My life has been forever changed by dyslexia.

The irony isn’t lost on me.  I once believed dyslexia was  a concocted disability… And if it did exist then it was probably over-diagnosed.

God has a sense of humor.  And often from the biggest skeptics He molds the best advocates.

1 in 5

One in five people are dyslexic.  You know a dyslexic, actually, you know several.  That friend who writes emails and can never remember when to use their/they’re and were/where?  Yeah, she’s probably dyslexic.   Your kiddo that struggled mightily to learn to tie his shoes, never was good at nursery rhymes, and  struggled to learn to sound out CVC words? Probably dyslexic.  It’s okay though!  That kid really had a “light bulb” moment… Probably right around 4th grade.  All of a sudden that child could READ!

I had that child.  “He’s a boy,” I reasoned.  Late bloomer.  Active.  Bright.  And, sure enough, age 10/11, he began to read and read and read.  In one year he went from struggling with simple three and four letter words to reading The Hobbit.  All of my concerns were minimized, my belief that he would read in his own time was completely validated, life was grand.  And I did my part to spread the propaganda that kids learn to read on their own timeline and early struggles mean nothing but give them more time.

Shame. On. Me.

I’m sorry.  I was so anti-dyslexia that when a friend came to me and said, “Kelly, I really think you should have your son evaluated.  I see in him several signs of dyslexia,” I flashed her a patronizing smile.  (This was our second son.  He was about six at the time.) She further explained that one of her own children was dyslexic.  And in my ignorance I said, “Almost every homeschooling mother I know has thought she might have a dyslexic child.  If you just keep plugging at phonics, slow and steady, they read.”  I was confident.  Still, my beautiful friend was tenacious.  She insisted we go hear a wonderful speaker, Kelly Arnold, from the Northwest Dyslexia Center.  Kelly Arnold is the best speaker I’ve heard so far and I’ve heard a few, including Susan Barton twice.

I went.  I dragged my husband along.  I figured it was the only way I was going to be able to say, “We listened.  We’re confident in our path for him.”

About ten minutes into the lecture our world tilted.  The light began to go on and not only were we realizing our sons (plural) and one daughter had all the trademarks of being dyslexic, so did my husband… Right down to the “horror” stories of elementary school – being put into speech class, the slow reading group.  He despised being asked to read aloud.  He hated rading, didnt like spelling tests and, to this day, worries over spelling something wrong in a work email.  Keep ’em short, sweet, to the point, and there is less room for errors.

We walked away from that speaking engagement that evening with our eyes wide open.

And yet……….

And yet there is a tiny piece of you that wonders if you aren’t a bit of a hypochondriac.  Did you make the symptoms “fit” because it was convenient?  Because she was such a compelling speaker?   We did nothing.  As a matter of fact it was almost a year before we decided to have the boys professionally tested.  Separately, by the way.  We actually had them tested by two entirely different professionals so that I could be more certain of the results.  I was *not* a believer.

More tomorrow………