Thursday, September 15, 2011

Everything is a Battle

Megan started the 2011-12 school year very well. Lots of good friends in her class, personal goals for her classes, and a great attitude. This was our first START of a school year with her diagnosis of dyslexia. We had all the tools in place. We had a plan for after school so emotions do not get the best of us. All of our preparation can be shot down in the matter of one day.

Yesterday, Megan was upset coming in the house after school. The first upsetting incidences of the year happened and unfortunately happened on the same day.

First of all, she failed a reading test… I was ok with this. I wanted to take a look at the test and see what the issue was. She was adamant that she knew the material, but somehow she got every question wrong in an entire section. The closer I looked, I saw that she made a simple mistake that we have all made. She put the wrong answer in the wrong place all the way through the section. She put the answer to # 4 in the # 5 spot. She put the answer to # 5 in the # 6 spot…and so on. I knew this because the teacher made her re-do that section and she got them all right. I am not clear on my feelings as to whether they should change her grade or not, but I think it should be considered. On one hand, I realize she needs to learn a lesson and be more careful, but on another hand, dyslexia is a visual processing disorder.

I wish that was the only thing she was upset about, but it was not. The other incident was more serious to me. The children received their PSSA (standardized tests) scores yesterday. They received them and then they were asked to go to an assembly about the tests. They were told how good the school did and how important it is for them to do their best on these tests. THEN they met with the children individually to talk about their specific scores. The kids had to open their scores in front of the other kids in the assembly and then they had to discuss them with the principal. Having been recently diagnosed with this learning disability, I find this to be extremely unethical. Her perception was that despite the fact that she improved from Basic to Proficient in Reading and Math, the principal told her she needed to improve her writing. She needs to get to the Basic level. He told her it was important to the school. Hmmm ok. Important to the school. What is important to Megan? It is important that Megan not be humiliated. Would they walk up to a child in a wheelchair or on crutches and ask them to run faster? I don’t think so. Why is it ok for them to ask a dyslexic child to write better? Dyslexia is a visual processing disorder. It is NOT seeing things backwards. It is defined by the difficulties that dyslexics have of putting what is in their head, down on paper. It was clear that the principals treated everyone the same. Kids are not the same. There are hard workers and lazy workers. There are kids with parents that care, and kids with parents that don’t care. There are kids that can work harder, and there are kids that no matter how hard they work they cannot make “it” happen. I am ashamed that educational professionals do not know this.

After I did damage control, I hope that Megan realizes that this is something we are working on. She should be so proud that she sets goals for herself. It may take her longer to achieve them, but she WILL achieve them just the same.

No comments: