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The endless road…Part 1

Life is such an amazing journey. The good, the bad, and all the in between must be lived and experienced whether we like it or not. Each aspect of life is simply another piece on the endless road that is our journey through life. It twists, turns, sometimes circles back on itself, but it continues ever onward.

And there is no map to guide. The road comprises a series of decisions, some wrong, some right, that alter the direction. Some of the decisions I’ve made in my life, good or bad, were done with the hope of getting to a place in the road I thought I wanted to go to. Some decisions were based on trying to correct past mistakes. Some decisions are trying as hard as I can do the right thing. Others have been as a parent running as far down the road as possible, ahead of my child, to clear the path of the detritus of other’s opinions and choices, and of the broken systems that people created and perpetuate.

To be clear, every decision that each person makes is made based on their own idea of what is right and wrong. None of us possess a perfect moral center. None of us possess the perfect answer. None of us know for absolute certain that the end result will be exactly as we predetermined that it should be. All choices, all actions bear consequences, whether positive or negative. 

And some choices that we make…well, sometimes we do not realize that we are making a choice at all. These choices are made by our emotional selves. Whatever happy or pain ridden medium that forces the choice, it doesn’t matter. The choice is made and the consequences result and we cannot stop it no matter how hard we fail to understand our choice, or if we are aware, how much we may try to prevent the end result.

The aspects of our journeys over which we have no control is our biological makeup, e.g. how we are made. To paraphrase an expression of my mother’s we are all dealt a hand of cards at birth and that’s the hand we must play. 

Now, I do believe in God and he gave each of us free will, but he also set us on a predetermined path, at least at the starting stage of life. What we do with it from there is largely in our own hands. 

And yes, life happens and redirects us too. 

Ultimately we all, I hope, simply do the best we can. Sometimes we fail and in the failure we may fall, but failure is an opportunity to learn, and I hope we all learn.

Now, why am I writing and why did I start here?

Yesterday concluded a very specific segment of our road. This particular path was done with intention and we pray the consequences of which will be acceptance to a private dyslexia school on the East coast for their summer program. When I set my family forth on this part of our road my purpose was to help our son with his dysgraphia. We had never provided specifically targeted remediation for his dysgraphia; in prior years we had for his dyslexia, and even that had flaws, but we did our best as a family.

Now, bear in mind we’ve been at this for seven years. It is approximately seven years ago to the day that we set forth on the predetermined aspect of my son’s journey with two language based learning disabilities. Know too that I loathe the term “disability” and know that my son is not disabled, but without the help we’ve provided he would have been; yet because we intervened, these are language based learning challenges or different abilities. As readers of this blog are aware, I am specifically referring to dyslexia and dysgraphia. For seven years my son has taken all we’ve thrown at him with as much acceptance, willingness, grace, and tolerance as he could muster. Nothing so far has been perfect, but each decision made was done with good intention and love in what we thought was the best possible decision at the time based on what we knew and where we were in our respective lives with our blessings and challenges. This is a road that each of us must ultimately pave alone, whether we want to or not, because our child’s educational equation is unique to them.

Now, to clarify because I can already see some people leaping out of their chairs at that statement…structured Literacy works for all and harms none, and we’ve done Structured Literacy from day one. What I mean by unique and must be paved alone is based on the child’s educational equation. Depending on the degree of their dyslexia, possible additional specific learning disabilities – dysgraphia and dyscalculia – and other possible co-morbid conditions – ADHD, OCD, Anxiety, Depression, etc. – and the pieces of their dyslexia that may be the greatest struggle and how that interacts with other SLD’s and co-morbidities, the road before you is unique and yours alone. We know what works, but as you peel the layers of the proverbial SLD / co-morbidity onion, pivoting can be necessary. You must also take into consideration the personality of the child, the experiences thus far, potential trauma, tutors, homeschooling, private school, public school, teaching them yourself, or whatever combination you choose – that road is YOURS. That’s what I mean by each of us pave this road alone.

As for me, I’ve battled public education with as much determination as I could muster. I’ve stood firm, digging into what both the science and the law say. I’ve used every skill I possess. I’ve out negotiated and out maneuvered and still lost because at the end the district was determined to deny even when they didn’t have a leg to stand on. I’ve built bridges and made enemies. I’m wholly unapologetic about what is OUR ROAD, because no one else walks in our shoes. No one except for the three members of my little family know our responsibilities, our choices, our whys and why nots, and frankly it’s no one’s place to judge, criticize, or second guess. Period.

I started to write a piece called “Shoes” a few days ago that I didn’t have a chance to finish. I’ll give you this little snippet though because it goes with my overall point…

“There’s a funny vantage point we all have regarding other’s lives, and that vantage point is called an opinion.  That opinion is sometimes seated in wanting others to avoid our mistakes or learn from the life lessons we as individuals have had, and sometimes those opinions are from a place of judgment.  Regardless of the reason behind that opinion, they are still just opinions.

The harsh truth, however, is that each of our roads is unique, and on that road we wear our own shoes, because no one else’s will fit.”

So, back to where I’m headed.

After seven years of diagnostics which include:

1. Seven years worth of Lindamood-Bell evaluations beginning with 03/25/2016 (3 total in 2016) and the latest being 02/2023 (we skipped 2022) – a total of 10 evaluations

2. The first set of private diagnostics in the summer of 2016

3. The “504 Dyslexia Evaluation” unique to Texas in the fall of 2016

4. The first IDEA based evaluation in the Fall of 2017

5. The second IDEA based evaluation in the Fall of 2019

6. A “quick mini” private diagnostic of the WISC in the Spring of 2020 (pre-COVID)

7. Updated district diagnostics (limited) in January, 2022

After all of that my son just went through yet another full battery of private diagnostics. This time, and for the first time ever, we have the best and clearest picture of my son EVER. Seven years of incomplete, politically slanted, hurried, and / or outdated diagnostic tools told us a lot, but it never gave us a full and clear picture.

No, I’m not deluded into thinking that for once I have diagnostics that support my narrative. Quite the contrary. For once we have diagnostics that align with the CHILD WE KNOW.

More coming in Part 2 which can be read here:

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