Success with a Learning Disability

She reached for the stars… and grabbed them.

As a parent, it’s painful to see your child struggle and often confusing when you don’t know how to help her or why some age-appropriate learning skills don’t seem to come easily or “on time.”

Finally realizing that an evaluation is needed, and then getting the diagnosis is deeply upsetting. It is disappointing to know our kids will have a life-long struggle, but now that we know what it is, we can find help.

It’s not an easy path for our kids, but they can cope and overcome it with support and tools. They figure things out, learn adaptations and skills, and find tools that equip them. We’re by their side. For a time they lean on us and eventually learn to manage independently.

You are your child's best advocate. You know and love your child best and will move mountains to support his/her needs. You'll figure things out together. No, it won't be easy, but there will be progress and success.

Keep at it.

A little personal story to encourage you.

After struggling in some academic areas through her early elementary grades and poor annual test scores, we went to a big-name hospital in Boston to finally have our daughter evaluated for suspected dyslexia. She was in fifth grade.

Not only did they say her dyslexia is "profound," they added dysgraphia, and slow processing speed. They said in the summary that we should not expect much for her future. We were devastated, but refused to believe it.

This renown facility did not give us any suggestions where to find support and services. We were on our own. As homeschoolers it was natural to do our own research and piece together support. She improved and gained confidence, but there were still areas of difficulty that willpower and determination could not overcome.

For high school, she enrolled in a top private school and got high honors even though she had to sacrifice sleep to keep up. Eventually we found a different neuropsych and service provider that diagnosed her as 2e. We finally had the help that "clicked" for her, but by now she was in 11th grade.

All along, the coaches we found told us it was a blessing she was homeschooled because she’d be that classic case of a kid that “falls through the cracks” if she was in a traditional school environment. She did well enough, but couldn’t not shine her brightest without the training and support she received from these providers. In a standard school, she would have been overlooked, but with homeschooling, we readily incorporated her accommodations and training so she could make the most of her abilities. It made all the difference.

She chose a demanding college major and university far from home and kept up that grueling effort and persevered. This past May, she graduated from a Big 10 university with an engineering degree. The program is considered the best in the nation for this discipline.

No, the dyslexia and other difficulties didn't go away, but she worked her tail off and got it done. She is so proud of her accomplishment and no one can ever take it away from her.

Our kids can shine bright when it’s their time and in their own way when we give them the right time and space.


By Michelle Levell