When you have a child with dyslexia, does it sometimes feel like you need a miracle?
You’ve exhausted all avenues, but you can’t give up—because it’s your child.
Your child can’t read or spell. The school system has let him down and it feels like the world has let him down—but you won’t let him down. Even so, a miracle would be nice because you don’t know what to do next.
If you have ever felt the desperation that comes from watching your child fail in such a critical subject area, and if you have ever feared for your child’s future, then you will relate to Heather Cole’s story. I know I did.
Heather’s story shows the strength of a mother’s love for her child. Whether your child has dyslexia or not, there are powerful lessons to be learned and poignant reminders that you can’t give up on your kids, no matter what others may say.
My son is the kindest and most honest and selfless child I know. He has taught me more about this world than I could have ever taught him. Yet with all these amazing qualities, he never excelled in school. From the very first day, school was a nightmare. He absolutely dreaded going and would cry and beg not to go. He struggled in all his subjects, but mainly reading and spelling.
His learning diminished. He lost all motivation for learning and doubted his abilities to do anything. Any time spelling or reading was presented to him, it became a battle of wills. He would instantly shut down, and it would become a power struggle even to get him to write his spelling words, let alone try to read them. Of course, all of this left my son with low self-esteem.
Our road to finding All About Spelling was a hard one. From reading and spelling intervention classes, special needs class, misdiagnoses, and even being told that my child had reached his learning potential at the age of 10—we faced so many trials. As his parent, I was angry, confused, and heartbroken. I didn’t understand why his teachers couldn’t see the child I saw. I knew he had more in him. I knew he could learn, but at the same time, I also knew something was wrong. He didn’t read like other kids his age. That’s when I decided to homeschool.
I tried a few spelling programs and found that most shared the same approach—repetitively writing the words or building word pyramids. These approaches did not work for us and I was not impressed. After my son was diagnosed with dyslexia, I began to learn more about dyslexia and how the brain of a dyslexic person interprets information. All the horrible years at school began to make perfect sense. I started searching for curriculum that worked for dyslexic children. That’s when I found All About Spelling. When I opened the teacher’s manual, there were no repetitive lists, no pyramids. The layout was easy. It was structured but flexible. All I had to do was follow the steps.
Now we have been avid AAS users for three years and the progress my son has made is indescribable. For him, spelling is a complex process. But AAS gives him the tools he needs to succeed.
The AAS phonograms app taught him to recognize the correct sounds of letters. Letter tiles gave him physical letters to refer to. He didn’t have to rely on straight memory, and he could focus on one letter and one sound at a time. The Key Cards are like a “safe base” for him. They make the spelling rules simple and easy to remember.
I don’t know that I can truly convey all the things AAS has done for our family. But I can convey the joy I feel when I see my son learning—when he spells a word on the board, jumbles up the letters, and then stops himself and says, “Wait, Mom.” I can hear him whispering and repeating one of the memorized key cards to himself. Then he self-corrects the misspelled word. No frustration, no overwhelmed feeling, just confidence. That feeling is priceless.
All About Spelling not only helped my son learn to spell, it gave him confidence in himself again—confidence that he had lost so many years before. It gave him the reassurance that with the right approach he could spell and read. To have witnessed the change in him leaves me in awe.
Heather and her son’s story is almost overwhelming to me, and not just because of the similarities to my own story. What if she hadn’t taken matters into her own hands and intervened? Where would her son be in five years? Ten years?
Without literacy, the chances of achieving a positive outcome—a happy, well-adjusted man—are not very good. But instead of accepting what others believed was inevitable, Heather turned the tide, and now she sees her son’s growing confidence, his increasing skills, and his handsome smile.
THIS is the reason I continue to write and teach every day. Thanks for sharing your journey with us, Heather!
Did you enjoy Heather’s story? Read more stories in our Real Moms, Real Kids series.