Lysa Mair, one of our parents, sent us this note, and we are thrilled to share it!
WARNING: Parents Blatantly Beaming With Pride!
I am so proud I feel like my heart could burst! My son accomplished something I never could in highschool… and there was a time people believed he wouldn’t be able to either. Today I sat with my husband and we watched our son get up out of his chair, walk over and receive a certificate for being on the Principle’s List! It’s higher than being on the honour roll and would equate to being on a Dean’s List.
By grade two our son could barely read. Writing was a painful task. The kicker was that by age three he knew every name of every dinosaur. I’m not talking the obvious ones like the T-Rex, Triceratops, yada, yada, yada. I’m talking dinosaurs like Segnosaurus , Hypsilophodon , um ya quite the mouth full. By four years old he had moved onto prehistoric mammals – try saying Leptictidium five times fast! Then try being a parent of a kid that wanted bedtime stories filled with those names! Thank god for the BBC’s Walking with Dinosaurs series, so we could figure out how to pronounce all those names! He knew what they were but we didn’t.
So here we had this kid who we knew was smart, but he couldn’t read and could barely write. Weekly (timed, I might add) spelling tests were nightmares. A few teachers were good but some thought he was just being obstinate or lazy. 2007-2008 was like our lost year. We scrambled throughout the year to figure out what the heck was going on. We weren’t getting anywhere with his teacher. We did have a great support teacher though, Joe. She worked hard and pushed the school to test him for a possible learning disability. You should have seen those dots on his test score sheet, some were at the very top and some were at the very bottom. Now we knew he probably did have a learning disability and we also suspected he might be gifted.
The school’s response: “Let’s put him on a wait-list to test him and get a definitive answer.”
Us: “Great! How long is the wait-list?”
The school: “Four years… if he doesn’t get bumped by more severe cases, which he probably will. He’s quite smart you know.”
Us: “S*** M***** F*****”
Waiting until grade six was not an option. Our son who had a thirst for knowledge was starting to believe he was stupid. We held our breath and decided to have him tested privately. The result, we discovered he was dyslexia with written output challenges. And he was gifted. What? How does that work? It’s quite common actually. By this point we had suspicions that the regular school system wasn’t going to be sufficient for him. Especially since we lost our wonderful support worker, Joe, due to downsizing. We thought about home schooling, for like a second. It works great for some people but we all knew that wasn’t going to work for us. Somehow, online I found James Cameron School. JCS is a school that specializes in teaching kids with disabilities and it was in our area! We went to the open house and , batta-bing, batta-boom, we enrolled him. At first we were going to enroll him just for two years but we soon realized we didn’t want to risk it and we kept him in JCS until grade seven. It’s a private school and it was a significant investment. However when our son was asked by a family friend (who was looking into enrolling their son into JCS) they asked what was the best thing about JCS, he replied, ” I don’t think I’m stupid anymore.” With that answer, I felt like our money was more than well spent. He worked extremely hard at JCS and it wasn’t easy but they helped him understand how to work with his disability. He left JCS confident, empowered and more than happy to talk about his dyslexia. He’s not ashamed of it in anyway shape or form.
Last year was his first year at Thomas Haney Secondary School. We once again held our breath, remembering what a disaster the public system had been before. Today I let that breath out with a WOO HOO!!!! It’s been a long uphill road BUT what an amazing path he has in front him. Nothing needs to hold him back.