So frustrated!

Monday, October 22, 2012
I have been working on a post to tell you about Kate's recent diagnosis of both dyslexia and information processing disorder but honestly we have had bigger fish to fry around here so to speak.  On the one hand I was very sad to find out that Kate will have some early learning challenges.   It is heartbreaking to see your child struggle. On the other hand, I was SO glad that I followed my gut and we found out early. I have suspected for about a year that she had dyslexia and an information processing disorder but no one really believed me.

Anyway, today I was informed that our school district will not provide services OR accommodations for her at this time.  I AM LIVID!!!!

I do not fully understand the reasoning (because I was crying and very upset at this point) except that she is very smart and therefore not failing enough yet to warrant services. Kate's overall IQ is high and the point difference between her IQ and her processing speed is 25 points.  That is HUGE.  But the school will not accommodate her. I am so mad, y'all!  I thought early intervention was good.  I thought helping a student before their self-esteem hit rock bottom was a GOOD thing. Everything I have read about dyslexia says that the earlier it is diagnosed and dealt with, the better. Yet, our district would rather wait?!  I know this is all about $ and it just infuriates me to no end.

Kate is a very smart little girl in some ways.  She memorizes books and she has tricked people into thinking she can read better than she can.  She accommodates already but I am afraid she is learning bad habits instead of learning the right way.

I am going to have to go to battle for my daughter y'all and I know many of you have walked this road before me.  PLEASE guide me.  Please tell me how to advocate for my sweet girl.  I promised her she would read this year.  It breaks my heart to see her stumble over the same words day after day when she could be getting help.

Just today (having absolutely NO knowledge of either her diagnosis or the refusal of services) she said to me again, "Mama, am I ever going to learn to read?  Am I going to have to do kindergarten again next year too?"  She asks me this at least once a week.  It BREAKS my heart.

I am off to bed.  I have cried 4 times over completely different but serious issues today.  I am emotionally exhausted.  Please let me know if you have advice for us.  We need it.

And I leave you with my sweet, beautiful little gymnast.  She has been to about 5 or 6 gymnastics classes so far and look at her go.  She teaches herself these things in our playroom as her class is not doing this stuff yet. You just hear constant tumbling up there.

Taken with my I-phone:)

Also, please continue to keep Harry in your prayers.  He changed/transferred schools a few days ago and has some other things going on.  He also has daily headaches that are quite debilitating.  


  1. Ah! I have had so many friends in similar situations. Like two hands worth of friends. They got their kids tested "too early" and it sort of screwed them out of services. But for most it was the difference between two and three years- not six years- of age.

    Some just waited but I think in your case, you need to be the pest that won't go away. Calls daily. Show up in offices. Sadly, I think those who are loudest and boldest get their way in such matters. Which I am sure is the opposite of how you want to go about anything. But that just seems to be the way of the world. So wrong! Perhaps another reader in your area can offer specific advice? Gosh that just sucks though! I am so sorry! I'll add this to my prayer list.


  2. Kim -- I am so sorry to read this. Shame on them. Can you get her a private reading tutor right away? Kamree has one and she is making huge progress this year. Hang in there!

    1. We are going to try to do that Jodee but many of them are full. It is suggested that she get 4-5 days of one on one instruction for the dyslexia. That is hard to get in outside the school day. We are at a GREAT public school that has a person who does only that. She should be seeing Kate everyday.

  3. I didn't read the part about Harry at first- keepign him in my prayers and hoping the change is a good one!

    Also, as a former gymnast (you would never know looking at me now- ha), Kate is doing AMAZING! Those are hard skills- that's pure talent if she is teaching herself. Totally impressed.


    1. KK,

      She just tries things in our playroom until she can do them. She amazes me too but that might just be because I am her Mama and I love her so much! She is a natural though and I think once we can move her up she will soar. The gym wants to move her up but we cannot find a spot.

      Thank you for your prayers. I hope the move is good for H too. So far it seems much better.


  4. Miss Kate, my very best friend has dyslexia and she is quite an amazing reader and writer now in high school as a sophomore, she struggled when she was your age, but she is amazing now! She still has a few small issues with reading and writing/typing, but overall you wouldn't even know. :) You are quite the gymnast too! I wish I was as good as you! I don't have the muscle to come back out of my bridge like you can! You must be very strong and very talented as well! I hope you can just do your best in school and be as amazing as you can!

    1. Allie...that is so very sweet. You brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for your encouraging words. I needed them tonight:)

  5. I understand your frustration with the school system. I am not a parent, but I work with struggling students on a daily basis. Many of them are dyslexic and/or have an information processing disorder. Many of the schools are just no help. They just tell the parents to find a tutor.

    I would strongly suggest that you look into Lindamood Bell Learning Processes. I use their programs to help struggling students improve their academic skills. I have helped several non-readers become readers with their programs. I have also seen tremendous improvement in students with an "information processing disorder", as the schools call it.

    You can find out more at

    You can view videos on their programs and read articles about how their programs work based on the fact that they are based on actual brain research.

    I have used many programs/materials (Hooked on Phonics, Sylvan, Kumon, etc) in my 10 years of working with struggling students and let me tell you, Lindamood Bell programs blow all those other programs away. The difference is amazing. I have been able to help an 8 year-old non-verbal, non-communicative (no gestures/pointing in communication) autistic boy to speak in full sentences and order his lunch at school with the Lindamood Bell program, Talkies. He had been in speech therapy since he was 2 and the speech pathologists at school didn't believe he would ever talk. He said his very first unprompted word 3 days after I started working with him.

    If Kate is dealing with dyslexia and information processing issues, the programs you should look into are called "Visualizing and Verbalizing" and "Seeing Stars".

    Feel free to give Lindamood Bell a call and talk to them about how Kate is struggling and how they can help. They help students like her daily. They can give her an assessment and tell you what programs she needs and how many tutoring hours she would probably need.

