“I AM DIFFERENT NOT LESS” – Dr Temple Grandin

Another week we dust ourselves down and go again. Although the route is still shrouded in mist and we face countless dead ends – we must keep going. If not for me but for our son.

A session with a new health professional. Always a good sign when she does not ask me what I want, she asks our son. The health professional is going to contact school to see what work they have undertaken to help with our son’s handwriting. Assuming school has done nothing and has no plans to do so (which we believe is the position) then the health service will start a programme to help with his writing. This will be the first time in three years work that son will have had specific help with his writing. Let’s see what progress can be made, what writing aids help. If progress cannot be made then that might be the time we start to move away from pen and paper to keyboard and voice recognition.

So we start down another path.

These are the specific areas son asked for help with

  • Handwriting
  • Shoelaces and Ties
  • Holding objects like handles which require two hands.

Interestingly he sees Aspergers as who he is – his personality. Aspergers is not a label just him. However he now sees himself as not dyslexic.

The fact that I can now read some of the words and can mostly guess the rest means I’m not dyslexic. Now I’m just not very good at reading.

I think this recent view of dyslexia is down to school. Firstly school sees anyone with dyslexia as low attainment. Son hates being branded as below average. As a result Son sees dyslexia as an unwelcome label. Secondly the label dyslexic brings him no additional help from school. Whats the point of referring to yourself as dyslexic if it brings no support benefits and only results in being automatically branded below other kids in the class.

The bottom line is the school system has failed him. It has failed too many kids. That’s one of the reasons you read so many cases of great individuals who have decided to hide their dyslexia. Kenny Logan is a Scotland Rugby legend playing 70 times for his country. He choose to keep his dyslexia secret. From his team mates. Even from his wife. Only at the age of 34 did he finally seek help. On what planet can this be allowed to happen. So much wasted talent and opportunities. So much stress and suffering. This is nothing short of a disgrace.

I started with a quote and I will finish with one. One from our son

When someone has a disability your not allowed to discriminate against them. If your in a wheelchair you shouldn’t have to put your hand up for help. So why is it that when someone has an invisible disability you can be ignored and that you have to say ‘Please will you help me’ and when they ignore you it’s not discrimination.

76 thoughts on “Two quotes

  1. The most important thing is that he knows he has skills and capability. I don’t understand a lot about Aspergers but the important thing is he has someone to help him strengthen weaker places and encourage the other talents he has … your son is so bright and I am so glad you are starting to get some help that HE WANTS.

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  2. Your sons quote is spot on. It’s so said about him blaming himself and not recognising his dyslexia now though. I was undiagnosed for years and I know what that does to your self esteem. My son is also dyslexic and only writes short answers by hand the rest he does using his iPad or laptop. I also rarely wrote by hand now either not because I can not write well after many years of ‘remedial’ writing classes but because the effort it takes and the lack of spell check often ,earns I have to do many drafts if I do it longhand. It sounds like your son might also be dyspraxic. Which is even more under diagnosed than dyslexia and affects the ,ore physical part of writing and coordination your body generally, I say that because of the type of help he has asked for. I hope this new professional turns out to be more of a help to your son and things can move forward.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes he has been diagnosed with Dyspraxia. It’s often been even less considered that Dyslexia. With the upcoming Year 8 exams HES going to have to write pages of stuff. It’s going to be hell for him. I’ve got an awful feeling it’s going to be grim and I’m going to go ballistic with school. Hope I’m so wrong.

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      1. It sounds like they are really failing to make reasonable adjustments. I hope you can make them see sense before then, he seems like such a bright boy and the school are really letting him down.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, I can understand. Would toy mind if I used your sons quote on my Facebook page? Will of course give you a credit for your blog but no worries if not, Far to many children and parents in similar position.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Totally agree – it is a disgrace. Each learner is individual and labels are not relevant. Our daughter didn’t read fluently till teens – as a home educator this wasn’t a problem. She devised her own strategies to learn and cope with print. She still went on to university where Dyslexia was supported and she is now a competent and intelligent adult who can read what she needs to as a manager shuffling lots of print! Our biggest challenge while she was learning to do this was to keep faith, back off, and NOT TO PUT HER OFF with the unhelpful and degrading approaches to reading schools use! Keep faith with your son and good luck! A little more about her here; https://rossmountney.wordpress.com/2013/06/27/reading-to-learn/

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  4. Your boy is wise beyond his years. You know it is so interesting what he is saying re the dyslexia…The labels bit. I was having a long chat with my younger girl yesterday. Her wee boy is at what seems to be a good school. And this far, the input both at nursery and p1..early days I know but… for all the children has been excellent. The staff seem wonderful, caring, the ethos is very good. But we got chatting re some of the ‘problems’ the other children in the class have and how the wee man…well…the worst he does is not keep tags on his hat and gloves…just like his mam and aunt never did. Anyway, the list was endless. One of his pals just stands up and howls if he makes a mistake, there is a wee girl who has a phobia of the dining hall , etc etc etc. big etc. And I just thought… all this is being labelled. I am not doing this , oh when I was kid bit..but equally is some ways you do return to this and also to when mine were wee. I was in primary class of 40, these kids were often from huge families and they prob had every problem going but a…they prob had to get on with it. and b…nothing was labelled or reported like big brother, then given a name. I mean so the wee man loses his hats and gloves… ? Hell his granda here loses his phone and keys every day in life. We all also had to accept responsibility at a far younger age. part of that was it was a very different world. My daughter was appalled and rightly so when I told her how at the age of seven having wandered with another three 7 year olds, miles to the Caird Park all along a burn too, we then had to get one of them home these miles, with her mouth burst and teeth knocked out after n accident on a swing there. (Nowadays our parents would all have been hud up in court.)But we did it. ) I just know that like allergies , I have never seen so many labels as I do now and I often wonder if it is a Western world condition. And having labelled these children because maybe they are not reading as they should, or counting as they should, or ticking whatever damn box they should, do we do anything to help them?? Not from what I see of your posts.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s the key thing. Schools and the authorities are quick to label. But the label is not to help the individual. It’s about protecting the system. Either making sure they don’t waste money on these unworthy people or finding excuses for failures in the system. Smaller schools seem better than the factory farms which are the secondary schools.

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  5. I have always found that school systems only want to support those who do not require it. Probably for every subject but I have mostly noticed it for physical education. Phys Ed teachers have no use for the students who need it.

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  6. Encouraging news … fingers crossed. All that your son has gone through … is going through … he will grow to manhood with so much wisdom, so much compassion for others, and will be stronger for his experiences. I know that’s no consolation at the moment, but … down the road it will be. Meanwhile, keep on fighting the good fight. Two steps forward and one step back, but eventually you will see the progress.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I love your son’s quote! I hope your son gets effective help with handwriting and other tasks that involve small motor skills. My son’s handwriting is usually very poor, but once in a while I can read it. If you eventually decide to go the route of typing and voice recognition, there are so many apps and programs out there it almost boggles the mind. My son finally successfully tied his shoes when he was 11, but still hates to do it and will leave his laces loose so he can slip on and off his shoes.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. A father that confuses “you’re” and “your” at every possible occasion probably is destined to raise dyslexic children, no?
    BTW met a girl at a German writer’s forum. She came out and told us to be dyslexic. However, that didn’t stop her from writing many short stories and having published her third novel by now.

    Liked by 1 person

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