The look on her face, as she stared at the flashcard, revealed the confusion going on inside her head. She could not make sense of the letters. The simple word"in" became an impossible puzzle. She knew what an "i" sounded like. She knew what an "n" sounded like. But the pieces did not fit. The word was never formed. Her bright eyes grew misty and the storm came. The only evidence of a reading lesson were the tears that fell on the table.
Why could other children her age read and she could not? Why was she unable to learn? I had no answers.
She was a smart girl, so I thought the road to reading would be a well lit path. The path dimmed with each flashcard and each reader book she could not decipher. We had bright moments when the words made sense and stickers were happily given for her achievement. Those moments were overshadowed by a disconnect between what she saw on paper and what she was able to understand. The world of reading was closed off to her. I tried to give her the keys but the door would not unlock. Her ability to understand what was being read to her was well above her grade level. Yet, here she sat unable to remember the entire alphabet and struggling to read sight words. I had to find the key that unlocked her ability to learn. I had a child who asked me to teach her how to read and yet I could not. I had a child who begged me not to teach her little sister how to read before her. I could make no guarantees.
Determined to find a key, I headed to the bookstore to purchase yet another set of early reader books. I looked at the selection and felt defeated. I had almost everything there and what was left were cookie cutter versions of the same materials. Then a promise of hope walked up to me. She saw the book in my hand and told me what a great resource it was for her daughters. I smiled but doubted she could understand the struggle going on. She told me her daughters were dyslexic. Dyslexia. It was the third time I had heard the word that week. Could it be possible? My promise of hope offered a name of a reading specialist who may hold the key. I called immediately and made an appointment.
It was the day before my daughter's 7th birthday. My husband and I sat across from another promise of hope as she explained our daughter's test results. She began by telling us how impressed she was by some of the scores. Alyssa is a very bright girl who scored well above her grade level in many areas. Despite her difficulty with rote memory she scored high in math which was a testament to her intelligence. Like the wind foreshadows an impending storm, I knew these kind and encouraging words would leading us toward the rain. The disparity in her high scores to her low scores were vast. The vastness represented the severity of the disability. Alyssa also showed a problem with both phonological awareness and phonological memory. Many dyslexics only have an issue
with one but she has both. Her quick wit and keen observation betrayed her as the scores in rapid naming and processing put her well below a Kindergarten level.
A storm never stays. The ground feels the impact of the lightening and is covered by the rain but it always resurfaces. It resurfaces to feel the warmth of the sun; the feeling of hope. What seems like
devastating winds reveals truth and clears a path. Dyslexia does not prevent the swirls of creative imagination from moving. It does not strip the person from feeling the joys of the written word. It
does not mean defeat. It simply puts you on a different path of learning. We are leaving the dark path behind as we follow a new well lit path. We stand grateful for God's nudging, grateful for the rays of hope He brought this mom who sought only to grant her child's request to read, grateful to know this beautiful mind.