Thursday, June 15, 2017

Feeling the Need to Write (about the Squirrel)

Greetings strange people.

No, you're not supposed to start a blog entry with a greeting, like a diary.  But it's been so long since I've updated this blog with something substantial that, well, I felt like I ought to welcome (both of) you back.

So, yeah.  I have my YouTube channel.  I'm on Facebook and twitter.  I have a work webpage and a business one.   But sometimes, I need to write.  I need to process everything out of my brain via the written word.

So, there are lots of things I need to process in the blog:  losing weight and how different that does not make me feel, tidying up the house, my new relaxed approach to gardening, peaking at work in one's 50s, etc.

But today is dedicated to the Squirrel.  It's probably going to be the first in a series.  But right now, she gets today's brain space.

So, we've known for a while that Bridget is very smart.  I hate to say that because it sounds like bragging.  But it's clear that Bridget is a clever child.  She started talking in 4 word sentences. Her French skills are outstanding; she's almost a native speaker. She can argue like a lawyer, even though she doesn't have all the facts straight. Or maybe *because* she doesn't have all the facts straight.  Her math skills are top of the charts.  She's a clever little Squirrel.

But she can't read for shit.

And it's been a problem for at least 4 years.  When she started writing, she wrote her name in perfect mirror.  She will say Ma for Am.  She can decode a word in a sentence but when she sees it 4 words later, it's completely foreign to her.  Every word is a struggle.

Do you see where I'm going here?

Yeah.  We got the final diagnosis 3 weeks ago:  Bridget has dyslexia.

But there are several fortunate components to this diagnosis.

First, it is verified that Bridget is a smart kid.  As the doc says, she definitely has the horse power in her engine.

Second, she only has one area of dyslexia that's a problem.  I'm not going to say which because we are awaiting the final doc report, but it's a common one?  An easy one??  One in which the doc thinks that once her special training/tutoring kicks in, she's going to really ramp up on her reading skills.

Third, we are keeping her in French school.  Her gift for oral language and know vocabulary is at the top of the charts.  It's a real intellectual "gift."  I'm not taking that away from my child.  And both her teacher and the doc feel that improving reading in one language will boost improvements in reading in the other.  It's a decoding problem.  Bridget already understands that different languages make different sounds.  So decoding a phoneme in English won't impeded decoding a phoneme in French once the tutor helps her brain make the phoneme decoding connection.

We are reading Overcoming Dyslexia, a research based book by a Yale prof on what dyslexia really (differences in brain wiring) and how to help kids and adults improve their writing.  Honestly, the stories from the prof's cases are SO CLOSE to Bridget, that I feel like she must be the prototypical dyslexic kid:  Smart, talkative, creative, logical, math gifted, and can't read for shit.  

We've explained to her that she's a clever child but her brain wiring is different from other kids and that's why she can't read.  She was honestly HAPPY to learn that.  She knows she can't read and others can.  To hear that a doc said she was smart but her brain is wired differently from most kids---but wired similarly to a bunch of other smart kids---was a relief to her.

She's really looking forward to tutoring.  She's really looking forward to learning to finally read.  She likes being a smart kid who is a little funky.

I'm not going to hide this because there's nothing "wrong" with Bridget.  There's nothing wrong with *you* and all *your* funky things. It's what makes us ourselves.  I do not ascribe shame to dyslexia and Mama Bear will come out and say some ugly words if anyone tries to shame her for something that she likely inherited.  (Yeah.  Reading the book, I'm definitely on the dyslexia continuum)

So there.  I have a honorary MD in infertility.  Our pediatrician has already said that I have an honorary MD in pediatric pulminology.  Now, with the blessing and encouragement from the doc who diagnosed Squirrel, it's time for me to get an honorary Master's in Dyslexia tutoring and advocacy.  Apparently, this is one dx that all parents *have* to become experts to navigate the public school system and to make sure their child thrives.

Clearly, this is the first in a series of blog posts.....

1 comment:

Carroll McNeill said...

Go, Squirrel!!!

Also, yay, you're back!! Or, least sort of planning to (maybe) be back :-)

Anita, if you are willing to entertain special requests from your loyal followers, could we at your convenience also see some words about Conor and his dance he's doing the brother thing now that he's a world apart from them in age all of a sudden... Oh, and more about the rats too, please. There's just something about the blog format as opposed to FB, y'know? Or maybe I'm just incorrigibly old-school. I miss scrolling through my daily blog reads & yours have always been at the top of my list.

Welcome back!

(Reader Number One of Two ;-) )
((And waving cheerfully to Reader Number Two, Dot Blanchard :-) )