There weren't any huge red flags that would have indicated my daughter had a life-long reading problem. Except that by the first grade she wasn't a strong reader. My son wasn't a strong reader until the 3rd grade, and then he began winning medals for reading, so that didn't concern me much.
I don't recall being a strong reader until I was older either. I can devour a book in a matter of hours now.
Nobody in our family had been diagnosed with dyslexia, and I didn't know the "signs" to look for.
The only people I knew who had Dyslexia were very poor clients I had helped who were either homeless or living in complete poverty.
I knew that Dyslexia could seriously alter someone's future, leading them into a lifetime of poverty, although they were very interesting and talented individuals. Their inability to read well really impacted their ability to earn a decent living later in life.
One client even referred to himself as "illiterate."
The closest person I actually knew in my personal life who was close to "illiterate" is a relative who doesn't write much beyond an elementary level. He misspells easy words and he dropped out of high school.
But he was never tested for dyslexia, so no dyslexia diagnosis means that nobody in the family has dyslexia. Or at least that's what happens when you ask if anyone in the family has dyslexia, although it's clear that at least one person probably does.
And because I didn't know anyone else who had Dyslexia, I really thought this diagnosis meant that my daughter was destined for the same impoverished reality.
Early Intervention is Key
Luckily, my daughter's school has a reading intervention program that helps students with Dyslexia, called "Take Flight". It's a program developed through the Scottish Rite Hospital. Scottish Rite is the leading Dyslexia authority in the U.S., and although there are several types of approaches to Dyslexia, Take Flight is considered the most effective approach.
I've learned since the time my daughter was diagnosed with Dyslexia that it is not a poverty sentence in life. In fact, many successful and well-known individuals throughout history have had Dyslexia.
The most disheartening thing about having a child with Dyslexia is the initial lack of information for how to help them. In future posts, I'll share information about testing and how to navigate the process for help through the school.
But for now, let's just stick with getting to know some basic facts about Dyslexia:
Facts about Dyslexia