I have been tossing up whether to write a red letter over the last month. Reading parents letters has been very heartfelt, but there seems t...

Beth's Red Letter

00:41:00 Dyslexia Australia 0 Comments

I have been tossing up whether to write a red letter over the last month. Reading parents letters has been very heartfelt, but there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel for most. I feel like there is no light for my family and for my son. He has been utterly forgotten and damaged by our South Australian education system.

My son is in year 7 and has only recently been diagnosed with dyslexia. Ever since he started school he has received low grades. D’s for English and maths. Each year his report card never noted how bad things were. When a report grade of D means partial achievement of that year level, as a parent, you think he is nearly getting there. Each year at parent teacher interviews nothing was ever discussed that he may have a learning problem. I would raise my concern to teachers and they couldn’t give me any information. They would say that he gets some help outside the classroom and one teacher even said if he contributed more he would do better.

I paid the huge cost for a learning assessment this year as my 12 year old boy said he wanted to kill himself. He said he was good for nothing. He started destroying things in his room and just not caring. I couldn’t even talk to him anymore, but when I could get talk out of him it always related to school. I thought he was being bullied but his sister who is in the year below said that wasn’t the case. It always related to his school work and the fact that he felt like a failure.

The learning assessment found that he was five years behind in reading. So he can only read at a year 2 level and he is going into high school next year. I am so angry with myself for not realising that something was wrong sooner but he did a very good job and hiding the truth from me for all those years. He would even bring home novels from the library and pretend to read them so no one knew the truth. I am even more angry at the school for not saying ANYTHING!  I can barely afford the cost of private intervention which will take years to help him to read.   The emotional damage has already been done.  

How can our children fall through the cracks with all the testing that is jammed on them in this day and age? Last year was the first year that my son received some assistance with an intervention program at school. He couldn’t complete it this year as there were other children who are scoring lower than him. WHAT! Other children more than 5 years behind and only getting the slightest of help for a few terms at year 6 and 7!

Minister Close, our education system is a disgrace. Why are we testing our kids so much and then not doing anything about the results? Not even giving parents the option of knowing that there is a problem is a disgrace. I would have moved heaven and earth when my son was younger and willing to learn to help him. I have now lost that chance. I can barely get him to attend a full week of school because of the shame he feels and he is very resistant to tutoring as it just reinforces his failure.

Why do our teachers know so little about dyslexia and even how to teach reading appropriately? I am angry because there is more talk about gender neutral toilets and the safe school program in politics then there is about ensuring that our children have the human right to read. School is not a mentally safe place for my boy it is the place that has damaged him and I fear it’s beyond repair. I don’t even know how he will manage year 8 next year or have any quality of life and happiness in high school. I am writing this as I would dread other children being in the same situation as my son. Something has to be done now! Kids and parents need to know that there is a problem before it is too late.