I didn’t have a diagnosis. This is a judgement I made all on my own. I have no scientific backing. No professional help. However, I believe I made a difference in my child’s life with a simple solution. It just seems like an easy, not risk idea to try. You decide what is best for you.
I had a child that was always behind. We were making progress all the time though….then I realized the summer before 5th grade just how behind she was.
She sold her 4H Steer at the fair. As part of the fair sale, she was to fill out a Thank You card to the folks that purchased him. I went with her. I knew this would be a difficult task for her. I was in for a surprise. It wasn’t hard. It was impossible. I tried to tell her ‘write something like this…’ she couldn’t do it. I tried to dictate to her exactly what to write. “Thank you” … “T-h-a-n-k-y-o-u” no go. The only way we found through this was to write it out exactly on one card and HELP her copy it onto the next card. (queue worried mom. embarrassed homeschool mom! anyone else been here? Pray!)
I knew she had trouble reading. I knew she couldn’t copy down her math problems from her book- you know so that I wouldn’t have to buy another workbook for the next child? She could remember what I read to her. She could do the math- mostly- if she didn’t have to copy the problem first. She could do anything I put in her hands (she was GREAT help on the farm). She could cook- if I helped read the recipe.
I began doing research. I was terrified- I had a 5th grader that couldn’t write a thank you note – with help!
I read about Dyslexia and Dysgraphia. Many of the symptoms- this home diagnosis (all me!) seemed to fit my kid (okay so you get this part right? if you put symptoms and a guess into google you are likely to find something there to say ” yes, yes that is what you have. That is what is happening.” I don’t know how accurate any of this was!) I read quite a bit on physical development and right brain-left brain. This particular kid was an early walker. like 10 months old early. I tested her physically- marching took some work. army crawl- tough stuff. Have any of you read about these types of tests? She was failing most of them.
God has given ME this child. Whatever she needs I am able to provide her- right? I may feel unable to meet this needs of this child but thankfully the Lord knows better.
I read some more. Physical exercise often works to set up these brain pathways. She needs the right and left sides of the brain to talk to each other. She needs to use both sides of her body in harmony. Piano? Music- right brain, Reading music- left brain. Using right and left hands together. Could this possibly help? Could it? What are the drawbacks? She studies music which is supposed to stimulate the brain somehow anyway, right? She learns to play piano? She learns to read music? This seems worth a try. I did.
We had an amazing piano teacher. My older daughter was playing already- she is very musical. I explained that number one is playing because she is a musician. I explained why I wanted number three to play- that I am not concerned with how well she plays or how fast she learns- just to play. two hands. two sides of the brain.
I realized one day as I witnessed a piano lesson that this quiet (nearly silent) child of mine was talking to her piano teacher 1000 miles an hour! WOW! something is happening.
By the end of that year- I just kept plugging away with school more or less the same as always- but I realized suddenly I wasn’t struggling as much with her. She was completing more assignments without a battle.
I talked to piano teacher. She said that it had taken all year- but number three was able to play each and every key individually with one finger at a time. Wow. I didn’t know that was what we needed. We did.
Piano. Ok, so maybe she didn’t/doesn’t have dyslexia. Maybe she didn’t/doesn’t have dysgraphia. I don’t know I did not seek a professional. Maybe she would have caught up because it was her time to blossom. Maybe. Maybe she just needed her own time. Maybe. Maybe she still needs more help than I know. I don’t know the answers, but I know that my kiddo learned to play piano AND development improved AND school improved. It just seems like a simple thing to try. It MIGHT work for more than just my kiddo- so I thought I’d offer the idea 😉
** It is NOT my intention to willfully misunderstand dyslexia or dysgraphia. It is not my intention to marginalize any struggles with diagnosis or therapies. I call this my unofficial experience because it is that- nothing more than a mom researching on the internet with no training and no professional help. This is nothing more than my thoughts on my child.