    You can also try to get your school to pay for Kate to attend a Lindamood Bell Center. I have seen that happen before. It is tough and many parents have to hire an attorney, but if they are unwilling to help her at the school and she has already had to repeat kindergarten, they might do it if you fight hard enough.

    If you have any questions about IEPs, battling with the schools, dyslexia, information processing disorder, Lindamood Bell programs or anything else, feel free to e-mail me. I'd be happy to help you out since I see these types of students on a daily basis. I hope this helps you and that Kate is able to get the help that she needs.

  6. I rarely comment but felt I needed to tonight. I'm a teacher in north Texas and I feel for you and Kate! This is ridiculous, but sadly it's the norm in so many schools. Our district doesn't even test for dyslexia until 2nd grade! It's insane!! I suggest you keep insisting on services and advocating for Kate. If necessary, hire an attorney. Do whatever it takes for your girl. Just know that soooo many teachers feel your pain too. When did we stop doing what's best for kids?!? Kate will be in my prayers. As will Harry.

  7. Shame on them. Kate is obviously a bright little girl and I can't believe they'd rather "wait and see" instead of starting now to help her reach her full potential. Makes no sense.

    I am super impressed with her gymnastics skills...what a natural!! Way to go Kate!

  8. First off, it's wonderful you got Kate tested so early. And, also, I can tell from your post that you will keep fighting until you get Kate the help she needs :) what a fantastic mom!

    Don't let the school tell you she doesn't qualify for help - you hit the nail on the head when you said it is all about the confidence she has in herself!

    When I was younger, I had a bad lisp, and the school deemed I was "too smart" for speech class. I never took it, and was unconfident in reading out loud all through high school (I used to fear reading "s" words). Now I'm 24, and my friends all tell me it's not even noticeable (and maybe even endearing), but it was the confidence thing that was very hard to overcome! More frustrating was my youngest sister had the same lisp, but since she "wasn't as smart as me" she got speech class and got it fixed.

    Just a small example of the importance of helping children when they're young, and the weird, senseless policies schools can have! I know you'll do what's best for Kate!

    Also, what an athlete! Super impressed by her gymnastic skills!

    Keeping you all in my prayers!

  9. kim..i really feel for you..i have a child who is high functioning autistic and has processing disorder. my child did qualify for services but when it came to really learning to read i hired someone from the linda mood bell reading system..i saw someone else comment on worked wo well and fast..with 6 months he went from not being able to read to reading 3rd grade level..i can't recommend them highly was life changing. you and your sweet family continue to be in my prayers during this difficult time. pam

  10. Take a deep breath...fall on your knees and give all of this anger to the Lord. I, personally, have done all of this with the schools before we left for Costa Rica with Emma and they never saw anything wrong with her except "speech". Well..ummm...duh...of course, she has problems speaking at the age of 3 when she was adopted from South Korea at the age of 2;) Fast forward to this past Christmas, we came home for our daughter's wedding and I took Emma to an Occupational Therapist. She has a sensory processing disorder. So does Lottie. Actually, if you listen to Karyn Purvis (Empowering to Connect...or something like that) most of our adopted little ones who laid in orphanage beds probably have some sort of a sensory processing disorder that we MAY not see until they begin school. So, we did OT therapy with Emma and it worked wonders, all of the sudden she began to read words that she struggled with...we returned to Mexico and she went backwards again. This is the main reason we came home for good. She has now been back in with her OT for four months and is doing famously. She is still not reading on a 7 year old level but she will get there! She has finally begun to comprehend things I am reading to is terribly exciting! Our OT tells us that anytime a parent brings in a child saying that the school has labeled them as Dyslexic that she can almost guarantee every single time that it is a sensory processing disorder. Our children are not receiving the right messages to their brains mainly because of the lack of touch, eye contact etc. that they should have received from birth. Lottie is just like Kate, I can read her a book one time and she can read it back to me...word for word. It appears she is reading and she is not. Since we began the same therapy with Lottie, she now actually reads the words. Go see your pediatrician...get a referral to an OT and have her tested. Ask friends who you know may have used an OT, I don't know if you ever had to do that with the boys or not? I'm not a therapist...nor an expert....but it sounds exactly the way we discovered these issues in our girls. It wasn't until we began homeschooling that I noticed all of the learning disabilities they seemed to have. I am praying for all of you....I am praying for the RIGHT VOICE to be speaking to you....I know you are a strong of the strongest moms I know who will advocate for their will receive better care outside of the school. It will cost more but it will be worth it.

    Kate IS smart.....Kate WILL succeed.....You can do this my friend! I believe in you! I love you sweet friend and I am praying for Harry as well!

  11. kim..i really feel for you..i have a child who is high functioning autistic and has processing disorder. my child did qualify for services but when it came to really learning to read i hired someone from the linda mood bell reading system..i saw someone else comment on worked wo well and fast..with 6 months he went from not being able to read to reading 3rd grade level..i can't recommend them highly was life changing. you and your sweet family continue to be in my prayers during this difficult time. pam

  12. I am so sorry!! Sweet Kate seems to be so well rounded and I know she will be better because of this but it is hard to stomach as a parent. And you are watching 2 kiddos suffer right now!!! Know that I am praying for you all as you get through these storms. One thing I have learned is that they don't last forever, thank goodness God gives us seasons in this life!!! I hope you have a better day tomorrow!!

  13. Kim I echo lindamood bell. I've been trained in seeing stars and visualizing verbalizin and my motherbon law does the therapy through my private practice. Super big jumps for kids just like Kate.

    There is so much to tell you about battling the school but I would need to see the individual scores to see if there is a loop hole you can get her in on. Believe me, if there is a loophole I will find it. I also know all the ways to battle the distinct and have been an independent evaluator on some high profile cases so please give me a call or email and I can help. There is always a way to get what she needs you just have I find the right argument. Give me a call or email and I can help!


