Dyslexia in a Catholic Homeschooling Family

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One goal of Heart of a Mother is to provide support and resources for mamas in need of assistance in homeschooling their precious children. Today, I'm so glad to share this helpful post written by my dear friend, Stacie. As evidence that mamas will do anything to get their children the help they need to be successful in life, she has researched best practices and trained herself how to help her children thrive!

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” - Anne Shirley

Isn’t it true?  October is beautiful!  The cooler temperatures are so welcome after the stifling heat of summer.  It’s cool enough to need a cardigan but still warm enough to spend hours outside enjoying the beauty of changing leaves. 

October is also a significant month for our homeschooling family because October is Dyslexia Awareness Month.  Here is a little bit about what Dyslexia Awareness Month is from the International Dyslexia Association:

“Each year, October is recognized worldwide as Dyslexia Awareness Month, a time to come together to raise awareness, share resources, and tell stories about dyslexia success.” 

To support this noble mission, I write this post to raise awareness (dyslexia is NOT rare), share my favorite resources, and recount a beautiful and vulnerable dyslexia success story about my children. 

 

Awareness

Can you guess how many people have dyslexia?  It is estimated that as many as 1 in 5 people have dyslexia.  Let that sink in. 1 in 5! Here is a helpful infographic to help you break down the numbers.

While it is difficult to determine the exact number, because symptoms range from mild to profound, as many as 1 on 5 people may have dyslexia.  What this looks like in my family is, at the very least, my two oldest children are dyslexic and based on the symptoms my younger children present with, they likely are dyslexic too.  

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Dyslexia Success Story

It is not difficult to imagine how dyslexia has significantly impacted our homeschool, but looking back, I can see how clearly we have had heavenly help.   As my children got older and their homeschooling assignments got harder, that mama voice in my head would not stop telling me that something was wrong.  I changed programs and bought different curriculum, and yet there was trouble with spelling and guessing at words and even remembering math facts (trouble with rote memory like recalling math facts is a BIG symptom).  So I did what any normal Catholic homeschooling mama would do.  I asked a friend for help, a heavenly friend.  

St. Edith Stein, also known as St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, kept nagging at me to be her friend.  LOL! She was popping up everywhere! In my Facebook feed, in my Pinterest feed, on TV! I took the hint and spent a lot of hours researching and reading and becoming completely obsessed with this Jewish convert turned Carmelite.  That upcoming school year, I asked that she intercede on behalf of my homeschool family.  Boy did she deliver! I was able to have my older 2 children assessed at a dyslexia nonprofit for a small fee (our insurance will not cover testing), was able to join a dyslexia tutoring group, and was introduced to the program that would finally work for my children.   

It’s been almost 4 years and I still am amazed and humbled over how St. Edith Stein has changed the lives of my children.  Their spelling is not always perfect, but they can break syllables apart and read almost any word!  We know how to accommodate their homeschool assignments so they can focus on putting in their best effort and not let their spelling get in the way of their creativity.  And speaking of their creativity, my kids enjoy writing...for fun! Yes, for fun.  My oldest is working on a screenplay AND a novel and spends free time day-dreaming about going to college and having a career in animation. My second kiddo loves to listen to audiobooks while she draws cute characters for stories of her own.  They have learned that having dyslexia is not their fault, it’s how they have been made.  Beautifully and wonderfully made.  

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Resources

I hope I have piqued your curiosity and got you thinking about what IS dyslexia exactly and what the signs and symptoms of dyslexia include.  To help you with that, I want to share some of my favorite resources, books, websites, and blogs. 

To watch a brief explanation of what dyslexia is, watch this 5 minute video: What is dyslexia? - Kelli Sandman-Hurley

For a thorough video of dyslexia signs and symptoms, watch this video from my favorite website with dyslexia information.  The website is called Bright Solutions for Dyslexia and I have to warn you, it looks old-fashioned, but the information is up-to-date, succinct, eye-opening: What is Dyslexia? - Susan Barton

This is the homepage of the website, Bright Solutions for Dyslexia.  It has SO. MUCH. INFO! 

For general information about dyslexia I love these other websites too!

  • Dyslexic Advantage: Different for a ReasonThe book The Dyslexic Advantage by Dr. Brock Eide and Dr. Fernette Eide, is fantastic and is the inspiration behind the website.
  • The Yale Center for Dyslexia and CreativityThis is the website from leading dyslexia expert Dr. Sally Shawitz whose book, Overcoming Dyslexia, is a must read! But caution, she recommends only professionals remediate for dyslexia. I respectfully disagree because as any homeschool mama knows, we will do anything to help our kids, including learning all about dyslexia, how to teach it, and what best programs and practices to do.
  • Homeschooling with DyslexiaAs evidence of the above, I offer you this wonderful blog just for homeschoolers. This blog is a powerful testimony to how far a determined mother will go to teach her children.  
  • Decoding Dyslexia - If you are looking for local help, the organization called Decoding Dyslexia, has a chapter in every state and a military chapter.  It is very easy to find your chapter on google if you search “Decoding Dyslexia" and your state name. Here is an example of the Decoding Dyslexia page for the state of Texas.

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