Most parents who talk to me tell me the same story, "...my child told me they were stupid" "...my child hates school and fights me every morning." When I hear these comments my heart breaks a little more. That is exactly how this started with my own daughter and I will never forget that first time she came to me crying in second grade telling me that she was the stupidest kid in her class. I still get choked up just thinking about it.
My daughter is now in 4th grade and she has an IEP that is addressing her reading needs but she still comes home at least once a week crying, or if she isn't crying she is angry, so very angry, at me. And did I do anything? No, but the stress and emotions that she hides all day long come out at me because she feels safe with me. Now, I am not here to tell you I am mother of the year, because believe me I am not, I am human and some of the things that she says to me in the moment hurt, she is a preteen girl after all, but once we both step away from the situation we both are ok, and my daughter knows I will always be her number one supporter and will do anything I can for her, but in her young head she still feels like she is the stupidest kid in the class and there is nothing anyone can do about it anymore.
What I have said to many parents is this, they just need to get through school. School sucks, but the real world isn't like this. The real world doesn't care how you got the answer, as long as you did. The real world doesn't judge you when you bring out your device to record a class or to do your writing on. No one cares, but it's the 13 years of school that does all that and that is very hard to get a child to understand.
So how can we fix this? Well of course addressing the needs of our kids in kindergarten is one. Yes some kids it is developmental but some it isn't and I have a newsflash for everyone, helping all these kids isn't going to hurt anyone but if we wait until 2nd or 3rd grade or worse even longer, we now don't have to just address the dyslexia but now we need to try and help those self esteem issues as well and that is not as easy of a task.
So, you might say, "now we have RTI, so that is fixing it, that is catching these students and getting them the early intervention that you keep talking about Jennifer". Let me just tell you something. I knew my daughter was struggling in K and in 1st grade when they started doing the fluency tests, she scored in the 30th percentiles. That meant she wouldn't have qualified. But I knew something was wrong and thank goodness she had a wonderful 1st grade teacher that agreed there was something not right and put her into an intervention anyway, not the right intervention but at the time that was all my school system had. This was before RTI. What breaks my heart now is when teachers come to me, asking me to help them help their students because they scored above that 25th percentile mark but the teacher just knows something isn't right and the teachers are told by the "experts" in the schools, they scored over the 25th percentile so they are fine for right now. That is heartbreaking and that is the reality of RTI. The state would never say that is ok, but that IS what is happening.
Let me share these two stories with you because they are real. Please read them. If you are a parent of a dyslexic you will sadly relate, but if you are an educator please try to understand how our dyslexic children are feeling. Dyslexia is more than not reading at grade level. It is so much more.