I am reposting this because I am in awe of my oldest son, Quinn. He entered public school in August 2017 after a 5 year homeschooling hiatus. He is nearing the end of the first Semester of school and he has a straight A average and is in all honors classes. This Dyslexic and dysgraphic child met with his advisor this week to discuss finals. He will be allowed to simply circle the answer on the main test and someone else will fill in the bubble score sheet after he is done. He will take his English final in a different room so he can type and if needed use voice to text. He is excelling and it’s awesome to watch. He even got asked to advance in French moving from French I to French II in January when the new semester starts. So read about kids with learning disabilities- because they might just go off into the world one day and surprise you!
Being unique is cool right? Well having Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dysgraphia, or other learning disabilities make us cooler. I choose to think so. Overcoming them takes some adjusting and some creativity. Here is what we did to help our son overcome these disabilities. In just 3 years he went from a 2nd grade level at age 11 to an honors level high school level at age 14. Here is what we did.
We opted to get Quinn tested for dyslexia at age 11- it was the summer and he was about to be 12. He went to Alexian Brother’s Hospital- Center for Pediatric Brain and saw Dr. Nicole Cruz. He was very low on reading, and writing was even lower. He was in 6th grade and yet he was at a much lower grade level for all the testing. He was discouraged and it was hard on him that he was so low. His IQ was 139 however and proved he was intelligent but was unable to articulate that intelligence on paper. What to do?
We were homeschooling at the time and the doctor recommended we wait until high school to send him back. I could continue 7th and 8th grade at home and even high school if we had success at home. He had been homeschooling since 4th grade so we just made subtle changes at home. He began typing exclusively and then using voice to text software. He began to “write” at older levels and after getting Quinn a writing tutor we went from writing at a 3/4th grade level to a 9th/10th grade level in just 3 months. It was simple changes like using a writing template (think visual outline) and allowing Dragon Voice to Text Software on longer assignments combined with rewrites using typing. This worked out really well for him.
Over the years we had discovered audio books. Dr. Cruz recommended Learning Ally and we opted to use that for text books to be read to him. It’s free in the state of Illinois if you get a diagnosis so he can use that for high school as well but so far he hasn’t had to utilize it. Quinn also uses large print text or he uses the enlarging feature of his i-pad to make things easier to read. Audio books utilize the same areas of the brain that traditional reading does. It’s a great way to keep your child engaged and wanting to read.
We worked together every day. We downloaded the dyslexia font and used Firefox (that’s the only browser that it works on) and that allowed for each letter and number to be weighted differently. It helped all the websites we used especially Khan Academy for math. It changed our lives. Soon Quinn was working thru 4th through 7th grade math all during his 7th grade year while homeschooling. He was able to by 8th grade work 100% independently in math. This was a huge success. It’s ironic because math is how we figured it out. Word problems were Quinn’s nemesis. He would stumble through the problem but when we’d check his math it would be spot on and then we realized that the math was right but the order in which he did it was wrong due to the fact he’d misread the word problem. The dyslexia font changed all of that for him. Success in math brought on better self esteem and great pride.
So don’t be afraid to be unique, don’t be afraid to change things up until they work for you and your child. Advocate for them. Quinn is now a 9th grader and in all honors classes. I am in shock of how well he’s doing. He’s 1/4 thru the school year (1/2 way thru the semester) and he’s got all A’s. I could care less- all I want for him is to be happy and feel good about school and about himself. That is the only “A” I need!