Entry:  020 Name:  Julie Age:  Adult Champion:  Maisie's Supporters The Red Letter campaign has come around faster than I anticip...

My Red Letter 2017 - E020 - Julie

13:08:00 Dyslexia Australia 0 Comments

Entry: 020
Name: Julie
Age: Adult
Champion: Maisie's Supporters

The Red Letter campaign has come around faster than I anticipated. Like most of this year, it’s flown past and before we know it we will be seeing in the New Year. This year the campaign is all about positive role models and acknowledging the champion in your life that helps you to embrace your/your childs dyslexia.  

I really don’t want to write a letter to a particular person. There have been several people along this journey who have been influential, pivotal and quite frankly a breath of fresh air on a journey that feels like you take two steps forward and then three steps back. The supporters are the minority though and without them we wouldn’t have been able to navigate the bumps, road blocks and challenges along the way and we would still be lost.  I won’t dwell on the negatives as I want to place a focus on the positives and how those positives have helped us get to where we are now.

Child Psychologist – we have been seeing the same psychologist for our daughter since 2010 when we initially took our then 5 year old to be assessed. I felt like I was missing something. If she was a puzzle, I had pieces missing. I needed help to complete the picture. My daughters vision was corrected with prescription classes as she is long sighted, hearing was perfect, ears were clear, overall health was good, yet my child could hardly read, struggled to write and was starting to shut down. She was a hard worker, yet the results didn’t support that. We set about on the path of OT, speech and assessments with the psychologist. Her assessment showed issues in some areas but she was young and it was hard to get a clear picture especially with her shutting down. She was also very shy. The psychologist developed a good relationship with our daughter and we continued to touch base with her over the years.  We were given an assessment report with recommendations for support and accommodations. She came to meetings with me to help communicate thoroughly to school and she willing answered questions as they arose. The most important thing she did was believed me when I voiced my concerns instead of telling me “She is doing okay. There has to be someone at the bottom.”  I felt that I was finally being listened to and I was not fobbed off. The psychologist could see the potential in my child when others overlooked her; she gave me ammunition to fight the good fight so I wouldn’t continue to leave meetings feeling as though I had just wasted my time. As the years went by my daughter saw her again for reassessments and new reports. As always we received professional service with a personal touch. My daughter didn’t feel “tested”, she left sessions feeling as though she had just spent time hanging out doing activities with this lady. She was never made to feel as though she was less.

Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy – our OT and speechie were really good with my child. Not only did they develop a good relationship with her, they did so with me. It’s hard to trust people in this world when you constantly feel as though no one is listening and when your childs teachers limit feedback to “She’s such a lovely girl, she’ll get there.“ That is a cop out and you are left feeling as though your child is in the wrong hands.  As much as these two people helped to guide my child over a 3 year period, they had limited knowledge and experience of dyslexia and our success was restricted because we needed a service provider who could provide more specific support to my child.   

MSL education specialist. In 2015 my daughter commenced weekly sessions with a dyslexia specialist educator. She was in year 5 at school. We started from scratch learning the alphabet names and sounds. We had no choice but to start at the beginning and teach my child with explicit phonics instruction. My daughter has learnt so much in such a short period of time from her MSL teacher. Rules based phonics instruction has opened up the world of text to my child. She reads because she loves it, she writes because she enjoys it and she now has a much healthier self esteem. Without this education specialist I believe that my child would be failing instead of thriving. She is achieving at high school. High school isn’t easy and its been a battle to even get the school to meet with me for an IEP meeting. But I am not going to dwell on the negatives (that’s for another letter, another very long letter). I am focusing on embracing the positives.

Those four people mentioned above have supported us to continue the fight for answers, for recognition and to get our child the education she deserves. I am so thankful that we are able to support our child with these professionals. Professionals who could see her potential and who helped me advocate for her even at times when I felt I could fight no more. I am stronger because of them and I am much more confident and assertive this time around while I advocate for my kindergarten son. 

There. That’s it. My version of a Red Letter for 2017. 

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