  14. My daughter has dyslexia and a processing disorder. She was in private speech/language therapy with a dyslexia specialist for several years. Then we moved to Texas (Houston) a year ago. Her private Christian school offers help in their learning center and she gets accommodations as well. I have seen Charlotte's discouragement drop since being in her new school. You will have to advocate in the public system and Im sorry I don't have experience or advice for you there. I would not shy away from early intervention even if you have to go to a private center. It will be totally worth it! The lindamoodbell system that Gabriells mentioned sounds familiar. She also did a research based computer "game" intervention every day for 4 months. Remarkably the post test showed that she closed significant processing gaps.

    My daughter is very aware of her "bumpy road for reading" and memory work and recall.....but she has sweetly written it into her story of who she is. She has even seen how God has used it for good. She is currently in the 6th grade. There have been long hard nights with homework and the occasional sad moment of discouragement, but mostly, she has learned to trust in God who made her perfectly! This is the gift you can give you daughter - a framing of her difficulty in language that is encouraging.

    My best advice is advocate and fight, but do not wait on the help in the private sector. That alone will give you support and you will see results with the kind of research based interventions available to language specialists who know dyslexia in particular. We were encouraged to learn that neuropathways can still be laid down....a child with dyslexia is like a child at the top of a hill on a sled and the first run down the hill is sticky and slow going, but with repetition, the track becomes slicker and slicker until the sled zips down the track. This is like the brain. The more practice and track laying she can do the better. It is fascinating and encouraging!

    You will learn key strategies to help your daughter. Some of ours: "touching" recall and memory items repeatedly, not just once before a quiz or test but throughout the week. Use whatever helps - flashcards, computer games, playing school, practice quizes, etc. For longer chapter books, follow along to books on tape. Track text with your finger or a bookmark so you focus on fewer words at a time. Use visualization as you read - this helps with recall and memory. Etc, will learn all of these and more from a professional. Worth every cent we spent!

    Praying for you and Kate. God walks with you as you navigate this together and He will use it for good. He does that!

  15. Kim, I am so sorry. Wish I could give you a great big HUG.

    I would try talking with the superintendent of schools. My husband was on the school board and you have to be a pest. Usually, the school has a process, where you can ask for a meeting with the review board. Not sure how it works in your state. It might be in Kate's best interst to have a tutor and get her the help she needs while you fight for the school district to do what they should be doing.

    My other recommendation I would make is to get any denial from the school in writing. This will help you should you have to pursue legal counsel.

    I will keep Kate & Harry in my prayers.

    I hope things turn around for your soon.


  16. I'm so sorry, Kim. I've noted Kate's work that you've posted and I thought it was very good, so she appears to be both smart and a hard worker.

    I teach kindergarten, and I concur that it is difficult to get kids services at this age (any age actually). : (

    I once had a student who was visually impaired,(legally blind) and had some anxiety and sensory issues. It was a bear to get her all of the specific type of help she needed. I finally told her mother (who was already very strong and savvy), to 'turn on the squeaky wheel.' After some emotional IEP's and emails, it worked.

    Good luck and keep us posted!

  17. I have been following your blog for many years. I have never commented but I admire the way you and your husband guide and parent your children. I was diagnosed with dyslexia when I was in 3rd grade. I can remember struggling and struggling to read and learn. It really did affect my self esteem. I can vividly remember going to the nurse when I was in 2nd grade. I was asked to read the letter chart to check my eye sight. I naturally read the chart from right to left. That nurse right then and there knew that I needed help. I want you to know that I did finally learn to read. I graduated from the University of Southern California. I have a masters degree. I did it and so will your beautiful daughter. I also have a daughter who was also diagnosed with dyslexia. I fought and fought to get her what she needed to teach her to read and learn. My beautiful daughter is now a Junior at a private university in northern California and is getting a degree in special education so she can help other children.

    I will be honest with you. It was not easy. It was super hard. Take a look at a program called the Lindamood Bell Programs. Children who have a hard time learning to read need help learning all the rules of the language. The Lindamood Bell program will help her do that. I do not work for and have no connection with this program other than the fact that it changed my daughters life. They worked with her in a positive way and this helped her self esteem. I learned about this program from a friend of mine who had a son with learning issues. I want you to know that her son is now a Junior at UCLA.

    I also think that it is important at all times to follow your motherly instincts. If you feel like something is right or wrong it is. I am here for you to talk to as I really really can relate as a student who struggled and as a mother of a child who struggled. Please contact me at any time.

  18. Hi Kim,
    My name is Lauren and I have been reading your blog for many years. I admire the way that you and your husband parent and guide your children. I thought I would reach out to you as I too had dyslexia. I was diagnosed in the 3rd grade. I was asked to do a regular vision test in the nurses office. I naturally read the letter chart from right to left and that is how I was diagnosed. I remember thinking that I was stupid. I remember being teased by other students. I learned to memorize and cover up so nobody knew what was going on. I will tell you that I have more will and desire to succeed than most people that I know. There really isn't much that I want to accomplish that I don't . I think that this is because I had to work so hard. I did learn to read. I graduated from The University of Southern California. I have a masters degree in education and administration. I had to work harder than most, BUT I DID IT. AND SO WILL KATE.

    My beautiful daughter Amanda was also diagnosed with dyslexia. I learned about a program called The Lindamood Bell Program from a friend of mine who had a son that needed help with his reading. I would highly recommend the program as it really helped my daughter. It was expensive but worth it. I knew that I couldn't wait too long to get her help. I would suggest looking into it. Amanda is know a Junior at a private university in Northern California studying to be a special education teacher. She too has to work super hard, but she is doing it. AND SO WILL KATE.

    Trust your motherly intuition. It is always right. I am here for you if you ever want to reach out.

  19. I forgot to mention that Kate is doing great in her gymnastics. I have spent the last 15 years in a gym as my son is a high level gymnast. It might be fun to have Kate take a look at his You Tube Channel. (Adam Young Azarian Gymanstics) He is looking forward to a NCAA scholarship next year. Hopefully to The University of Oklahoma. Say a few prayers that it all works out for him and he can fulfill this lifelong dream. Gymnastics is a great sport and an excellent way for kids to get exercise and increase their self esteem. There are some fun pictures of his gymnastics on our blog as well.

