|Photo borrowed from DEEWR website|
My boy can't read. He is trying his best but he finds it so incredibly difficult. Dyslexia is like that. It turns an easy learned task into a constant battle of vision, brain messages, inward/outward muscles, eye strain, remembering words and spelling. It is not something that comes easily and quickly. Every single reading experience is strained and stressful.
We are doing everything we can to help. Eye exercises, tutoring, glasses, communication, support and encouragement. But as NAPLAN draws closer the stress for this Mummy increases because, while I am keeping him calm and nonchalant about the whole thing, I am in inner turmoil at the injustice and pain of it all. If it was just the reading side of the business I wouldn't be feeling quite so sad. We know there is a weakness there and that is fine ... everyone has weaknesses of some description ... he has far too many strengths for his weakness to become a highlight. But the problem is his strengths can't be seen in the NAPLAN process. Because to show how competent he is at maths he has to first be able to read the bloody question! To show how well he comprehends stories, predicts events, anticipates endings and creates new story lines he has to first be able to read the freakin' story in question! To be able to write his name on the front of the paper he has to first be able to read the instruction that tells him he needs to write his name,.
I am exhausted. Other dyslexia mums warned me there is no magic light switch. They told me I could hope and pray and visualise and believe all I wanted that he would suddenly be cured, but in reality that is not going to happen. All we can do is manage the situation and get our kids through this reading based school system as unscathed as possible.
Well bugger that. I don't want to simply MANAGE. I want to make changes. I want to lead and I want to fight. These kids are not stupid. They can't read but that is such a small part of their story. My challenge isn't in being able to magically cure Darby's eyesight ... my challenge is to magically change the structure of education so that the dyslexia is recognised as a visual impairment that can be overcome, not by forcing these kids to continually bust their eyeballs trying to keep up with a book based system, but by being supported by alternative education options that acknowledge their strengths and celebrates their intelligence.
Today is the day I start my fight. If you have any information on dyslexia and the Australian system I would love for you to share with me. If I am missing a valuable resource or link, I'd love for you to make me aware of it. In the meantime I need to write a letter to our great Midnight Oil burning politician in the hope that he PERSONALLY may just open up his eyes and read it.
Dear Minister Garrett ........