There is so much involved in education today that I often find it difficult to decide from one week to the next on what to write. I have several unfinished blogs in a file that I really do not know whether to finish or not.
Frequently I will begin writing and about halfway through realize that I have totally changed my focus! Or there are those days when there are so many issues that I cannot even begin!
One of the issues that seem to come to the forefront on a regular basis regards children with learning disabilities. These are usually lumped together and categorized as dyslexia. There are many types of dyslexia, and the severity runs from one end of the spectrum to the other.
In the very early years of education in America and even into the 20th century, learning disabilities were not labeled as such. These were just children who had trouble learning, and the teacher worked with these children to help them.
I have spoken with several parents of children with dyslexia who have shared that they only learned as adults that they had dyslexia. They had struggled all their lives, but had eventually learned how to adapt. Many of them do not realize that dyslexia is an inherited trait.
Everything that I have read about dyslexia states that the earlier it is addressed in children, the earlier it can be corrected. Yet I have had more than one experience with the local schools, where I know the child is dyslexic, but the school is not willing to “label” the child so young.
Youngsters, by nature, want to learn. If they are not learning, then there is probably something that is interfering with their ability. This past year I have seen a rise in the number of young children (first and second graders) with dyslexia. They are often dejected and sad when I see them.
These kids know they are having trouble in school. They do not know how to tell the teacher or their parents why they can’t remember how to spell a word or remember how to say a word that they knew yesterday. Mom and Dad often become angry, thinking their child is not focusing or paying attention.
Then there are those children who cannot find anything! They may have put the designated item “away” but the next day, have no idea where it is. This is one of the many signs of dyslexia.
I do not have a degree in special education or learning disabilities, but I have learned how to spot these problems. I have also discovered numerous materials that help these children. Unfortunately these issues take a lot of time to correct. And the methodology to correct them can become repetitive, boring and tedious.
I try to make their tutoring sessions as varied as possible so they will enjoy the activities.
The important thing is that these problems must be addressed early and regularly. Although children can show improvement, failure to continue instruction will likely result in the child losing the gains made. Sadly, I had a tutoring student this past year with dyslexia who was making progress, but mom did not want to be hassled with bringing him to tutoring. I have learned that he has regressed.
Bottom line – if you suspect that your child may have learning problems, don’t wait to see if they will get better. Better to have them tested and find out than gamble with their education.