By Shawna Audet
When my son was nearing the end of grade two, his teacher told me that he was experiencing reading and writing problems. This was confirmation of something that I already suspected. Since my son was in kindergarten, I had been raising concerns with the school officials who continually put me off by saying things like "he's a bright boy and he'll figure it out" or "we don't test kids until grade four."
By grade two, my son's difficulties were too obvious to ignore. Unfortunately, school district was unable to provide my son with a proven reading remediation program or even guarantee that he would receive pull-out help. This policy of benign neglect forced our family out of the public school system. I took a leave from my job as a high school teacher, got dyslexia reading specialist training from the Dyslexia Training Institute (which runs out of the University of San Diego) and I began homeschooling my son.
Since I used a proven program, taught in a systematic and intensive way, and employed Orton-Gillingham methods, the reading remediation was successful. My son is now an avid reader. Sometimes, when I see him absorbed in a Rick Riordin book I still cry. They are tears of relief because I know that his reading troubles are behind us.
If your child is experiencing reading and writing difficulties, then I strongly urge you to take action immediately. If your child's teacher tells you to ignore the problem because it will go away then please recognize that as terrible advice. If your child is dyslexic (20% of the population is dyslexic) then you are in a race against time. The earlier you can give your child a proven reading remediation program, the greater your chances of success. The statistics are scary. 74% of students who struggle with reading in grade three go on to struggling with reading in high school.