My mother, a sibling of fifteen and mother of three became a, Registered Nurse (RN). Her medical and familial wisdom enabled her to be aware of and support early intervention allowing me, to not only to survive but thrive with dyslexia. The school system also assisted I am unsure if I would have fared so well if I was entering the current school system.
My mother kept every document provided by our school system from 1977 until I graduated, report cards, pictures, and acknowledgments. The handwritten notes from teachers clearly outlined my progress or lack of. My grade primary report identified my inability to learn the alphabet or correct the direction of certain letters and numbers. Despite this assessment, I was provided a pass into grade 1 and spent the majority of my time in the resource class with several other kids requiring learning assistance.
My older brothers had been in the school system for several years before my first day and their accounts were not positive. Being labeled, “retarded” and “stupid,” beaten and bullied, kicked out of school, an ignorant system dictated by educators.
My brothers were not dumb in fact one is a genius. Mom was aware of studies taking place at the IWK regarding dyslexia and my brothers participated. Despite not being able to read or write assessments clearly prove intelligence was not the issue.
My experiences with the school system varied. I was very fortunate that my primary teacher, Mr. Archibald was aware of our families learning challenges and had participated in dyslexia training that past summer. I was quickly assessed and placed in the resource class to focus on my areas of challenge. There was no immersion of students and an individual personal plan (IPP) would not have helped me reach the goals I did.
When I left grade six and entered junior high, I struggled without the added support but I succeeded. My mother advocated for me and permission to drop French was granted. I no longer needed to be humiliated daily because of my inability to pronounce or spell French words. The resource class had been a place of safety to learn without an audience. Kids can be very mean and words do hurt.
When I went to high school, I also learned that having a teacher with an accent made it near impossible for me to comprehend what was being said let alone learn the material. That first semester I received 11%. I spent an extra year in high school attaining my University Preparation Math as I planned to enter Community college and later University.
All educational settings provided me opportunities to become not only more familiar with the various symptoms/challenges of my dyslexia but ways to fit within the various molds our educational systems define.
I was very fortunate to have entered school they year I did, to have adults willing to advocate on my behalf, to receive early intervention outside of a mold I was unable to conform to and to have the resilience to move forward no matter how many times someone told me or implied I was stupid. A lot of action had to occur to get me here and I am thankful for the help and support I received along the way.
“Imperfect Perspectives" will consist of written and video format. The writing and videos will be imperfect as I am the composer and director and I am perfectly imperfect! Be genuine, have the hard conversations and be compassionate to self and other. Be empowered!