I’ve written before about how a dyslexic life is a journey of evolution. What I mean by this is there is no one answer, one solution, one method, one focus, one anything. If anything, so far, I feel like a dog on a race track running circles chasing a rabbit I might never catch.
Originally the rabbit was a series of questions. Why can’t he read? Is he dyslexic? How do we find out? Where do we begin? It was a rabbit I like to name “Inventing the wheel.”
So we invented the wheel, got help and a diagnosis of dyslexia and moved to public school, but right when I thought I had caught the rabbit, it morphed. This rabbit I like to name “Dyslexia in a Texas Public School 101 circa 2016.” This rabbit had declarative statements and questions. Things like he needs a 504 plan. Wait, what’s an IEP? I can’t have an IEP? Why not. Oh, ok. Wait, that’s wrong? Why is that wrong? You mean I can have an IEP in Texas?
At this point I can’t leave out the squirrel that got thrown onto the track to distract me from the rabbit. This squirrel was named “I’m a teacher who doesn’t understand dyslexia and gave your child an F in reading.” Needless to say that was a bit distracting, but I quickly caught, killed and ate that squirrel and refocused my efforts on catching the rabbit.
The masters of the rabbit learned a little about what drives me when I was distracted with the squirrel, so I had to alter my style of running. I branded my new running style “Blindside.”
“Blindside” was beautiful and effective. I got closer to the rabbit. The blindside tactics included an advocate and achieving an IEP as well as program fidelity. While I was bursting with joy that I could feel that fluffy little tail brushing against my teeth, I was outsmarted. Why?
The rabbit was smart and morphed again. I didn’t name this one yet as it remains elusive to me still, but it prompts terms like symbol imagery, vowel weakness, and word attack. It forces the evaluations of strategies, objectives, goals, teaching styles, and methodologies.
Dang it! Keep breathing. Keep going. Keep running. Keep the rabbit in sight.
As I morph my own strategy, I reflect that what I’ve learned as I race around this track chasing this little fluffy tailed demon is that I will never catch it. It’s not going to always outsmart me, but it will continue to morph, as must I, at least until we reach a point of mutual understanding, an armistice if you will, and that will take years, but I’m prepared for that. I’m in this race for the long haul.
(Please no comments about the horrific abuse propagated against racing dogs. My references above are purely from an analogy perspective and in no way condone dog racing or the abuse heaped on those poor animals. We are big time animal lovers and believe in rescue. Below is one of our rescue dogs, Henry.)