"You will never be able to read", I heard my teacher say under her breath as I walked back to my desk. I was nearing the end of my first grade year. Those seven little words lit a spark somewhere deep in my psyche, that continues to burn even today. In many ways, I am thankful for that careless, hurtful statement because in the long run it made such a positive impact in my life.
I didn't realize it at the time, but my mother was my biggest champion. She recognized that school was more difficult than it should have been. I had, after all, been playing the violin since I was three, loved to draw and build with Legos and enjoyed listening to people read books. I knew and remembered facts and information, but school was still a struggle. I had trouble remembering math facts, I couldn't remember how to borrow or carry, and word problems were baffling. I could read, but stumbled through the sentences, skipping words, and missed the meaning of what I read and my handwriting was terrible.
My mother advocated for me in the schools, when the school refused to test me for special education, she had a private assessment done. The test, among other revelations, showed that I could read words on a middle-school level, but still struggled through written paragraphs.
Her willingness to get an outside assessment for me, convinced the school district to do their own assessment. By 2nd grade I was pulled out for resource for 1-2 hours a day. I had fantastic teachers who addressed my learning needs using individualized teaching methods. They were innovative and intuitive. I still use some of their teaching methods today with my own clients!
After 3 years in a special education, resource classroom, a year in second grade and 2 years in 3rd, I was mainstreamed back into a general education class. Though I continued to have to work for every A and B that I got, I was a successful and independent learner.
That success and independence carried me through my bachelors degree in special education, a masters in human development, and an educational diagnostician certificate.
If you are your child's biggest advocate, if you see the struggles, but also see the potential, I applaud you and thank you. You don't have an easy job, but the rewards can be great!
It is because of my own experiences and the determination of my mother that I now have a passion for helping families that are looking for educational solutions for their children. In every child, I see a bit of myself, in every parent, I see a bit of my warrior mom.
Thanks for allowing me to be a part of your mission!
Lisa works with families who are looking for educational solutions for their children. She has provided services to families in the DFW area for over 10 years.