    God Bless

  20. One simple thing that comes to mind is printing any worksheets for her on coloured paper. A lot of dyslexic children in the special needs school where I used to work had yellow or green paper instead of white and it really helped. Some also had glasses with tinted coloured lenses.

    See if there is a colour that Kate finds easiest to look at for long periods and ask the school to print on that colour. Her gymnastics will also be great for her coordination.

    Every morning and afternoon before lessons began the children would do a program called Activate:

    It helps their coordination, attention and concentration.

  21. Kate - This is very common where I live (MA). First the school tells you they won't provide services, and then you have to advocate to get them. Usually what it takes around here is private testing/screening to show the results to your district. It's $$ to pay for private testing, but usually that's all it takes to get them to listen and do something. Sad, but true.
    Good luck to you.

  22. Kim, i am so sorry for what you are going through. I cannot imagine the frustratino you must feeland yet I have been there when the world feels like the walls are caving in. I have had a few friends who had kids with processing issues/learning of them had no issues getting services through the school, the ohter ended up putting her son in a local private school that has a specialized program for kids like her son but its a regular mainstream private school. I am happy to say both kids are well and thriving and one of them is in his first year of college in Florida!
    I dont' have personal experience, but want to offer you support, say its soooo great that you were proactive and listened to your gut, and you are a WILL get this done. Is getting an attorney involved to show them you mean business out of the question? I have heard of people taking on school districts with success, even the local media? I am just putting it out there that if you are not getting might need to resort to stronger measures.
    Keep us posted, sending you a giant hug, keeping you, Kate, Harry and the rest of your family in my prayers.

  23. So sorry to hear that the school is not accommodating -- that is so frustrating and hard. I knew that you and Dave are very strong advocates for your kiddos, the only advice I have is to keep at it. Praying for you and especially for Harry too -- I know how difficult those headaches can be.

  24. Kim,

    As I was reading this I was reliving what I went thru with Nick when he was diagnosed. I fought the same battle with the school ant I stuck to my guns. I'm running out the door for work, but I will write you later to explain what we used as a plan of attack. You will see that she will excel and overcompensate by memorizing. Very common for kids that are dyslexic. Just know I'm thinking of you and praying for the best possible outcome for both Kate and Harry. Try to stay strong.

  25. call Texas School Board and find out the details on getting her tested in your district. Also, if you get outside testing and you have proof she is indeed dyslexic then, I believe by law they have to place a 504 at the school which accomadates her for her learning disibilities. If she is in K then they may wait until 1st? not sure how this works but, I would go above the school district and get information.

    Hope this helps...I had my daughter tested at school in 3rd but come to find out she's not dyslexic- the school testing is very vague and in my opinion not very accurate or detailed.

    hugs and hang in there!!

  26. I'm sorry to hear this, Kim, and I agree it's ridiculous that the school refuses to help. I have to doubt that you'll do battle to get help for Kate and if the present school won't, then Kate will be in a different school next year. Kate is a lucky girl that her mommy took notice, found out what was wrong and will do whatever it takes to get her girl to read. Best of luck to you, Kim. YOU CAN DO THIS!

  27. Question...did the school also test Kate or did they use the testing from the independent evaluator? As a school psychologist I have often classified students if they have a significant cognitive weakness as it sounds Kate does if her processing speed is 25 points lower than her overall cognitive score becuase this weakness will obviously impact her performance in the classroom. However, it can be tricky as well b/c we also have to follow the regulations set by the state so if she is performing in the "average" to "low average" range academically it can be hard to justify classification...which doesn't seem fair I know. :(

    1. I had her tested independently because the school will not test this young. And yes, they want to wait until she is doing worse before intervening. Even though she has dyslexia. That will not just go away on its own.

  28. I watched my son and his family go through something similar and they were ultimately able to get services covered mostly by their school district but in a northeast state. Find out the state laws and find an advocate for Kate - someone who knows the laws and your school system well. Get a lawyer if you have to and go after the district. We ended up in a private school paid for mostly by the school district as the district finally admitted they had almost nothing for my grandchild. As my dear daughter-in-law said she would go to the Supreme Court if she had to because no other child was going to have to go through what they were going through. More power to her!!!!!

    If that doesn't work, or you don't want to take that route, find private tutoring and make it a priority not only for your family's time but your pocketbook as well. Until the issue got resolved, this is what my son and his family did and it has made a HUGE difference for my grandchild and worth every penny spent.

    My prayers are with you and your family. It's a hard time for you all.


  29. While you try to get your school district to help I would look into private schools who can accommodate her learning differences as well as private tutors. One of my sons went to public school for two years and their mantra was that you just had to be average (C student). He is very bright and Cs were far below his potential. Before I met with the learning consultants at school I met with our private psychologist who told me what to ask for and how to back it up (along with his report). He also told me to just respectfully end the meeting if I felt my son was not getting what was needed for him to reach his potential and that he would come to the next meeting with me. Fortunately the school district was very familiar with my sons psychologist and accepted all his recommendations.

    One of my bookclub members (a former teacher) has a granddaughter in a Texas public school and is so disappointed in the services provided.

    Prayers to you all and I'm sure it will all work out. And I know it's hard because I'm a crier too but don't let those administrators see you cry.

  30. prayers coming your way.

    i know that our jackson has some kind of learning disability (4th grade), but it has never been diagnosed. if he were my first child, i'd probably not pick up on his issues. we have met with every teacher since the 1st grade, and no one seems to think he has a problem...he is just reading a lot slower than his classmates. I have been very frustrated as well because as you mentioned, jackson is smart enough to get by and fool the system on some things. he is not falling behind ENOUGH so to speak.

    good luck with your endeavors. hang in there.

