One Piece at a Time

By:  Staci Stallings

I am learning.

Really I am.

I wish I could maybe learn a little faster, but then again, I’m not sure how I could.  But it would be nice to know everything I will know in a year about what I’m doing now.

I’ve shared with you about my son’s dyslexia.  Well, he started school in August, second grade.  Second grade to me has always been big.  You’re just not a little kid anymore.  So I let him start and get settled before I talked with the teacher.  She was very concerned, had already noticed his reading was below where it should be, and she set up a meeting with her, the principal and two other teachers who might have some insight into this thing.

Insights.  Wow.  That’s a good word for it.

I got another book to read, which dropped more pieces into place.  It seems there are two types of dyslexia (when it is only about reading).  Dysphonetic.  And dyseidetic.  Dysphonetic is trouble breaking sounds and letters apart.  Dyseidetic is having trouble both encoding (spelling) and remembering the phonemes you’ve learned.  Then there is the third kind:  When a student has a mixture of both.

This is why we’ve been having so much trouble.  It took forever to understand that he was dysphonetic, that he wasn’t connecting the sounds letters made to their placement in words.  He was looking at each word and trying to memorize it as an entity all unto its own.  No sounding out.  In fact, sounding out was a foreign concept to him.  As we got a grasp on this issue, I thought we had this licked.  As we went over these letter combinations, linking them carefully and practicing them, his reading did improve markedly.

The trouble was:  The phonemes we learned didn’t stick like they should.  He would learn a letter combination, and I would think, “Okay, now he has it.”  But when we went on to the next thing, the first thing got shaky.  I didn’t understand that phenomenon at all.  What sense did it make to have learned something small like that, that you use a lot?  I was getting frustrated, and so was he.

So now we are searching for an answer to the second part of our issue.

In school, the teacher is very helpful and interested.  We are trying to navigate how best to assess him and to give content to him when he is at least a year behind in reading.

I’m finding out new ways and programs that show a lot of promise.

I just wish I knew which ones ultimately would help, so we could use those.

I told my mom the other day that when I look at how far we have to go, I get really discouraged.  But when I look at how far we’ve come how quickly, I know there is hope.

Then my son got in the van the other day on a particularly discouraging day.  The day before reading had been really rough.  He was tired.  I was tired, and it got to be a battle.

That next day he got in my van and told me he had won something for me in library.  He handed it to me.  It was a bookmark with a cross and a dove.  Underneath, it had the words to one of my all-time favorite songs:

“Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.  Because He lives, all fear is gone.  Because I know He holds the future, and life is worth the living just because He lives.”

I do not know what the future holds, but I know Who holds it.  Many times that is the hope I cling to because I have no knowledge or understanding of my own that makes any sense.

Strangely, as I go, I can look backward and see that He was always there–even in the midst of the biggest trials, and that gives me hope and belief and confidence that one day I will look back on all of this and see His hand clearly–guiding us, protecting us, keeping us, helping us, and loving us.

Right now, it’s called faith.

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