This month, our blog entry comes from Natalie Dunn, an early interventionist in our upstate office!
Natalie shares about her personal experience with dyslexia and how it helps her relate to families she serves here, at Bright Start.
My dad’s a chemist. My mom’s an engineer. My older brother’s an engineer. My little sister’s a theater student in NYC. And I’m an early interventionist – with dyslexia. Well….all the indicators from my childhood on into adulthood combine to show a strong likelihood that I do have some form of dyslexia. My very smart and concerned parents noticed that I was struggling much more than my older brother in spelling and reading around the second and third grade. I had a hard time sounding out words, therefore I couldn’t figure out how to read them-much less know how to spell them. I consistently felt dumb and inferior to my siblings and my classmates. Not by their doing, but just because I couldn’t seem to measure up no matter how hard I tried. My mom took me one day to get evaluated, to get a second opinion, and she was blown off by the doctor. He told my mom she was a bad mom for trying to push me too hard. (That wasn’t easy for me or my mom to hear, but she was determined). So, my parents decided to take matters into their own hands. They got me into tutoring and we put in more time for me to learn how to read at my pace. Later on, math also became difficult and I had to work to understand the symbols. But the thing is, is that dyslexia doesn’t determine my intelligence, just how I process what I see. I still graduated high school, got my bachelor’s degree, and I have a job working for this phenomenal company side by side wonderful people who all see the intelligence and light kids have.
By working for Bright Start I got the opportunity to exercise my mind at a conference. In January, I attended the Family Connections conference, where one of the speakers was from Decoding Dyslexia. She spoke about dyslexia, and the more I sat there and looked at the parents around the room I realized that they are all in the position that my parents were in years ago. Everything she said was ‘to the T’ of the issues and struggles I experienced. She described everything I said above. Then she went into talking about how as adults, people with dyslexia are unorganized (ME), they have a hard time managing time (ME), concentrating (ME), and still have difficulty with spelling (still-ME).
Decoding Dyslexia is a nationwide organization that helps parents, guardians, and those who want to help educate children across the board learn about dyslexia. They help people understand it and see the potential that could grow if you let it. Dyslexia is the most under- or mis-diagnosed learning disability. It often coincides with ADD or ADHD, but they don’t always go hand-in-hand. Dyslexia is genetic and it can be passed down. There is a screening to test children for it, so if you have concerns, ask your doctor. And, like you always do, have faith in your child. My parents did and I made it.
You can find “Decoding Dyslexia” as a nationwide page on Facebook, and they also have a “Decoding Dyslexia” chapter in almost every state. I’m a part of the one for South Carolina, check it out and educate yourself for more information!