  31. In addition to getting a private tutor I would look into private schools that can accommodate her learning differences. My son went to a public school for 2 years and their attitude was that he just needed to be average. He's very bright and more than able to get better than Cs. Before I met with the administrators I met with our private psychologist to get advice on how to approach the meeting. He told me to respectfully end the meeting if I did not get the accommodations he had suggested and we had agreed on. Fortunately he has a great reputation in our area and his report was sufficient although I know of other students who were denied accommodations.

    One of my bookclub members (teacher) has a granddaughter in a Texas public school and she is appalled by the lack of services and support her grandaughter is provided.

    My prayers are with you and I'm sure it will work out. And I'm a crier too but try not let the administrators see you cry.

    When I've gone through these types of issues with my children I've been fortunate because we have the resources to get what is needed. There must be so many children who fall through the cracks because their parents can't navigate the system.

  32. God bless you all. It sounds like you have so much on your shoulders right now. Fight for your girl! If the school system won't do it, do whatever you need to do to get her the help. She is too precious to have any self doubt. She is marvelous!!! Poor Harry. I will be praying for all of you. God will help, just hang in there the best you can.
    Much love sent to you all from Alabama.

  33. I have dyslexia - not badly enough to ever get extra help. At least that was the diagnosis in the 70s. My Dad has it and my younger brother has it. My brother was sent to a special school - Churchill here in St. Louis - for 3 years or so. We were at a small private school that did not have any resources to help him with the dyslexia so my parents sent him elsewhere. My Dad never received any help at all. I still run into difficulties occasionally. I don't know my right from my left. I graduated from a private high school and then from college and have been an art director/designer for 16 years or so. My dad and brother are commercial airline pilots. My Dad also got his law degree in his 40s and is still in school now at 72. He loves to learn. He has trouble with a few types of learning and is determined to master them - like foreign language, etc.. The Churchill School helped my brother a lot. Even back in the late 70s. It was a great decision on my parents part. I think dyslexia was a new diagnosis back then. I'm sure I would have benefited with some extra help. Just learning how to think around the dyslexia. I think I ended up teaching myself and figured it out as I went along. I thank my lucky stars daily for spell check!

    We also have a child adopted from China. She is in first grade. I know how much I want her to succeed and do well. I hate to see her struggle with anything. It just kills me. I really feel for you. I can just put myself right into your shoes. Sounds like your determination is going to pay off and Kate will get all the help she needs. I'm saying a prayer and I really hope things get easier for you all soon!

  34. Oh Paige .. my hear aches for you! Please know that you and your beautiful family are continually in my prays. xo

  35. oh Paige .. my heart aches for you. Please know that you and your beautiful family are continually in my prays. xo

  36. I am praying for your family! I would be furious at the school too...

  37. Hi Kim -

    I discovered your blog a couple months ago, but have never commented before. It looks like you have already gotten so many encouraging words, but I wanted to encourage you as well. My 4-year-old son has autism, so we have gone through the difficult process of dealing with our public school system. In our state, there are organizations that offer advocates free-of-charge who are trained in the laws and know what your school is required to offer. We had an adovocate with us at our very first meeting, and I think that a) it really helped us as parents to know that we had someone there on our side, and b) it let the school know that we were serious and determined and we would not be pushed around. I know of parents who have hired lawyers if they felt that even with an advocate, they still were not able to get what they needed or what was required by law. While we are mostly pleased with what our school has provided for us so far, he is still in pre-K, so I know that this might change as he gets older. Also, as you already know, early intervention for anything is always best, so we also do private therapies as well. My husband works extra so that we can provide for this, as insurance companies in our state are not required to pay for therapies related to autism - hopefully for your situation that is not the case.

    One of the things that has kept me coming back to your blog is seeing what an intentional mother you are and how devoted you are to your children. It is inspiring! Always remember that you know what is best for your children and trust your intincts. Your family is in my prayers.


  38. I haven't read the other comments so forgive me if I'm repeating something that has already been said. I hate to say it, but you need an attorney. I lived through my dearest friend suing her school district -- and winning -- and the law is on your side.

    If you don't have it in you to fight, then seek out private therapy. Although, I don't know how the school can't accommodate dyslexia. It's not going to go away so you need their help so Kate can learn how to work with it. Even universities accommodate dyslexia for goodness sake.

  39. oh Kim I know that feeling ...that mama bear feeling :) Lucy didn't get into the LAP reading program at our school until first grade, and then automatically qualified for it in second grade...could that be the case with your school...that they will "qualify" this kindergarten year for next?? Yes, questions and questions until you get the answers and results YOU fell are suitable...sending lots of hugs and prayers to sweet Harry..xo

  40. We dealt with this with J4 all the way through school, although he was never defined as dyslexic, just "undefined reading and processing disorders" at the end of 1st grade. We probably didn't do as much as we should have, but he did go to tutoring for many years. Everyone advocated "more practice" but as someone who has a big black hole where math skills should be, I could completely sympathize with how difficult that was for him--I sure wouldn't like to struggle with math all day in school (since you need reading for everything) and then do a bunch of math problems after school, too. He had an IEP and accommodations for years, some that were followed, so that were not. He really made good progress on reading when we bought him a laptop because he liked using it and began to read a lot more. He also figured out how to read well enough to get by--I think it was similar to how I read French. I don't know every word, but I understand enough to get the gist of it. Here's what I wish we'd done differently--we have a great public school system. We are an IB world system from K-12 and both my girls got the diploma. I was scared to move from the security of "they have to accomodate him, it's the law and we have rights" to a private school, but that would've been the best thing for him. By the time he graduated, his self confidence was in the toilet. He was stuck with a label he could never escape, he never got to be in classes with his friends, and he just felt like he was stupid and didn't fit in with his peer group. I made the mistake in middle school of not pushing to put him in the accelerated groups, because although he had problems performing, he was smart enough to do it and I think it would've been beneficial to be with a group that was pushing him. Instead he was in classes with kids who didn't care, never did their homework and never tried, so he didn't either. So no matter what services you eventually get, you can't depend on your school to take care of it completely. J4 didn't always tell me a lot of what was going on, but maybe you will be able to get more out of Kate so you can keep abreast of what it happening. A lot of things happened because I just didn't know about it. J4 finally graduated with barely at 2.0 gpa, got into a state college and is studying art. We'll see how he does his first semester...we really don't know how things are going, but I pray that his confidence in himself is growing. I'm really sorry you will have to deal with this--this is something that is not going to go away no matter how much you do. And I do remember that heartbreaking question that J4 asked when he was about 10..."Mom, am I ever going to learn to read?" The answer really is....maybe not like everybody else does, but we'll do everything we can to help you read well enough to succeed in your life.

