Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Finally Some Answers About Knee

Dear Readers and Family,
First let me start off by saying. Thank you for all your prayers. I was concerned that Knee was having difficulty at school for a reason. I suspected that it was dyslexia. I was concerned because he's in kindergarten and it's unusual for them to test someone with that specific type of learning disability at so young an age.  A good number of children show some slight signs of dyslexia because they are young and their brains are still developing.  That doesn't mean that they have dyslexia, but given that my father is dyslexic I had my doubts that Knee wasn't also suffering with reading difficulty. As you may remember, my father was so concerned that me and my brother were dyslexic that he was diligent in looking for the signs. My brother and I are not dyslexic.

Knee however is dyslexic and he also has dysgraphia.

Here is the letter from his school (edited for internet anonymity):

Hi, Mom and Dad,

Briefly re evaluation for Knee:  Knee DOES qualify for special education as having a Specific Learning Disability in Written Expression and Reading Comprehension (which is unusual for kindergarten to be specific to comprehension).   In other words, he does have dysgraphia and dyslexia, which are terms synonymous with the educational Learning Disability terms.  Fully average IQ and fully average language skills.

We will discuss what supports Knee can/will get at the meeting we have scheduled for him.  I sent home a behavioral assessment form since his classroom teacher has concerns about his behaviors.  I have seen him laying on the floor refusing to work at times.  It's possible that some of his frustrations in class could be related to difficulties with learning, especially since he is probably aware that some things are difficult.  When he was testing with me, he did a nice job of making an effort and following directions, stayed on task well for his age, was chatty, and was was (sic) great to work with.

School Psychologist

I'm definitely sure that his behavioral issues are frustration related.  He's very rarely like that at home. Normally he enjoys working on his homework until you get too corrective with him and then he yells at you. I get it. It must be monumentally difficult for him to have dyslexia and dysgraphia. It also explains why he has difficulties in speech that are unrelated to anything hearing wise.

It explains why all of his grades are great except that he is below average in reading and writing. He has a learning disability. He catches onto things very quickly but he back tracks, seems to forget, things when it comes to reading and writing.

What does this all mean for Knee? I'm not sure because our meeting isn't until March. My guess is that they are going to continue to send him to the reading lab at school and make modifications for his writing. I'm guessing that they will pass him into 1st grade (which was a concern of mine) and allow him to work at his own pace.

It's great news because it means Knee will get the help that he needs for the rest of his life. He'll also be getting early intervention so it's likely that he won't fall too far behind from his peers.

Now I'm sure people are going to wonder why on earth I think this is a good thing. Having a disability is not a horrible thing. Nobody is perfect. We have a name and a diagnosis for each of our children's struggles. Not everyone has that much. Some children and adults go their whole lives struggling and not getting resources that they need because of stigma. Having a learning disability or a developmental disability or a physical disability or some combination is not awful. People just need to get over that.

My father has gone his whole life dealing with this. He went to college and earned a bachelor's degree. He retired having had a successful career. My father reads. He read to me as a child. And he did all this without modifications or interventions because they didn't have that things like that for children in the 1950s.  I don't believe it was fake either because my father fully admits that learning foreign languages is a great deal difficult for him as an adult. It will be so much better for Knee. So much.

So all I feel is relief. He's going to be just fine and it's all because I pushed for it. The lesson to be learned parents is if you are seeing something, talk to your children's teachers. Ask if they see something too.  And ask for testing if you both agree something is off.  Don't wait.  And if you do wait, don't blame yourself either. Getting children tested and having others listen to you takes time. It took me 2 years to get Knee into speech intervention and yes, I pushed for that too.

Just don't ignore it because of stigma.  Both of my kiddos are going to be fine. What exactly is "wrong" with them anyway? Nothing. Having a disability isn't "wrong."  I just means that their successes are going to be different. Difference is a blessing. It's division and ableism that is diabolic.

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