We have three children. Our oldest has never had any struggles when it comes to learning. He is in advanced classes in english, language arts, and math. He started reading in preschool and just continued to advance. Our middle child, our daughter, isn’t the same.
When she was in kindergarten, she was placed into high ability groups for english/language arts because of her comprehension. She could retell every part of a story that was read to her. In first grade, she struggled with sight words. We tried everything and she just couldn’t get them. One day she would seem to have them and the next it was like they were all new words to her. It was frustrating for her and us.
In our school system, the testing in kindergarten and first grade is read to you and then at second grade, the student has to read it themselves. When our daughter took this test at the beginning of second grade, she scored incredibly low. She was placed in an intervention group. At home, we were struggling with her homework every night…reading for 20 minutes. It was torture for her and us.
Shortly before this, my nephew had been diagnosed with dyslexia and my sister had told me that the statistic was 1 in 5 people are dyslexic and that it is hereditary. This started me thinking, “maybe she is dyslexic”. I mentioned this thought to her teacher at the time and her teacher thought it could be a possibility. My husband and I decided to ask the school to test her.
In Indiana, where we live, the state had just passed a law that starting the next year all kindergarten through second grade students needed to be screened for dyslexia. The school system asked if we would be willing to let our daughter take all the state recommended screeners so we could see if she is dyslexic and what screeners they would like to use next year for students. This would give her a 504 plan with accommodations and help them be ready for next year. We talked to some people we knew that were special education teachers, dyslexia tutors, high ability teachers (because she was still in high ability as well), etc. We felt like this was the best option for us and her. She spent a couple hours a couple days doing all the screeners.
She met the characteristics for dyslexia and particularly struggles with phonemic awareness (sounds of letters and syllables). We were grateful to finally understand why she was struggling. Then our journey into learning about dyslexia began…