Charlie – my beautiful bright, funny, lego obsessed boy. He’s also extremely handsome (yes I can say that, I am his mum!).
Charlie has always been bright and inquisitive. From a very early age he was engaging grown ups in conversations beyond his years. With knowledge of the solar system, machines and engineering that surpasses my own tiny brain on these matters. A happy child, with a thirst for understanding. Sensitive in emotions and recognising others feelings. Incredibly creative. Building detailed lego models when only 3. In the photo above he is working out how the Suspension Bridge is built and how he would improve it!
So, as parents, when he started to struggle at school with his reading and writing we didn’t know what to do. We just thought he was ‘one of the boys who’d get it later’. So we didn’t push him to read with us at home. If we did, it resulted in things being thrown and stomping around the house, and I mean all of us when I say this.
Year two was particularly hard. His teacher, during parents evening, advised us that ‘if he didn’t pull his socks up, he wouldn’t achieve 5 GCSE’s’. He was 6. 6 and she had damned him for the next 10 years! Leaving that meeting I cried. Cried for Charlie, cried with the shock, cried with anger at his teacher and cried because I felt a failure as a parent. Dan on the other hand went into ‘teacher’ overdrive. Pushing Charlie to read which in turn caused heartache for all us.
Year 2 was tough. Most mornings he clung to me, crying. Begging me not to leave him. Tried to escape the playground in the morning, running after me down the road. It was tough. He went from a bright, thoughtful, carefree kid to an anxious, worrier. Afraid of the dark. Afraid of being upstairs in the house on his own. Afraid of going to the toilet alone. Didn’t eat. Became very fussy. And withdrawn.
It happened gradually over a period of two years. He wasn’t being bullied. But something wasn’t right.
Year 2 stats came and went. We decided to not care! And went on a weeks holiday (in school time) just before the exams, to chill him out. The results came back and he was average for reading and writing – average. That’s ok? Isn’t it?
We breathed out. It’s going to be ok.
Year 3. Within 6 weeks into year 3 and a new teacher, it was suggested that Charlie was dyslexic. WHAT! Roller coaster of emotions again. He was tested and the results came back – he was.
So this explains it all. The self doubt, the anxiety, the not wanting to read. He has been ‘hiding’ his problem for years. Worrying that he will be found out.
My poor boy.
This was October last year he was tested. Since then he has received help. He knows he needs help and is willing to receive it – a huge step. Now five months on, he is a ‘free reader’. Will pick things up and read them. He is happier, putting on weight. Enjoying food more. We played a family game of scrabble at the weekend. And he actually wanted to help all of us find words. He is enjoying reading and learning again.
It is all down to confidence. His new teacher is AMAZING! We all adore her. She has boosted his confidence, understands him and wants to help.
The anxiety thing. We are still working on it. A friend suggested homeopathic medicine. I spoke to the local practitioner and she suggested Phosphorous, which helps with irrational fears especially in children. One week in and yesterday he went upstairs to the toilet, on his own for the first time in a year!
We have a break through. The relief.
Charlie’s learning will always be foremost in our lives. But the progress he has made in five short months has been astounding. We are very proud.
Dan and I are still learning about dyslexia, and know there are many resources out there for us and him. But we are taking it slowly and building his confidence daily. We are getting there.