  41. Hi Kim,
    I dropped your an email on facebook...
    much love,

  42. Maybe check out Brain Balance. I hate to think you have to pay out of pocket for what you should be entitled to within your district. You always want to think that your district wants the very best for your child and their success in school. It seems because of budgets being cut districts are not as willing to provide ANYTHING that cost them any additional monies if they do not have too....yes it is WRONG!!!

    I am so sorry and I know you will find the best possible solution for Kate.
    I have dyslexia and when I was in second grade I spent the summer going to Lab school at the local university and then 3rd grade I went with a reading specialist. They gave me the "tricks" and coping skills to deal with reading. I was on level by the start of 4th grade. That was 30+ years ago. So I am certain that there are GREAT places you can find that will get your sweet girl reading quickly.

    Can you request an IEP at her school??

    Wishing you peace and guidance in all that you have on your plate right now!!

  43. Oh Kim! I'm so sorry! As you know, our Isabelle has had her fair share of reading issues. It blew my mind how "below" the norm she had to be to qualify, but Isabelle did qualify, so I didn't have the fight on my hands that you do. And I was still so very exhausted by it all :(
    You are Kate's mama for a reason, and one of those reasons is your fierce love for her! You will prevail in whatever way she needs, I just know it :) God is with you, He won't let you down... just trust that He is there with you both, every step of the way. I struggled so much with my faith when Isabelle was going through a hard time but looking back I can see how He was carrying BOTH of us. I wish I had reveled in that LOVE instead of my own fear and heartbreak.
    Let me know if I can help in any way... will be praying for you, Kate and Harry!

  44. I found your blog today by accident or grace. My son was diagnosed with dyslexia and processing issues in Kindergarten too. Similar to your child, his IQ and coping strategies tested high, so our school district would not provide services, but did provide accommodations (extra - time to process is essential). My husband and I chose provide services out of our own pocket because we believed in early intervention. However, under LEAD - the federal law that protects all children with special needs, including the gifted - you might be able to demand services through your district. I want to reassure you that your child can do all the academic things all children can do, perhaps slower but just as successfully. My son is now 19; he graduated with honors and is a freshman at University studying pre-med. May God bless your sweet little girl and your entire family.

    1. Nina. THANK YOU. Your words soothed my worried and frazzled soul today. I am so glad you found us today. I feel armed with more information and more of a plan now.


  45. I am so sorry. As special education teacher I agree early intervention is so important for the child. In Florida we have to continue to provide interventions even if the student does not meet eligibility. It is all related to Response to Intervention (RTI). In Florida the special education teacher often provides that intervention to the student even if they are not special ed. Good Luck

  46. so sorry you are dealing with that frustration on top of other things.
    continuing prayers for harry!

  47. Kim, Request a 504 hearing. My daughter has psycological issues and is highly intelligent. We could not get the school district to cooperate until we requested a 504 plan. With a diagnosis of dyslexia if the plan is not made and put into effect the school district can lose their licensing. It will save Kate and protect her throughout her educational life. Email me if you have any questions.
    Kyndle Newton

  48. Kim, what a WEALTH OF INFORMATION you have in these comments. I love the bond we as mother's have found here in blogland. I have learned some valuable information in this post as well. Information I would NEVER have known otherwise. It makes me feel good that you have NOT ONLY MOTHERS who are going through these same issues, BUT TEACHERS who are advocating for your kate and ALL our kids!!

    Kim, you are a WONDERFUL Mom and I have NO DOUBT that you will fight for what is BEST for Kate. Don't let HISD intimidate you! Fight for your girl!!

  49. See below, especially #2, as it is THE LAW that the school district provide treatment! I would be livid, too! Prayers to you and your sweet family.

    Texas Education Code §38.003 (State Law)
    §38.003. Screening and Treatment for Dyslexia and Related Disorders

    1. Students enrolling in public schools in this state shall be tested for dyslexia and related disorders at appropriate times in accordance with a program approved by the State Board of Education.

    2. In accordance with the program approved by the State Board of Education, the board of trustees of each school district shall provide for the treatment of any student determined to have dyslexia or a related disorder.

    3. The State Board of Education shall adopt any rules and standards necessary to administer this section.

    4. In this section:

    “Dyslexia” means a disorder of constitutional origin manifested by a difficulty in learning to read, write, or spell, despite conventional instruction, adequate intelligence, and sociocultural opportunity. “Related disorders” includes disorders similar to or related to dyslexia, such as developmental auditory imperception, dysphasia, specific developmental dyslexia, developmental dysgraphia, and developmental spelling disability.

    Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 260, § 1, eff. May 30, 1995.

    1. are the best!!! I needed this and actually spent a good bit of today looking for it online. I am going to fight for Kate for sure!!!!!!

  50. I just wanted to commiserate. We are dealing with the same issues with our first year kindergartener. She was just tested in September. We've also been told that she doesn't qualify for services. We've enrolled in private therapy twice a week for starters..we know she needs more. I highly recommend finding an academic language therapist that utilizes any type of Orton-Gillingham program. I hope we both experience success with our girls throughout this process. Also, my oldest is a gymnast that started out like Kate..she has some mad skills!;-)

  51. Kim,
    My heart goes out to you. One of my kiddos needed help from the school and they refused because he was "too smart." We did a lot of our own outside testing and found that he had a lesion in his left temporal lobe the doctors believe is from a concussion he had from a minor fall on an icy puddle at age 4. The lesion is in the language area of his brain and impacts verbal/written language processing and output. He is a deep thinker but it takes him a bit longer to provide complex responses (both verbal and in writing). The minute the school heard the word "lesion" they immediately responded with help, though even that help was less than ideal and they came up with all sorts of reasons to not follow the suggestions of the neuropsychologist (which made her livid!). So, most of our help has come from sources outside of the school. Many suggest hiring an advocate to help you sort out what services are needed and to attend the meetings with the school if having you are having trouble dealing with the system on your own (what they suggested would be so inflexible and inane that it could frustrate me to the point of was just so maddening).

    I used to work at a school for children with dyslexia and other language-based learning disabilities. The children who went to this school were highly intelligent (I remember the words, "cream of the crop" mentioned once) but they needed something different than the standard public or private school approach. This school was an incredible, dynamic place full of talented, enthusiastic and teachers an amazing student body. I wish I could give you more information about their approach (lots of outward bound, confidence building, outdoorsy, nature kinds of things on top of great academics)but I worked there as a staff accountant and not as a teacher. Maybe you will find some useful information on their website:

    Gosh, I'm sorry that Harry is still experiencing those terrible headaches. It's been going on for years. Do they have any answers? Think of you all!

  52. Friend, I'm so sorry! It sounds like you have so much going on-I'm praying for you and your sweet family.

    I have a friend who was an ABA therapist and I know she said that you have to be the one to fight for your kids! If she has some sort of IEP in place already or your working on one you can tell them that you are not ok with it-you as the parent have to agree with services also. Praying it all works out! I know it will.


  53. Oh Kim, I feel for you right now... and understand your frustration and emotions. I will certainly be keeping your entire family in my prayers.

    That Kate wants to read seems such an innocent and simple request. I hope she knows that we all have gifts that come easily to us (like gymnastics!!)... and then others that take some more time and practice... but will come.

    I'm not worried about Miss Kate, she has two of the most loving parents and she is something special herself! This hurdle is just one more thing she will overcome!

  54. Kim my heart broke as I read this earlier tonight. I have a huge heart for kids with Dyslexia and ran a Dyslexia program for a couple years. I sent you a facebook message tonight too!

  55. In my master's program I am taking school law, and it's true that she doesn't necessarily qualify for an IEP or to be admitted to special needs yet-- is that what your school is saying? However, her primary teacher should be accommodating her and usually a school will have at least one literacy specialist and/or coach who will work with kids! Those are the kinds of services I am surprised the school wasn't already implementing if she's repeating and not reading. Ask about your school's Response to Intervention program (RTI)-- she should be receiving tier two interventions with that diagnosis. Additionally, you could request a 504 hearing. If the school won't admit her into special needs, that might be ok, but they should have supports in place aside from that!

  56. so sorry about this, kim. but, i know kate will learn to read and how to cope with her struggles because you are her best advocate!! i agree with what others have said, keep fighting, calling, emailing, etc. once the school/principal/superintendent realizes you are serious they usually will make an exception. public schools should be services all kids, and you shouldn't have to make an exception, but that is our reality. especially if you have a teacher who is specialize/trained in dyslexia! good grief!

  57. I taught both of our little China dolls how to read from a book called "Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Lessons". It's a very different way of teaching reading, put together by U of I professors. It's not expensive. You could probably find it on eBay. You could try teaching her at home through this publication. I haven't known of anyone who didn't find success with it. I will warn you, though, that you'll be 2/3 of the way through the book and thinking it's not going to work. Then, by the time you reach the end of the book they are reading at 2nd grade level. It's A-mazing! Worth a try.

  58. It is unbelievable! I am a special education teacher and, in Virginia, she would have been provided the appropriate accommodations and modifications either through an IEP or a 504 plan. There is a significant discrepancy with 25 it in reading?

  59. Hi Kim,

    I tried to comment three times yesterday from my phone and it would not go through, but you have been on my mind since then. While reading this post I felt like I was reliving what I went through with Nick when he was diagnosed with dyslexia. Just keep fightiing for what you believe is right for Kate...... our school also said they could not help us, so I went out on my own to get him the help that he needed. The first few years of school were extremely difficult for him, he did not learn like the other kids. Like Kate, he did a lot of memorizing..... it is there way of overcompensating. I was told that a lot of kids that are dyslexic do that. They have fabulous listening skills to make up for what they have trouble decoding when they are reading. I know you have had a lot of wonderful suggestions and advice here, but what helped us with the Wilson Method!!! If you need help or more advice feel free to reach out. I will be thinking of you and Kate...... and Harry too!!! Oh gosh, you have so much going on right now.



  60. HI Kim,
    First off, I am so sorry you're dealing with all of this. Prayers for whatever is going on with Harry.

    I am a teacher in Wisconsin and I can tell you you are entitled to services by federal law. It is probably true that if Kate is doing well at this time she will not qualify for an IEP because currently her disability is not adversely impacting her educational performance. She does qualify for a Section 504 plan.

    The district has a 504 coordinator-find out who that person is. Your school district is required to provide reasonable accommodations and classroom modifications to ensure that Kate has the same opportunity to learn as she would if she didn't have dyslexia.

    Please research this. If the District does not cooperate you are entitled to a due process hearing or you can file a complaint with the Office of Civil Affairs. Your district should be able to provide you with the name of a parent advocate that works with families-ask them.

    If I recall Kate is repeating Kindergarten? If this is true then that is the reason she is doing well. Obviously she was having academic difficulties at one time or you would not have chosen to have her repeat. The fact that she is doing well now shows that modifications (pace of instruction, more time to complete work, etc.) help her to have success.

    Please feel free to email me if I can be of any help and good luck!

