Wednesday, May 13, 2009


I struggled over whether to write about this, but I figured that those of you who know me personally will learn about this eventually anyway, and those of you who don't know me, well, it's just a story about people you don't know. No big.

So anyway, Friday was the Mother's Day Tea in Young Son's class. The kids presented the moms with all of the stuff they had made, one being a little booklet with two photocopied 'coupons' at the end.

The last coupon said:

Mother's Day Coupon
This coupon is good for

For all you do for me!

Young Son had elaborately hand-colored the photocopied pattern around the border, and had printed, in more-or-less capital letters, "I WILL HLDE MACK MY NATE DOT", which, he said, read "I will help make my neti pot."

It's totally adorable. Upon closer inspection, I noticed he had written and erased it at least once. He really worked hard to get it just right for Mom!

Now take into consideration that Young Son is not five or six or seven. Young Son is almost ten years old.

Ten years old.

Even though he has lagged behind in reading, writing, and spelling since day one, he's funny and smart and clever and has an amazing imagination and has always managed to make just enough progress each year, somehow. It's come up a couple of times that there might be some sort of slight learning disability, but hey, he was making progress, and sometimes boys develop those skills more slowly, right? So let's wait and see.

Wait and see, year after year.

Well, somehow on Monday it all came together. I pulled out that coupon book and stared at it. I started researching online and reading about Dyslexia. And within ten minutes I knew in my heart that this is something we have to deal with. Now.

You know, it's amazing what you can not see if you don't want to see it.

So now what?

So far this week, I learned that the school system does not test for Dyslexia and does not offer special ed or tutoring for it. The best we can do is have him evaluated ourselves and, if he starts struggling in the fall (4th grade) we can bring in the results and call for a 'team meeting' to talk about accommodations and a 504 plan; things he can have to help him get through his work, like more time to do his work, verbal testing, etc. But any special tutoring he gets will have to be on our time (and our dime). I was really surprised to learn that, but that's OK really, because that means I can do the research and we can be sure we get it right.


I feel really, really bad (I mean really bad) that I didn't face this before now, but I am bound and determined to do everything I can to help Young Son learn what he needs to learn. I am very, very lucky that between the Ex and myself, we have the resources to pay for whatever needs paying for. I'm learning more every day about Dyslexia and what our options are, and I will be having him evaluated as soon as I find someone qualified to do so. Then we will choose a program and start working on those skills that did not come naturally to him.

But that adorable coupon that he worked so hard on will always remind me that I let my fear prevent me from doing what he needed me to do years ago.

And that sucks.


  1. Liz,
    This must have been pretty tough to write. Thanks for doing it. I try to think of it this way. This is his Gift to us.
    He has many special gifts and this will reveal itself to us as he learns to cope with this condition.

  2. Aw, you mystic philosopher, you.

  3. I know you. You're ornery. Dyslexia is in for some tough times.

    I've got your back (and your front).

    Long distance hugs,

  4. Liz, you'll work it out...

    In addition to learning as much as you can about dyslexia, learn as much as you can about what the law requires schools to provide. I'm thinking something doesn't smell right in terms of what the school supposedly provides. I think if you go head to head... well, I think there's more on your side in terms of providing services than their side for not.

    You might need a good attorney who specializes in educational law...

  5. Peter, you rabble-rouser, you. There's lots of legal information at


  6. Liz, Hang in there...Peter's right about the system. But regardless of what the system does it's what you do, not the system, that will have more impact than anything.

    As far as feeling bad...Don't. You heard him...and at least you heard him before puberty and take it from someone who has been down a similar road...if you had waited until after the evil hormone testosterone had kicked in it would be very very difficult.

  7. Hi, Liz. I can imagine how hard this must be, but at least now you know what your dealing with. I don't mean to sound (write?) like a typing cliche, but try to focus on looking forward, not back at what you see as missed signs or failings. He IS smart and clever and kind; it's apparent in how he took so much time to write that out and to decorate it extra-special for you.

    And, goodness, how many 10 year olds even know what a neti pot is?!

    You'll both be okay.


  8. Thanks, everyone, for the kind words. I'm done beating myself up (for now) and am working the problem like a $2 whore*.

    (*The problem, not me...)


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