Monday, December 29, 2008

5) Institutions serve their own agendas.

This post is part of series on 7 Principles every parent should know about dyslexic children.

All human institutions: government, corporations and schools serve their own selfish self interest. This is called politics or the survival instinct. Organizations that fail to look out for there own self interest fail to continue to exist. They may have wonderful ulterior motives, but when individuals with in these institutions threaten the legitimate ideology and psychological stability of the institution - there is a predictable response that the individual most conform to fit the situation. Dyslexic students are by definition unable to conform to fit the model that every other student in the school is able to fit. Thus a dyslexic student feels an incredible amount of stress to conform to the standards of normalcy by learning to read.

If the student is unable to conform they will be viewed by the teachers, staff and other students as a burden. This is not to say there are not exceptions to this rule, but as a parent it is very important that you understand this basic ground rule. You must learn everything you can about how your school works and what options are available, who are the best teachers, who has the best reputation as special ED support person and what legal rights you have.

Rights you have…
1) You have the right to have your child tested to be find out if your child has a learning disability. You do not have to pay for this right. This right is guaranteed by Federal Law.
2) Your child has the right to an equal playing field - The test can discover how to give your child the same access to learning and success that other students have by themselves.
3) Your child has the right to go to school in a safe environment. No child should be treated or identified as different in front of there peers. Dances caps are out!
4) Your child do not have to attend special ed classes with out your agreement. You can always appeal any decision the school makes.

In addition you may have the ability to influence the out come of your child's school year by influencing some basic choices the school makes before the year begins. Assuming your child has been tested and is dyslexic then…

1) Learn how the culture of your schools approach to children with learning disabilities. Ask around – find other children with dyslexic kids – believe me they will know weather you can go in like a lamb or a lion. They will also know who your potential allies would be.

2) Interview next years teachers and talk to parents who have attended there classrooms and choose the teacher your child will be in based on your teachers comprehension of learning disabilities.
3) Give your child an advantage by doing reading with them in evenings during the summer - you do the reading – they see you read and see how fun it is while knowing that your not going to ask them too.
4) Meet with your teacher at every single parent teacher conference. Ask to meet your teacher before school begins – Understand that your child’s teacher is probably very busy right before school starts and they may not want to meet or meet very long. Try to keep this first meeting short and too the point.
5) If the school wishes to place your child in a special ed classroom you have the right to refuse such a transfer and if all else fails you have t right o change schools. LDS children learn better when main streamed then in a focused special ed room.
6) Join the parent teacher association – be a part of your child’s school as much as possible.

When you through all the homework your child needs support with after school in the evening you might be able looking at a full or at least half time job. So why are you not home schooling again?

Good luck let me know how I can help.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Asking for help the Central lesson of Dyslexia

Perhaps the key gift of being dyslexic is that the bedrock reality of learning disabilities is an inability to practice that central story of human experience… denial… denial of my inability to organize without assistance – denial of my systematic mis-spellings and denial of my incomplete memory. I can’t afford any of these denials – I can’t afford to pretend that I can organize, spell or remember with out assitance, because I can’t.

Must people can pretend that they are able to do these things – experts in brain research talk about how the brain is an effective tool for creativity but that organization and memory are not reliable uses for the brain with out using a written system in place. Now I know that many of my readers will disagree with this premise. Think about what I am saying the brain is not an effective tool for memory and organization. Here is the question that got me – what tool are you using to judge your ability to remember and organize things? Don’t believe my word – Read David Allen books.

I would suggest that your brain is not an accurate tool for judging your memory or organizational ability. Try a simple test – write down right now everything you did to day – put it in a envelope and date it one month from today. A month from now right down everything you wrote in the letter and then open the envelope. Make sure you include in your letter every single food or drink that you consumed today – every place you have gone and every person you have spoken too.

I know the what the results of your study will be… and I hope you do as well.

Dyslexic people learn a little bit earlier the value in writing things down and in asking for assitance from others in completing our daily task list. We are just lucky like that… I guess.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Fighting for Oxygen - Fighting for Life through Definitions.

In politics and life - definitions define the debate - so the importance of being clear about the language we use in talking about dyslexia can not be over estimated. Recently a nice little professional website visited my little blog and out of politeness I visited there site. I was disturbed to notice that they used words like symptom and treatment when discussing dyslexia.

A disease has symptoms so that you can recognize when you have it. You can get better when you receive treatment and you can get cured. There is no cure to dyslexia - it is the the way you're built. Dyslexic people can not be cured or improved they are made perfect - the way God made them. The problem is not them the problem is everyone else who has decided that literacy written and read is a sign of intelligence. Dyslexic people are in the same category with people who are born blind or deaf.

If I asked you - How do you know some one is Deaf or Blind. what are the symptoms of there blindness what is the treatment? You would laugh at me. So Dyslexic individuals are in the same boat. Now having said that I do believe that their are things you can do to help the dyslexic in your life have better brain functioning - but those steps would work for everybody. You just see better results in a dyslexic.

A dyslexic who is exposed to the idea that dyslexia is a disease will have a false expectation that they are broken and will someday be cured. Dyslexia is who we are - it is our gift, it is our life and it is a reflection of God's manifestation of love on this planet.

We are born in a time when the role of science and belief that progresses is tied or bound to improvements in technology and engineering. Dyslexia is God's way of throwing a wrench in this plan - for we are all those kids who love art, who love the art of science and engineering - who don't test well - who do test well but can't write. We in short are the exceptions to the rule - well any rule. But in particular we are the exception to the rule that says that human behavior can be controlled, bought or sold.