Thursday, May 20, 2010

School's Almost Out...

This school year has been quite the journey. On top of the everyday busyness in life we have been searching for more information and ways to help Alissa with Dyslexia. This is something that has been a part of my family for generations, every member affected by it has had different challenges. I know from my personal experience, it was really frustrating to work my bootie off to receive an average grade. I have seen signs in Alissa since the first grade but each year I’d bring it to the teachers attention it was “age appropriate”; well this year it is no longer “age appropriate”.

These past years, the school had no information/suggestions; Google dyslexia and the information can be overwhelming! How do you know what’s good information and what’s not? You want the best for your child, you want this struggle to be overcome; where do you go? Even though this learning disability has been researched for over 30 years, help is hard to find. We live in between major cities, so most suggested locations to go to are about a 3 hour travel time alone (roundtrip) plus however long the appointment is. But you make whatever sacrifices you possibly can (time, financial, etc) if you think it can help your child.

This year a suggestion was given, vision therapy; we jumped on it! We got her tested, signed up for the once a week in office 1 hour therapy sessions, 5 days a week at home therapy (should take about 20 minutes each night but it took Alissa 30-45 minutes each night to complete), and diligently participated in this out-of-town program for 12 weeks. After about 6-8 weeks the struggle started at home of Alissa not wanting to do the therapy homework. At first, we just viewed it as she was challenged and uncomfortable and we pushed through. But then it became a fight to complete the exercises! A major concern that pushed this journey was Alissa’s struggle to get information from her head to her paper and full comprehension from the paper to her head; do this all verbally there is no issue; ask her to write it and she shuts down! At this point in vision therapy, we were expecting that some way to tackle this huge missing link would be in sight, yet it was still a major concern. We weren’t expecting an overnight change but we were hoping to see something!

What do you do when you don’t know where else to look? You talk to EVERYONE you know! Soon, I had more information in my hands then I knew what to do with! Then I had to sort through that; what is good sound information, what is too experimental. It was very overwhelming! But I was thankful that I had it all; I had the answer somewhere in all of this! The strongest piece of information I received from my friend in California.(CALIFORNIA people! Truly, talk to ALL of your friends!) She told me to check out this website and watch a seminar online; I did. Suddenly, I no longer felt like I was crazy; that I wasn’t making a mountain out of a molehill. This really is an issue for my child and here’s an answer to my prayers.

We are still in the entry stages of this journey. For the last 7 weeks we have been in contact with our family physician, school psychologist, certified dyslexic tester, pediatric neurophycologist, the creator of the system we are going to use, and back to the school. There has been a battle of “who’s” issue this is to tackle; is it medical or is it educational? I hope and pray that we have found an out from the educational/medical issue battle! More on that in a later post.

The system that we are about to begin is one recognized by the International Dyslexia Association. This is BIG; there are only a few that have that honor. The only ones that have that honor are Orton Gillingham based programs. Our plan is to begin this summer. The program takes anywhere from 18-36 months; but it is one Brett & I can do with Alissa at home. Again, we are just starting this journey and there is a long road ahead. I expect that more challenges will come but I’ve made it this far and believe me getting here wasn’t easy! All I can say is BRING IT!