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Parenting a Child with LD or ADHD

Wish I could help my sister (son has LD)


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Joined: Dec 15, 2010
Posts: 3
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Posted Dec 15, 2010 at 9:12:13 PM
Subject: Wish I could help my sister (son has LD)

Hello! I'm actually writin on behalf of my sister (a single mom, raising 2 boys - one is 9 with a LD - dyslexia is the 'label' he was most recently given.)

"Brad" has advanced to 3rd grade, but the level of 'reading' he has to do for homework is ... well, just impossible for him. His mom is losing patience. I wish there was somethin I could do for her. What resources are out there for her? She has him in a 'small, Christian' school because she feels this small, class-size is beneficial for him. She said a 'tutor' comes to see him (and a few other kid). I know she wonders what if she sent him to a public school - and put him in the 'special education' track. (This is in the state of PA, by the way). She wonders what would be diffent if he want to 'special ed' in a public school? And, I for one, wonder if he's being 'advanced' undeservingly. I mean - if he can't complete the school homework, maybe he's not ready for that grade? She's really feeling defeated right now. Any encouragement ... or ideas??? Thanks!!! Again, this is from her lil' sis. "Brad" is my nephew.

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geodob2
Joined Jun 12, 2009
Posts: 41

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Posted:Dec 16, 2010 3:07:06 AM

Hi Caroline and welcome here,
Dyslexia is a label for a range of different things that can cause a difficulty with reading and/or writing. Where a different approach needs to be used, depending on what the underlying difficulty actually is.
So perhaps you could help her to dig deeper and get a clearer idea of what his actual difficulty is?
Then to look at what strategies are most suitable for addressing that difficulty.
She is probably feeling defeated, because she doesn't know much about what she is dealing with, and what to do?
Where having a child with Dyslexia or any LD, really requires the parent to become an expert. So that they can have some degree of control.

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caroline99
Joined Dec 15, 2010
Posts: 3

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Posted:Dec 16, 2010 9:38:01 AM

THANKS for your reply!!! I talked to my ssister again (sorry, she's not all that computer 'quick') ... But she said: they gave him a 'general' label of dyslexia and didn't elaborate on what his underlying problem was. His difficulty seems to lie in 1+ syllable words (he's good with 'cat', 'dog' etc.) He doesn't 'remember' rules like 'enough' has an 'eff' sound.. and that's something you can't sound out. He fails spelling tests miserably!!! Now, they're formatting tests to say 'guess' which is the correct spelling and sometimes he guesses right, but...it's all just a matter of chance. But, on a good note, he LOVES school and loves dinosaurs... science experiments.

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Mandi
Joined May 05, 2008
Posts: 424

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Posted:Dec 16, 2010 4:30:46 PM

I am dyslexic. The key to dyslexia is early intervention. Probably the only smart thing my parents did for me was putting me in special education for 2nd and third grade. They used The Orton Gullingham method with me. I don't know if this is a good option for your nephew, but this is what worked for me. I highly recommend it. But he likely needs one on one tutoring with someone who can use a program tailored to his specific learning needs. For dyslexics often they have to formulate whole neuropathways for reading and writing. It is really tough. But with enough repetition and practice and the right teacher someone understanding and knowledgeable about the right program to use for the specific child in question they can go on to great things. Today i am an archaeologist. And i would never send my kid to a christian school. I would want my child learning evolution instead of the book of genesis.

The thing is, a special education track is taught by people with an understnading of differnet learning styles and needs. A tutor who is just there for those who need a little extra push is generally insufficient to their needs. She doesn't have the training in specific programs tailored to what a special needs child needs. It is different than what a normal child needs.

Your sister is correct about 1 thing though, smaller class sizes do typically help those with many kinds of LD including dyslexia.

My thoughts are, keep religion out of the classroom. Religion is for church if you choose to go. Religion is for sunday school if you wish to send your child. But religion is not for the classroom. And just because the teachers are trained in scripture does not necesarily mean that they have completed the special courses that those who specialize in teaching to LD students have.

There are other ways to do this too though. You could hire an afterschool tutor, one that could work one on one with him every day, and could go through whatever method is going to work best for him learning to read.

Holding children back is a poor idea. No point to it if you just do it the same way it was done the first time they went through unsuccessfully. Plus often to children even young ones it feels for them like they are being penalized often in cases of LD children for doing the best they can and trying as hard as they can and working as hard as they can. The only lesson taught by that, is that no matter how hard they try they are still gonna be punished. They need encouragement not punishment.

People with Dyslexia are known to be quite ingenius. Their minds work differently. But their minds work, and are highly functional. So please understand this kid isn't broken he just needs a different aproach from someone specifically trained to tailor that aproach to his needs. Once that happens, you will find he will do just as i did about 3 years of work in 1 year. He will likely get selected for gifted programs similar to me. And he will go on to have a brilliant life partner doing something quite possibly highly intellectual because his mind is amazing as is often the case with dyslexics.

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caroline99
Joined Dec 15, 2010
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Posted:Dec 16, 2010 9:27:24 PM

Thank you so much. I'm reading this all to my sister and she's so grateful. Funny - but she didn't ever even HEAR of 'that' method. (Oy!!) In any case, I'm going to help her do some research! I do believe this kid is .. 'ingenius' ... or close to it! You should hear him rattle off dinosaur facts. For Christmas, he wanted an atom/molecule kit!! I think he's awesome!! But, I hope other replies flow in too! I mean, now that I read YOUR reply, I'm wondering what other 'methods' are out there?? So, seems the lesson is: be your own researcher/expert .. and each child is unique/differnt. There's no 'one size fits all'. Thanks, again!!!!

