dyslexiaI find it ironic and extremely frustrating that I have two children that have learning disabilities that inhibit their ability to communicate effectively.  I always excelled in writing and public speaking throughout my childhood and college years.  I even majored in Communication Studies (after the evil administrators at UNC-CH thwarted my desire to go into television.  But that’s a blog post for another day).  I realize that I take for granted my ability to put my thoughts to paper and, more times than not, effectively speak my mind.  David was blessed with the writing ability but struggles with the public speaking only because of his lack of confidence.  Once Hunter’s speech delays were identified in first grade, I had imagined that he would blossom into a vessel of self-expression.  It was upsetting to acknowledge and embrace that there were neurological causes for him to struggle with reading and writing.  While he can speak his mind, he now lacks the confidence to do so with conviction because of his issues with dyslexia and dysgraphia.  Hunter has made ASTOUNDING progress in the past year to overcome these obstacles academically.  Tests show that he is now reading on grade level, but tests do not illustrate the amount of effort it takes him to do so.  His writing abilities have improved as well now that he utilizes a computer for most of his school work.  The keyboard does not present the same challenges as a pencil to his dysgraphic mind.  It is by sheer force of will and work ethic that Hunter has achieved so much.  We are fortunate that he is surrounded by teachers that believe in his abilities and do everything in their power to assure Hunter that he is much greater than any of his disabilities.  I struggle as a parent in walking the fine line between wanting to make school work as easy as possible for Hunter while making sure he/we do not take advantage of any modifications to his academic work plans.  It is also a struggle for me to understand what Hunter experiences because the written word has always been so easy for me.  Luke seems to be on the same path as Hunter.  We diagnosed Luke’s speech developmental delay at four and began his speech therapy two full years ahead of Hunter.  While we have seen vast improvement with Luke’s speech, we know it greatly affects his relationships with peers his age.  Adults attempt more patience at conversing with Luke.  Other five and six-year olds don’t have time for that!  Since beginning kindergarten in July, it is has become obvious that he has issues with recognizing letters and numbers.  He is currently well behind his classmates in his writing and pre-reading skills.  Luke will have several diagnostic evaluations completed this week so we can determine what other services may benefit him.  Of course, whatever we discover with Luke, we have the advantage of having “been there, done that” with Hunter.  I can’t help but wonder how I have failed these two children — they are extremely intelligent, outgoing children that should not be hindered in their abilities to interact with the world.  I know there is no fault to be assigned, just as there is no miracle cure for their issues.  While I grieve the opportunity to wield my red ink pen on their assignments, I am grateful that they have not let their learning disabilities define the boys they are and the men they will become.

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