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Monday, October 6, 2014

A California Farm Mom Shares Her Son's Dyslexia Story (Part 1)

I have shared some about our Dyslexia story.  In the coming weeks, I hope to share many more.  Up today is my friend from college, Sandy.-KFM
Well life can have it's challenges but in the end I strongly believe God only gives us what we can handle.  After our second son, Toby, was born we noticed some things were different from our first child.

We closely observed & made mental notes along the way.  Before the age of 3, he was tested at the UC Davis Mind Institute, in Northern California, to see if he was autistic.  They ruled autism out.  But did suspect ADHD.  From there it still became a guessing game as to what was/is going on.  As we left the mind institute that day with our heads hanging low & our self esteem just as low with no answers, I told my husband, that our son is very smart.  While Toby was in being tested he was telling the psychologist all about tractors & balers & combines, etc. and she was looking at us asking what is he talking about.  I told my husband, if we had turned the tables on her that day & tested her on farm equipment compared to Toby, she would have failed & Toby would have been the genius.  He just isn't into his ABC's & 1-2-3's right now.  He was so advanced in so many ways & his level of intelligence you could see was very high.

After all, we had built a pool in the Fall of 2011 and that next Spring when we took the cover off of it & our youngest son insisted, at not quite 4 years of age, that we needed to put hot water in the pool so we could swim in it.  Well he knew that when you first turn the water on, on the garden hose that had been sitting in the sunshine, that hot water would come out for a bit.  So he would go out to the pool 3-4 times a day & put the hot water in the pool from the garden hose trying to warm up the pool.  Yeah & this is at not even age of 4!

As time moved on, he attended a preschool for a few months where he would be dismissed after a couple of months for being too active.  Although while there, a speech delay was noticed, so he was referred for speech therapy.  From there we were able to get him into a head start program, which was wonderful.  Kindergarten was interesting to say the least and seemed like a waste of a year.

Upon ending his Kindergarten year I still wasn't happy with the educational results that we were seeing.  I was starting to see signs that Toby could possibly be dyslexic part way through his first year in head start & into kindergarten.  I had a local friend, whom is a daughter of a Doctor, whom I had visited with who had a daughter that is now in her mid 20's that had all the same symptoms & was dyslexic.  So she had given me clues as to what to look for.  Her daughter was not diagnosed until 5th grade but all the signs & symptoms were there.   She had more of a struggle getting the staff to believe her & the IEP team than anything.  Our son was stimulated by the numbers, excessive students his Kindergarten year. The school he attended was at about 500 kids, grades K-5 & 30 per classroom with no aides.  It was time for a change.

We looked into the local charter school which would be on it's 4th year from being founded, beginning the following Fall.  There were 25 kids max per class & the school system also requires volunteering by parents.  So when we toured the school every class had at least 1 parent helper & several of them had 2 parent helpers in class.  This really brought the teacher to student ratio down.  This is what he needed.

He had a wonderful 1st grade teacher & an aide & half way through his 1st grade year I was really starting to question myself more & more if our son was Dyslexic.  He was not yet able to rehearse his ABC's completely & to me that is almost something that should be known by the age 3-4.  He would get 1/3 of the way through them & start skipping around w/ the rest of the alphabet.  I saw other signs as well too.  Often he would write numbers & letters backwards & sometimes completely spell out his whole first name backwards.  Spelling was near impossible for him & reading, well it wasn't even possible where as his classmates at the end of their first grade year were already reading.  It was so frustrating.  Then I got a phone call driving home from our county fair one day from my good friend, Nicole Small, in Kansas.

She knew my struggles with our youngest son & had observed him as well, a few times when we were out visiting one another.  She proceeded to tell me about their youngest son.  Their son was struggling with some of the same issues but not quite as bad as our son & she had just taken him to Pittsburg State University, in Pittsburg, Kansas to have him tested for dyslexia.  She had told me that her son was exiting 2nd grade & still hated to do homework & still wasn't reading & after 1 full week at Pittsburg State University & the Carrd Center, her son was now doing his homework & loved reading!!!  What an amazing accomplishment.  She was calling to tell me to try to get me to take our youngest son there when we were out next time.

Well when you go through these struggles & your kids mean the world to you, you try to do what is best for them any way that you can.  When Nicole told me about this program, her word to me as a friend, was good enough advice for me to look into it.  I called back to PSU & talked to the staff about their program and our son & his situation & what struggles he was having, what testing we had been through & so forth.  Immediately yes he said he was a strong candidate for this program.  So then of course, us being from Northern California, I researched local places that I could go for the same kind of service.  The closest place I found was about 1 hour 45 min away & had a pretty hefty price tag & required 2 weeks of schooling for both Toby & I, in addition upon completion of the testing, if Toby would have been found dyslexic.  So instead, I made plans to travel back to Kansas with our boys & proceed with the testing.