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Running backwards

“Remember 5 days ago when I was so happy to be running in capris?” This is a text I sent one of my running partners last week.   Minnesota is enduring the return of winter.  Little did we know in December that getting through this winter would be its own form of an endurance event.  Each time I look out the window, it seems like we are in a time warp and have gone backwards in time.  We are stuck in February.

path in snow

Sometimes my days with dyslexic children are like this.  Last week while #2 was writing I had to remind him that b is made “bat-ball” and d is “donut door.” I thought I was going to lose it.  Honestly. I usually sit by his side while he is writing and watch him make every letter so I can stop a mistake before it starts.  The more times he forgets which way a b goes and writes it backwards, thats twice as many times I have to remind him which way is correct.  Last year we sat with colorful reminders of trouble letter shapes in front of him.  This year we have tried to move towards cementing that knowledge and relying on kinesthetic reminders with his hands or verbal reminders.  This multisensory approach is incredibly important to dyslexic students when we are trying to make new imprints on their brain of what a b looks like.  Its stunning how much practice an intelligent child needs on such a basic skill. Someday I hope he gains automaticity in his letters (although there are many times that I also whisper “bat-ball” or “donut-door” when I’m writing).  #2 can discuss presidential history, but when it comes to writing I constantly feel like I’m going backwards or stuck in a time warp….Its always gloomy February.

Last fall I heard Andrew Solomon, author of Far from the Tree, speak.  His book is about parenting children with differences.  One part I really connected with is that the parents that seem to come out of difficult parenting situations to tell stories of success have found deep meaning in their parenting journey.  This is something I have found myself going back to as I look outside and wonder what month is it and then I look at #2s writing and wonder the same.  Am I making progress?  Is this worth it?

And yes, it is.  The patience and time it takes to help a child with profound dyslexia is worth it.  I don’t know the path it will take, but I’m determined to make it worth it.  There are bright spots with his language.  18 months ago he broke into tears if he was asked to read a book as simple as Go, Dog, Go!  Last week during free read time I looked over and found this:

fortune cookie wookie

There is hope.  Its amazing what discipline, practice, grit and perseverance can do.  It can turn a non-runner into a marathoner.  It can turn a non-reader into a voracious reader.  Lately its a small battle to get him to put DOWN a book, especially when its such high class literature as The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee: An Origami Yoda Book.

Today my text to a running parter will be, “Let’s try to qualify for Boston at the TC marathon this fall.”  We all need hope.

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