose Kingston with a disability, not your place lady! The next day she asked me if i was pregnant…. really?) I feel like I need to say that I appreciate all teachers because I am SURE their jobs are extremely tough and dealing with that many children all day long has got to be taxing but there are ones that just rock your socks off and those deserve a gold star! 🙂

K was so excited to find out a few of his friends from kinder are now in his class year too! I think his bestie is in another class, darn; there’s always recess! He’s excited his little “crush” sits a couple desks over. His classroom is a major step up from his colorful, bright kinder class and he has a real desk rather than sharing a large table. In the gym K ran into some of the Club360 (the after school program he did last year) high school girls who helped run the program. He gave them all huge hugs and later told me he was in love and he has been keeping that secret from me all this time. Oh MY GOODNESS! Girl crazy already and with an older woman?! *Gasp*

We are all really excited about the new changes this year and can’t wait to see Kingston grow into his new role as a FIRST GRADER! The night was a success but we can totally wait for Monday, let’s kick off this weekend! HAPPY FRIDAY!

**I didn’t get any pics of the teacher, fail!

We found his locker & it’s so cute!

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and of course we bought K a school spirit shirt from PTO.

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We are proud to be Longhorns & keepin’ Wilmeth weird!

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