Dear Hon. Susan Close My Daughter has dyslexia, I am writing my red letter for her and all of the other children being left behind. I can ...

Kylie's Red Letter

17:18:00 Dyslexia Australia 0 Comments

Dear Hon. Susan Close

My Daughter has dyslexia, I am writing my red letter for her and all of the other children being left behind. I can only hope that the message gets across to the people who can, and have the power to make it better for all dyslexic children.

My daughter was diagnosed at the age of 6; luckily the occupational therapist at her kindy told us to keep an eye on her in reception. There was no mention of what we were looking out for just keep an eye on her. We noticed in reception that she couldn't spell words even though they rhymed and only one letter in the word had changed. She also could not learn her sight words, if she memorised them in a list she was fine, if we moved them out of sequence she could not read them.

We spoke to her reception teacher who told us not to label her, we spoke to the head of literacy who told me to just read to her and she would be fine. They were willing to let her go through her primary years without any intervention at all. They were willing to use reading recovery, which has been proven not to work with dyslexic learners.

We made an appointment with an educational psychologist who diagnosed severe dyslexia; even with this diagnosis the school was still not willing to support her with intervention. I wasn't even allowed to pay for a SPELD tutor to come and do some tutorial sessions with her at school. I was though allowed to pay for the occupational therapist that the school employed. I was already paying private school fees, and their OT was another added expense. The children with funding got this service for free.

There was lack of understanding of dyslexia; I kept fighting which most of the time made me feel like a mad woman. I was swimming against the biggest waves in the sea; my daughter would come home and say "why am I dumb Mum"? I found my own intervention in the way of private Occupational Therapists and using SPELD and Reading Doctor Resources. In year 3 after fighting with this school for so long to support my daughter and not winning, I decided to move her and had to "shop" around to find a school that would help her. Also bearing in mind that we are only zoned to a limited number of schools in the public education system.

After having numerous schools read her comprehensive psychological assessment and looking at as if to say "Too hard", and then not getting back to me, I found a principal that said she could help me. When my daughter started year 3 in her new school, she had a reading level of 4. The school implemented an evidence based intervention designed for dyslexic learners. My daughter is now in year 5 and has a reading level of 27; this is because of the intervention.

My questions to you are:
Why did I have to fight so hard for the intervention that was needed?
Why did I have to feel like I wasn't helping her enough at home and that Is why she wasn't learning?
Why don't all schools offer intervention and screening for dyslexia?
Why do we have to leave it to the chance of maybe by the luck of the draw kids will end up in a school that can help them?
Why did I have to "shop around" for a school that could offer the education that she deserves?

Finally I would like to say our fight is not over, my daughter has ongoing appointments with mental health professionals to deal with the psychological effects, of being part of a system that doesn't holistically support her learning difference.

I am currently dreading finding her a high school that will offer her the support that she so much needs.

Thank you for reading and, I can only hope that my contribution helps to raise awareness, and get the help that we so desperately need to make all schools dyslexia aware.

Yours Sincerely