Thursday, October 20, 2011

Day 744

E from Whining at the World started her post with a quote yesterday:

“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” Elizabeth Stone

I read her post within minutes of having my own bout of frustrated tears over my boy child.  After our home learning session I went and shut myself in my bedroom for a few minutes just to "recover" from the brutality of learning to read. I needed to cry.  I needed to cleanse.  I needed to take my mind off it all.

It shouldn't be this hard! It's always a battle - some days more so than others.  I am drained.  He is drained. We are both so bloody sick of having to fight.

As you know he struggles with his reading.  He was diagnosed a year ago with a form of dyslexia (not that we use that word out loud in front of him) and we had some intensive therapy as a result.  Apparently his vision is now perfect and we should be able to move forward smoothly.

But it is not smooth and there has been minimal forward movement.  It's been a year and nothing magic has happened to suddenly get him up to speed.  We work bloody hard (he and I) and while there is progress it is so darn slow it feels like we are standing still.

It would be ok if he was ok within himself.  It would be ok if he felt good about his progress and kept plugging along willingly.  It would be ok if reading wasn't so bloody important. But he feels bad and he fights me every step of the way and we live in a book based society.  He can't move forward with any of his studies until he can read! He's a whiz at maths while ever it is written in numerical format or read out loud ... but once it turns into wordy problems that he has to read, he can't move forward.  He has great comprehension skills, and he can predict outcomes, and create characters and recount storylines and scenes ... but to prove all that in this book based world he has to be able to read it himself first! It is so bloody draining.  We are tired.   We are frustrated.   We both want a magic wand ....

I have made another appointment with the eye specialist and I am making queries about a tutor. While normally I quite like a good challenge, I really must find the path of least resistance for this one.  Our relationship and our mental health depends on it ...

Any tips?


  1. Give yourself a pat on the back for loving him enough to try, but perhaps give the gift of a tutor to allow both you and Darbs the chance to be free of this fight. He's obviously struggling, and I understand as a mother why you want to take that pain away and make everything easier.

    But as we outsource our finances to a good accountant, our dental work to the best practioner of dentistry, and our annual gyno visits to the camera-happy best ;-) there could be many positives having a fresh, loving (but not quite so attached) educator to help him read. That way his struggles (& hopefully they will lessen in time) will be associated with his tutor & not his Mum. We know you love him to the moon and back, but he may be picking up on subtle stresses, frustrations, and disappointments that you can't help but wear in your current role as his tutor.

  2. Hello. Found you via E. and Jemikaan. LIKE!

    Apologies if I jump right in, but you did ask for tips (evil grin).

    What do you know so far? Vision is good? How are the phonics? Where exactly in the reading process are things falling apart? What different strategies have you tried? My son Speedy got precisely nowhere with phonics-based remediation, but learnt to read 'whole word' style (which is very out-of-fashion. Whatever works. His difficulties ended up being more related to auditory processing.

  3. Hi Lisa - interesting. Eyes were tested and found to have a bit of an "up close" issue (needs to be around 40cm) and has/had visual dyslexia. Went to intense dyslexia therapy and believed to be cured. Have been trying to move forward with reading since, including learning support unit attention at school, but the process is slow. We go back to optometrist next week to see how things are going in that regard. We do phonics and whole word. Auditory is good. I think. Hmmm. Confidence is not so great. Working on that. Attention span is not so great. Working on that too. LOL. Working on a lot of things! We've had a good week this week. I am interested to see what the optometrist says. I'll keep you posted. Thanks so much for your support!

  4. FWIW, what (eventually) helped, and this was a desperation attempt when nothing was working -
    Found something that he *really* wanted to read (Captain Underpants, it was). Cuddled up on the couch in the afternoons and read it 'together'. He'd read what he could, and the deal was that if he wanted me to read a word, he'd nudge me with his elbow, and I'd read the next word. Nothing else. No stopping, no teaching, no comment. I don't know why it worked. It kept the 'flow' going? He didn't have to do the hard stuff of decoding? Anyway, I noticed that after I'd read a particular word a few times, I'd be expecting a nudge, and it wouldn't happen - he'd just read on. I really loved those cuddle-reading afternoons.

  5. that is actually worth a lot Lisa. Thanks so much. I'm going to try that ... including getting a copy of Captain Underpants. He loves Diary of a Wimpy Kid too.

  6. YW. Capt. Underpants not required. Just a good book that is content-appropriate rather than reading-level appropriate. I reckon associating cuddle time with reading a good book is the biggie, anyway. Anything else is a bonus. I think Speedy was about 8 at the time. He's 16 now. Still can't spell, but who cares?


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