Monday, February 25, 2013

Denial and Dyslexia

I've noticed that it's been well over two months since I posted. Not a good track record and not good for people who tune in to see what's up in my life.

Here's an update:

I've been in denial about my child's lack of progress/success in kindergarten. Please don't jump down my throat about development and "every kid is different." I know that. But I also know that Heavenly Father blesses mothers with special "power" regarding their own children. And I've been ignoring what that power has been telling me.

BB's teachers tried to tell me in our first P-T conference in November. I showed a common sign: denial. And kept that denial up until mid-January, our second P-T conference. When her teachers told me that they wanted BB to have a "growth year" (read: hold her back for another year in Kindergarten).

Wake up call!

I've been trying to teach BB her letters and letter sounds since she was three. Yes, we read to her almost every day. We sing. We rhyme. We play word games, matching, I spy, etc. Everything you are supposed to do to build up phonemic awarenss. My child knows 4-6 letters and 3-4 letter sounds depending on the day. She knows some one day, can't remember those same ones the next day. Class signs of dyslexia.

I had her informally tested by a friend who runs the reading clinic at my university employer's main. The CTOPP (Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing) is one of the many tests used in combination to diagnose dyslexia. BB scored really, really low. The result of this one test is far from a definite diagnosis, but it's another sign, that when put together, points in the direction of dyslexia.

At about this time (January 1), I (and all my higher ed colleagues) found about about a law that the State of Ohio just passed that mandates that beginning in 2014, every teacher who earns a teaching license in the state of Ohio must have a reading class about teaching students with dyslexia. I immediately let my coordinator know I want to teach that class. And then I immediately began taking the training required to teach kids with dyslexia to read.

Dual purpose fueled by the power that makes mama bears tear apart any one who gets in between her and her cubs. This might be a good time to indicate that reading instruction is not my area of specialty.

The hallmark of effectively teaching children with dyslexia to read involves systematic, explicitic instruction in combination with a multisensory structural language instruction approach. I've got the first half of that and am learning the other half.

So, things got interesting when, two weeks ago, my coordinator called a meeting with me and the reading instructor for our regional campus and told us that she wanted to start a reading clinic at our campus in order to address the need that the 3rd grade reading guarantee has produced. She wants us to offer a reading endorsement because our campus doesn't offer one and if teachers in our area want one, they have to go to a "competitor" or main campus. Generally, teachers in our area won't drive as far as main campus, so our competitors are getting the business.

I understood that I was in that meeting because I want to teach the aforementioned dyslexia class, which is a part of the reading endorsement.

And then she dropped the bombshell. She wants me to run the clinic and teach the clinic class. (Oh, I should probably mention that the reading guy isn't tenure track, so technically, I outrank him even though he has about 100 more years of experience).

Um. Excuse me?

Yes, I want to teach this class and run this clinic. But it's a lot of work, and much of it will be uncompensated. And I have a child that needs to be taught how to read, requiring lots of tutoring from a trained tutor (no, not the ones that will be tutoring in the clinic...they won't have the skills yet).

I am remind of a quotation from a leader in our church. I'm paraphrasing here, but it's something like, "No amount of success outside of the home can compensate for failure inside the home." So, yes, I want to save the world (our country?) by getting teachers trained to teach children with dyslexia how to read.

But I need to take care of my child first.

The hard decisions in life are never about a choice between a good option and a bad one. They seem to always be about a choice between a good choice and a better one.

Ugh. Being grown up is hard.

So, that's what I've been up to.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like some pretty tough choices, and I can relate on that front, as you know! Sorry you are going through this struggle. E really struggles with math, and it makes me crazy. Are you going to be teaching DI in your clinic? Good luck with your decision making. Can you at least negotiate release time from other classes and/or responsibilities? You have some good mentors to work with at least!


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