25 Apr Niah & Cara’s Story
My daughter, Niah, started Kindergarten as a bright student with a high vocabulary and we were sure she would excel in school as she had an ambition and passion. When I went to her first conference with her teacher, I was shocked when I heard she was struggling. I began talking to her teaching about what was causing the issue, and her teacher said, “I think it is dyslexia.” Niah goes to a private school and had only 10 kids in her class so her teacher was able to pinpoint and help us as she personally was dyslexic. We were directed to the public-school special education teacher that said, “We do nothing for that and really do not have resources but we are supposed to start screening for it in a few years.”
Niah began tutoring with her teacher after school, but continued to struggle with reading. Teachers would reassure me that they would accommodate Niah and continue to tutor to help close the gap in reading but her difficulty was now affecting every subject. Tutoring continued and they would ask to increase the number of days and the amount of time, and Niah hated it. As a parent I dreaded parent/teacher conferences as they always ended with me crying because no one saw all of Niah’s gifts because they were so focused on her reading. Her teachers loved her and attempted all kinds of instruction, but I watched as she kept falling further and further behind.
I continued to research and read every book I could find on dyslexia; I came across the Springfield Center for Dyslexia and Learning. As a parent I would cry for my daughter knowing that she had a determination and persistence like no other, but was so frustrated because she was beginning to realize that she was not at the same place as her class and began to dread school. I went to the fall parent/teacher conference and her teacher said we will continue to tutor and she can give up specials and things to improve reading, and when she grows up, she can be a “mommy,” and not have a job that requires lots of reading. That comment rang in my mind over and over, because she just told me she did not believe my daughter would reach any goals.
After crying and more research, I was prepared to drive my daughter to Springfield every week if I needed to, but I found out SCDL offers skype tutoring. I immediately approached my administrator about “Take Flight” skype sessions and she not only approved, but agreed to help pay for it. When we started the sessions in December of her 2nd grade year, Niah was at a late kindergarten reading level. In just a semester’s time, Niah was at a solid middle first grade level. When she started 3rd grade she was at a DRA level of 14 and is now, at semester, at a DRA level of 24. She is reading her surroundings, no longer does tutoring after school, is growing in confidence, and will read for fun for the first time ever. She no longer feels limited with what she can do in class, and her persistence and passion has grown because she feels empowered. She has been on the honor roll all year and enjoys school.
As a mom, this is the first time since she started school that I have not cried for her due to her school struggles. I no longer dread parent/teacher conferences and have heard all year that Niah is improving her reading and spelling scores. For the first time we have hope. Niah has a grit and a determination that I believe she learned because of dyslexia, she never gives up, and she has learned that she can do it! This would not have happened without Allison and Take Flight.