When we decided to start a family, it never occurred to us that we would face any life altering challenges for any of our children. To be honest we were living in the present and not worried about the “tomorrow.” Our daughter Claire came into this world so loved. She was our first child, we did all the extra activities-the little gym, play dates, outings, reading books before bedtime. We enrolled her into preschool at the age of two and it appeared most milestones were being met. However, we did notice Claire was behind her peers in the speech, so we began services before she turned three years old. As we moved forward into kindergarten and first grade, school was becoming more difficult. Tasks such as letter and sound recognition were well below average. Studying for a spelling test would end in tears. As a former teacher I had a gut feeling she needed to be evaluated by the school phycologist. There was no surprise that her reading scores were below average, but what was surprising is that the scores indicated dyslexia. It felt like a punch in the gut and a sense of guilt for the obstacles Claire would always face. Dyslexia was not a learning difference I knew much about, even though I had a degree in teaching.
Immediately I jumped into a mindset of finding a solution for Claire’s dyslexia. After doing reading intervention in the public schools, we came to the harsh reality that Claire needed more. Public school was not equipped to successfully teach a dyslexic reader how to navigate this tricky way of learning to read. I was desperately on the search to find trained teachers that could give Claire a fighting chance in school. Camperdown Academy was going to be our saving grace. A school just for dyslexic kids. A school that Claire would be able to rebuild her self esteem and most importantly gain tools to find the “magic power” in dyslexia. Camperdown has a way to nurture students into understanding that there is a future and with hard work they can become anything that want.
As time went on, we discovered our second child, Kendall also has a form of dyslexia. This was devastating, because we never thought we would be going down this road with two kids at Camperdown Academy. I personally struggled with being jealous of parents that had children with no learning difficulties. And being angry with the simple fact my daughters could not fit into that public school mold. Thankfully we recognized the signs sooner this time around and pulled Kendall from public schools right after kindergarten. Getting Claire and Kendall appropriate support has been a roller coaster of emotions and financially taxing at times. Dyslexia has no cure or easy road. As parents we always want to “fix it” and not see our children struggle. I occasionally think about what their lives will look like in ten years. I hope Claire and Kendall are filled with happiness, despite the obstacles. Dyslexia has the ability to be a “magic power” of creativity to find an answer. We have found it so valuable to embrace even the smallest milestones.
Early intervention is key when helping dyslexic children achieve their full potential.