Dyslexia is Different, and That’s a Good Thing

My three children are back at school. I say that with mixed emotions. It is was so much fun having lazy summer days eating ice cream, staying up late, and not being beholden to a schedule with after-school tutoring, tennis, dance, piano, art (the list is endless!) But there is also some rhythm to routine and schedules. After school activities broaden our child’s world and are infused with possibility.

And then, there is tutoring. My middle child, my son, has dyslexia. For the last three years, we’ve had him tutored five nights a week. I am more familiar with the Orton Gillingham method of remediation than most reading tutors I know! Every day, after a long day at school, he is shuffled back and forth to a highly specialized reading tutor. Since the traditional reading specialists are not all schooled in the Orton Gillingham method, I spent many hours researching and interviewing potential candidates. The process was so arduous; I almost quit my job to get certified and teach him myself. Luckily, I found a wonderful teacher who is not too far from our home.

It hasn’t been easy getting my son back and forth to tutoring, and after a long day at school, he is often tired. But it has paid off! He started 5th grade this year, completely on track with his grade level. I was informed by the reading teacher at school that he would be moving up two levels in the regular classroom. What a testament to hard work and sacrifice!

Getting the right help for a dyslexic child is imperative. They cannot be tutored in a traditional way. They are not just “slow” readers. It is not simply “developmental”. These children are intelligent and creative. They are out of the box thinkers and because they have learned at a very young age to work extra hard, they take nothing for granted and give new meaning to the word “determined”. They do NOT give up! This helps them develop great, lifelong qualities.

For a little while, my son thought he was dumb. His teachers and peers may have thought so as well. Now, he knows that he just learns differently, and we embrace all the many things he does easily and wonderfully. In his backpack, he carries a list of “CEOs with Dyslexia”. It is good to have that handy so he can remind anyone who mistakes his slower reading for lack of intelligence that a disproportionate number of leaders are those with dyslexia. Including, of course, Albert Einstein!

Atara Twersky, Author of Curlee Girlee is a TODAY Show Style Icon. Her mission is to teach girls to embrace the beautiful curls they have with power and confidence. Join us as together we change the “coarse” of curly hair. Don’t forget to read our recent article featuring charities that Curlee Girlee loves!

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