As my daughter begins her senior year at high school this fall, we are entering a new phase in her education. As a student with dyslexia, the road we’ve taken so far has been fairly well mapped out with specialists, educators and other parents explaining the landscape. We’re been able to find our way. But now, we are entering new territory. The territory of colleges is perhaps even more unfamiliar to our family as my husband and I both completed our secondary and higher education in British schools and universities, respectively. Our daughter is also the eldest of our three children and the first to enter the college scene. But, I understand that even for American parents the college landscape can be a journey of new discoveries as they travel it with their children.
So, I will be relating over the coming months our experience as we travel down this road of helping our daughter find a college. Please add comments if you have helpful advice to give to others and me. My next few blog posts will state where we have got to so far in this process. We’ve started on the journey. It will be a steep learning curve, or to use the analogy so far, the road rises steeply ahead of us but I am positive that we are going to enjoy the view from the top and we’ll be coasting from there.
Initially we look to various experts in the field of education and neuropsychology to understand whether our child or children have dyslexia and to direct us to the specialist instruction they need to succeed within the education system.
However, one thing I have discovered since those initial years of understanding and direction is that I have now become somewhat of an expert myself. I have learned a considerable amount about dyslexia and teaching methods for dyslexia. I have also come to understand my children’s learning styles, strengths and weaknesses, confidence or lack of confidence and many other things about the way they learn. And of course, because I live with them, I know them better than any adult who spends only an hour or so with them each school day. This knowledge coupled together means that I am pretty much an expert on my dyslexic children!
Consequently, for anyone with this kind of knowledge of a dyslexic child, it is important at the beginning of a new school year to be reminded that you have a considerable amount to offer to a new faculty of teachers, support teachers and guidance counselors who have very little knowledge and understanding of your dyslexic child, and who do not have the liberty of spending years to discover how best to teach your child. Offering them any of your expertise should only help with your dyslexic child’s success within the education system.