So I have explained to many that Jennifer is dyslexia and many believe it is to do with just reading and writing. It was a shock to me to find out it is much more than that. This may also explain why a lot of undiagnosed children are failing within our school system.
Since day 1 of school I would go in and explain “the way you’re teaching Jennifer she doesn’t understand “. She would come home “mummy can you read to me I don’t understand this”? I would then have to explain in detail what she wanted to know.
Teachers put it down to the time off she had due to illness, and I would defend her “actually she’s very intelligent”. She would refuse school saying they don’t understand her, their not helping her and she doesn’t know what to do.
Instead of her getting the support you would write in her report “Jennifer is a very quiet girl, if she worked a bit harder would be perfect all round”. My heart would break as I knew if 1 teacher took 10 minutes to see my true daughter they would see she’s struggling.
I remember Jennifer and Jasmin were in the same class for a year and the teacher said “so sad Jennifer was so ill and missed so much school she would be as smart as Jasmin”. I was so cross, it’s not because she missed so much school, Jennifer was reading simple words by 3 she was talking sentences by 9 months. They all looked at me as if I was insane.
Jasmin would be pushed aside as I fought for someone to help Jennifer, as my wish of someone seeing how smart she is! Jasmin started to pick up on things and would make comments at home like “you should be able to read that”! Anth and myself would tell her off, even though we knew she got that attitude from teachers at school.
1 day after swapping schools at work my phone goes, it was the school. Jennifer has been good at this one so my initial thought was “she’s finally ill”. Nope it was her year 6 teacher, she asked if I was Mrs Carney, I replied worryingly with yes. Then she requested a meeting, panic set in, has my angel finally snapped like at home.
Arriving at the school full of nerves, I walked in to be greeted by the teacher. As we sat down and started to talk, tears started to stroll as she told me how Jennifer was the perfect student and needed more help, as she could see what I saw. 6 years of arguing with teachers and finally a teacher had took that 10 minutes to see what I saw.
She explained that as Jennifer would be leaving soon Jennifer would not be tested but they would treat her as if she was diagnosed. My heart filled with delight, that year she shone through like We have never seen. She wanted to be at school, she would come home with happy stories of learning. I would be able to sit with Jasmin and do her homework not just Jennifer’s, finally a normal family.
Well that was until secondary school, they finally tested her and she’s in band D for dyslexia. This meant she was just below severe. I couldn’t believe it all the years my family and friends told me it was in my head, teachers would blame it on school missed. I was right something was wrong, but I did not understanding dyslexia.
To my shock dyslexia was a full on learning difficulty, it isn’t just letters muddled up or illiterate it is also not understanding things. So for someone without dyslexia they can be given instructions and be ok to get on. For Jennifer this is not the case, she has to have it broken down. Also Jennifer can only spell words that don’t use phonics, as her way of learning she cannot grasp phonics.
This to myself started to make sense, as before school I taught Jennifer to read with photographic memory and repetition. Now at school she couldn’t understand what they meant, meaning she was getting behind as she didn’t learn like everyone else.
Finally they will help her, no that didn’t happen. She was left doing her year 10 maths work, without no explanation of the question. She would then not be able to complete the work and get frustrated. The old Jennifer was returning at home, school refusal was back, but like the old days she could not explain what was wrong. That was when we decided to home educate her and now her siblings.
So dyslexia is not just not being able to read and write, it’s actually a lot more to do with the way we retain and take information in. The way we understand the information being given to us and the way we work as a team.