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Mandi
Joined May 05, 2008
Posts: 424

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Posted:Dec 17, 2010 4:28:16 PM

Here are some other things they did with me when i was little to help me.

My dad used to take me to museums. Usually about science and ancient history and even art. He would have me go through a great deal of trouble to read the first sentence on the plaqu beside anything i found interesting. Then he would read a line then i would read a line. It really helped me practice without having reading seem quite so "huge" a task.

My mom, used to write messages with my food on my plate. Good Job! Nice Work! I Love You. Stupid little 2 or 3 word simple messages. Again not a lot to read, and kinda fun.

As i got a bit better they started bringing home foreign films for me. Making me read the subtitles out loud.

They got me books i actually found interesting too that helped dramaticly.

Here is what he is thinking right now.

"I don't need this. I get through well enough just being able to have verbal exchanges. This is completely unnecesary agony for me to go through, when i can ask for information and have someone speak it to me."

He has no idea, how small his world is. And when he finally walks into an isle in the grocery store and he can look around himself and he sees word after word and he can understand what the words are telling him..... I nearly had a heart attack at 10 when that happened to me. I must have changed colors freaked my mum out then i told her i could read it all. And i realized just how tiny and little my world really was for the first time in my life it was like someone had walked into my brain opened all the windows of it and all the doors and i had access beyond the walls of my own skull. I can not begin to properly express this huge feeling this sudden.... expansion of the universe. But it can happen for your nephew also if you get him the right kind of instruction.

To this day, I send christmas presents to the 2 teachers who taught me to read. To this day, I send them post cards about my life and where i presently am in the world as i travel all over and i speak now multiple languages. My mother gave birth to me, but those 2 women they gave birth to the universe for me to play with. I will never be able to thank them sufficiently for that. Never.

Your nephew likes dinosaurs? Just don't let him think they rode around on some ark and that the grand canyon is the product of a flood. Please please please, I beg you. I spend a lot of my time trying to unteach nonsense related to time and life's travel path through it. One of the most annoying is there are actually people out there who think there was a flood that drowned the whole world and that T-Rex road on the ark... Please don't let him learn nonsense. This is the reason i would never send my kid to catholic school. I don't want him learning that.

Children are like fossils, all of them unique. Which is why i tend to think of the school system as "disabled" rather than thinking of the child as disabled. A one size fits all is bound to be worthless at various points to 99% of the population that passes through. This is just a mathematical certainty. Therefor, why think of the child as unnable rather than thinking of the american school system as unable to educate?

Did you know in the western world the american school system ranks as the absolute worst? Did you know Finland offers the best school system in the world? Can you find Suomiland... I mean Finland on the map? ;)
For many that would be a challenge. I would not send any child of mine to school in the usa. However, there are a number of countries in europe i would be thrilled to send my children to. So why think of it as the child who is broken and the one who is failing rather than taking a hard and honest look at the institution that is failing american children?

You should tell your nephew we are all descended from great apes.... That should get a fun response. I can't wait to have children. I want so much to teach them, to show them the old bones in the ground and to help them understand what it all means. You are so lucky to have such an opportunity.

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Shawn
Joined Dec 26, 2010
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Posted:Dec 26, 2010 11:05:05 PM

Hi,
Probably the most important thing is to educate yourself (herself) on her child's strengths and gifts. Focus on those. Once her child has a strong interest in a particular area, you can relate a lot of work back to that topic, eg. reading books on dinosaurs etc.
Dyslexia is what you make it to be - it can either be a gift (just look at all the famous dyslexics out there) or a crutch of why you cannot succeed in life. It's your choice.

Shawn

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Mandi
Joined May 05, 2008
Posts: 424

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Posted:Dec 27, 2010 6:36:11 PM

Yes, knowing your child's strengths and weaknesses is critical. Because you can use the strengths to make ways around the weaknesses or to even get through some to all of the weak areas. Dyslexics are especially good at this kind of thing actually. That is just part of how our brains function. We create strategies for dealing. It is important for you to know so you can help him to get started.

Even more important, is teaching him his strengths and weaknesses and how to think creatively and outside the box to use them to his advantage.

It isn't just a "choice" Not by a long shot. And that is a rather ignorant statement. The fact is, a choice exists when you are on a level playing field, when you are not you have no choice but to kick the ball up hill all the time in order to score. There is no choice for dyslexics. Life is simply not as easy for us in some ways. And society is very unforgiving. Things that should not come with a great degree of difficulty are arduous and torturous tasks for us, by no "choice" of our own. That is as rediculous as saying being gay is a choice. It simply isn't so and the genetic evidence in the case of being gay anyway proves it. Being dyslexic and having a great deal of difficulty isn't a choice it isn't optional.

What is a choice, is once you have scored all the goals wheather or not you want to keep playing the game. Would you if you had to kick the ball and run up hill in an effort not to lose?

What is a gift with dyslexia is how our brains work typically much more abstractly and creatively than is typical. It allows us sometimes to do huge amounts in very difficult situations.

But there is no choice. The need to survive in this life simply does not allow us one.

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