You may recall back in the spring of 2019 that I was fighting with the elementary school and taking her to occupational therapists and eye doctors and anyone else I could to try and find out why she was having such a hard time with reading and writing. We never got a good answer. The school said in September that she didn’t qualify for an IEP, and it took them until March to develop and implement a 504 plan for Eleanor with interventions to try and help her. Then the schools closed due to the pandemic.
At the point that school ended in March, Eleanor had just completed another round of testing on her reading abilities. She again showed scores that indicated she was falling even further behind her peers. So this summer, Zach and I decided to take it upon ourselves to figure out how to help Eleanor. In July we started calling around to places in the area that provide tutors for dyslexia. I had utilized several online screening assessments to see if dyslexia might be the root of Eleanor’s struggles. All of them came back showing a high likelihood that Eleanor is dyslexic. When I read through lists of challenges and strengths for people with dyslexia, easily 75% of the things listed could be attributed to my daughter. We found a local center for dyslexia offering online, one-to-one tutoring and signed Eleanor up. On their recommendation, we took Eleanor to a psychologist in the area who specializes in learning disorders. The stars must have aligned perfectly, because he was able to get us in and get her tested within just a couple of weeks. Miracle of all miracles, our insurance all said they would not only pay for the extremely expensive testing (we’re talking well over $1000) but also wave the deductible. We only had to pay a $30 copay for each of the two visits to the psychologist. Eleanor was scheduled for four hours of testing spread over two days, but completed it all within one hour on the first day. I suspect that it was overwhelmingly obvious to the psychologist that Eleanor would not be able to complete any further testing because her abilities are so low.
Within just a few days of completing the testing we received Eleanor’s results: she is dyslexic.
You should have seen the look of relief on Eleanor’s face when we told her we believed she had dyslexia and explained what that meant. It was like the weight of the world had been lifted off her shoulders. We described it in ways she could understand: it was as if everyone had been trying to teach her to read in French but she doesn’t speak French. Her brain just could not learn in the way she was being taught. So we’re going to get her a private tutor to help her learn in the right way for her brain. I don’t think she’s too excited about the extra “class time” on the computer twice a week, but she is ecstatic about the idea that she’ll finally be able to learn to read fluently. Yes, the tutoring will be shockingly expensive, but I cannot think of a better reason for spending money. Eleanor’s ability to read will impact almost everything about the rest of her life. Zach and I had been saving to take a ten-year anniversary trip this year, which obviously could not happen with the global pandemic and travel restrictions. A tutor for Eleanor is a much better use of those savings.
I have upcoming meetings with the school to discuss her new evaluation and diagnosis, as well as new testing done by the school to see if she now qualifies for an IEP. I refuse to let her continue to struggle. I refuse to let her fail. I refuse to let her fall through the cracks. This girl is so smart, so determined, so motivated. I will be there fighting for her, every step of the way.