LD, Community Connection, Public Schools and the PTA

HELP!

This is the question most asked of me by parents concerning their children with LD and special needs. It is that simple and that complex. I understand. I feel for them and I admire their determination. The love they have for their children is obvious. The hard road they walk to bring these children a better quality of life is often thankless. Often times parents/guardians feel that they are gaining little ground for their efforts.

I do not have all the answers. But, I know where to start. I believe networking can be such an amazing gift, unfortunately word of mouth will not get this in front of these families. We need to make it easy for families to find these resources. We need to bridge the gap between the education system and the resource-filled online disability communities.

If parents/guardians can connect with the amazing communities available and in turn read the outpouring of help and support, they will find assistance with 504/IEP, social connections with similar children, advocates, tutoring, life tips and emotional support for parents/guardians, just to name a few.

So where can this information be broadcast so it might reach these families on a mass level? My suggestion would be individual PTA social pages and directly on official public school and public school district web pages.

Simply paste the links in an easy to locate area designated as resources for children with special needs. Social communities with interactions should be at the users risk

The PTA was organized to better the lives of every child in education. The public school district and individual school web pages are available as a resource for the families of the children being educated. I say post a permanent link to amazing sites like the Decoding Dyslexia relevant for the area. Link the families in your school affected by autism to not just major communities like Autism Society of America and The National Autistic Society | – | autism | Asperger syndrome | but the smaller local sites that can more intimately address their communities needs. Learning Disabilities Association of America is a wonderful resource and accompanied with local resources where people can connect, disabilities become differences and differences can be embraced and explored within helpful communities.

When a parent or caregiver enters their child’s educational journey the tables turn. They go from knowing their child’s needs and meeting them to a completely different ballgame, often feeling overwhelmed by not only the academics but the social aspects as well.

I say give them a road map to success, having schools and PTA‘s provide links where they can make the connections relevant to families individual situations can accomplish this task. Bring the links to the families instead of having the families desperately looking for someone who may help. Your child’s mind is built like an academic scholar but they struggle socially due to the difference in the way their brain works from the average student? There are others out there, they are looking to share personal experiences with you. Your child has severe academic challenges? The tests are timed the environment is anti-productive for their learning style? There are methods that you have yet to learn, there are advocates to point you in the right direction.

Providing these links to the resources already available will stop the two step forwards one step back feeling so many parents/caregivers are drowning in. There are not enough on-site staff members to hold every families hand through this journey we call education. BUT, there are enough hands out there waiting to help, be a sounding board, and give you the knowledge and road miles they have already walked to help you get back to enjoying the amazing child you were blessed to guide to independence

I believe the education system was first designed to educate the masses. Bless all those who had that presumably insurmountable task and have taken societies thus far! Now let’s continue the evolution of our education by bridging the gap between families in need and the resources available, so that the needs of the minority can be met and each child’s potential is within reach. Let us provide links to the vast knowledge available and the kind hearts that have walked the hard miles and are willing to provide others with the help they are asking for.

I would like to see each school’s web page with links to appropriate disability organizations, advocates, local and online tutoring, and social pages for the emotional support of families with similar challenges. No parent/guardian should feel isolated and every child deserves the immense resources and research available.

Contact your child’s principal make a plea to the public school district and work with your local PTA to make these links available to those in need and the parents/guardians of the future.

If you know of a school that provides these links or have thoughts on this idea I would love to hear from you.

All the best,

DyslexicWhisper

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I See In 3D

My grandmother-in-law was in the hospital recently. She is 96 and had an infection in one of her legs. What was supposed to be a routine check on her leg turned into a four day nightmare. They admitted her and began intense antibiotics. They gave her sleep aids and pain killers but explained little. She began to feel out of control and fearful. What she thought she was seeing turned out to be (from what I gather) side effects of the medicine. And what I insist as malnourishment from fear of eating and fatigue from adrenaline fueled by fear. She could not sleep. She would not eat.

When she asked that I come stay with her I went with the intention of easing her stay any way I could. I remember a time in life where I wished someone would simply watch over me so I could sleep. She was gifting me with her trust and I was determined not to fail her.

During my time with her the specialist came in pulling at her blanket wanting to examine her. “Remember this woman is 96,” I demanded. She comes from a time where women wore pantyhose at ALL times or were considered indecent. She came from 1916. My history friends will understand that America in this time period was not even the same planet as it is now. Men do NOT bring in groups of training doctors to view 96 year old women in this manner without taking a piece of the woman’s integrity when they leave.

I am not a doctor. I do not even claim that what they were doing was wrong. Maybe they see things that I do not. I only asked that they consider the person as they proceed. What I wanted to give her was peace of mind. I brought my computer and iPod. I showed her that the medical staff and family member (from the lady sharing her room) were not out to get her with their strange handheld electronic devises. They were not in “cahoots”, like she claimed, but were probably on Facebook. Then I opened up my Facebook on my iPod and showed her pictures of her grand-kids and her children and the lives she had no idea were so accessible. In the end she said she would rather be gardening, despite the many hours she could see being consumed looking at everyone’s “grass is greener” photos.

The night was long and I was tired but when the situation would get the better of her I switched from my iPod to my laptop to give her old eyes a better view. The screen was now large enough to engage her in these precious family photos that were taken with the current generation’s iOS devices. Bless her heart, we giggled and awed at some and then looked surprised at the more risqué photos. I got to see the world from 1916. It was beautiful. It deserved respect. She was NOT losing her grip on reality she was simply trying to cope in a world that was developing faster than she could access.

I stayed up all night and only took my eyes off her once (Guests were not allowed to use the bathroom in the room) but I explained this to her and everything else that she heard and saw that she did not understand. From the rolling cart of the late night custodian to vibration of the staffs feet when they had to rush off for a patients emergency she was scared and I knew the mind can be a powerful enemy. She was not convinced by all of my explanations but she grew to trust me that night because I never lied to her or talked down to her. There was never a sensation that was too insignificant for me to explain. And I offered the explanations without her asking.

She was convinced they were holding her against her will. I stayed with her until she was released and when we got outside I asked her if she could smell anything. She looked at me funny and said no. I told her to take a big whiff, because that was the smell of sweet freedom. She laughed and then looked at me seriously. Then she told me something that I hadn’t realized I needed so desperately. She said, “You know kid, I love you.”

This to me is my gift of dyslexia. To see things in 3D. To understand from all directions. I made a friend that day. A friendship that levels me at how genuine it is.

I try to look at everyone with this 3D approach. Every child discovered not labeled. Every elderly person deserves explanation not condemnation and every disability deserves redefining.

Almost 100 years together. Perfection!

Whisper This,

Dyslexicwhisper