  61. Hi-
    I have never commented before but I love your sweet family. Sadly, your experience echos our past experience. Dyslexia is not funded by the Federal Government. Your school district is under no obligations to provide services. Yes, it is awful. A kid has to fail in the classroom before interventions can be put in place. You can push for a 504 but not an IEP. Our solution is a private Language Therapist. We homeschool our sweet girl now. Her therapist comes once a week and leaves materials for daily work. It has been such a blessing. I know how to help her now! She works daily without summer holiday or other interruptions. She has worked so hard and is now reading on grade level. She was spending so much energy on trying to "fit in" all day that it would have been hard to do the intense therapy and regular school all day. Contact for a certified Academic Language Therapist.

  62. I really don't have any advice. I can only imagine how frustrating this must be. Let the school board know they have met their match and fight for her. xoxo

  63. I taught middle school aged kids with the exact issues Kate is facing: smart kids with dyslexia and information processing disorders. I worked at a private school that specialized in teaching kids with those disabilities. Some parents were able to get their school districts to fund their children attending the school (it's ridiculously expensive to go there. Over $50K per year) and other sent their kids there and paid for it themselves because their districts weren't doing enough. I am absolutely livid for you that the school district isn't willing to do anything to help her. You are absolutely right that the sooner she gets services for this, the better off she will be. A lot of kids with LD's are extremely smart, but they learn in a different way and need to be taught differently. I've seen kids who came to our school and hadn't had much help beforehand and they were really, really behind. It breaks my heart that she's aware of the fact that she can't read and should be able to. All I can really tell you is to continue being a huge pain in the butt to the school district until they do something, maybe get a lawyer involved. Honestly, I thought that if a child got diagnosed with an LD, they need to have an IEP in place (which includes meetings with teacher, parents, etc. so discuss what goes in it) for accommodations including resource room if needed. She shouldn't just be falling through the cracks when she has a diagnosed LD. I'm so sorry you guys are going through this and I pray Kate gets some services soon.

    If you have any questions about things you can do with her at home or anything like that, please feel free to email me. I worked with older kids, but I might be able to help. Missie1284 at gmail dot com

  64. Kim, I have been reading your blog for over a year now. I love reading your articles. You are amazing Mom!

    I have a slight different take on Kate's Dyslexia diagnosis. I think Kate’s problem could be a part of her Chinese DNA. I was born and raised in Mainland China. My family moved to the US when I was 15, and I have lived in Houston for more than 20 years now. The Chinese people learn to read in a different way than people in the rest of the world. As a language, Chinese is not phonetic-based at all. The Chinese people learn to read by memorizing each character, one character at a time. It is possible that such a practice is embedded in the DNA of the Chinese people, and the Chinese brain is wired differently.
    I remember when I first started elementary school, every day my homework was to memorize about 30 new Chinese characters (by copying each character over and over again). One learns to recognize a Chinese character through memorization. That is how I learned English as well (since I didn’t speak English, I had to memorize each English word, one word at a time). Today when I read in English, I still don’t sound the words out the way that Americans do. I mean that at this point I understand how the phonetic system works in English perfectly. But because of the way that I was taught to read in Chinese, I read the same way in English, through recognizing each word one by one. Even as I am typing now, I don’t sound each word out. I write by knowing the spelling of each word. Sure, at the beginning I was a slow reader in English. But today my reading speed is normal. If someone had run a test on me before my reading speed caught up, I might be diagnosed with dyslexia as well.
    I am not saying that you shouldn’t get additional help for Kate. Her situation may be different from a “normal” Chinese child. I am just encouraging you to allow her to “read” by memorizing each word. After all, that is how billions of Chinese people learn how to read. Maybe that is the best learning method for her.
    As I mentioned earlier, I also live in Houston, and I have two children (a 8-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old son who is also in kindergarten). My email is Feel free to send me an email if you want to talk offline.


  65. IEP Mediator or Attorney It makes all of the difference in the world. Investigate FAPE laws. (Fee appropriate public education) You have options.

    I don't know what's going on with the other peanut and while I'm trying not to speculate, I think you should know that there are also medical education plans.

  66. Hey there.............There is a book and it may help you and help Kate. It is called The Gift of Dyslexia. Also I have a struggling reader and he is 10 and is just now reading chapter books.I have heard that letting them read on the Kindle with a color back ground and white or black font helps too when they have dyslexia. Also books on CD where she can follow along in her book too and listen to them read aloud.When you read aloud to her have your finger under the word you are reading. My mother n law is a retired Teacher and has her masters degree and was a reading specialist. She said most kids learn by sight reading like 80% and the other 20% learn phonetically. There is a program I use with my boys called Explode the code online. This may help her a bit being and it is on the computer. Hope this helps a little. Sorry to ramble on. So sorry the school is being so difficult.

  67. OK, lots of thoughts. I am not a certified teacher, just a homeschooling Momma who has learned a lot the hard way!

    First, take a deep breath and have those good cries. I've had to do this plenty!

    Second, how old is Kate? 6? PLEASE READ this book:

    I know that doesn't negate her learning differences, but honestly I was convinced our 7YO son had autism in China (we met him at 5). He doesn't. If he did, all was going to be OK, but thank goodness, DH was there and my voice of reason. I might have been a bit panicked and irrational!

    Now, this same little boy who last year was still struggling with letter sounds is READING. He turned 7 in June and his reading has just very recently taken off. I decided about 9 months ago to just take a chill pill and give him more time. I am so glad I did. Now I don't mean I quit reading to him or quit working on phonics with him, but I stopped worrying.

    OK, so DD, also 7 this month, is reading but I wonder about her b/c she still flips letters like b and d when reading. Hmmm? But again, I am just watching this b/c several professionals have assured me (and my limited research) has confirmed that this is very normal for her age.

    Third, on the IEP, do NOT walk away if you are not satisfied. Have you had an official IEP meeting? If not, ASK FOR ONE ASAP. And do not go alone. A mediator is a great idea or at least someone to go with you. If you know a Mom of a child with something like Down's or autism who has been in the system Kate is in, they would be a great resource. I guarantee you these Moms have had to go to battle before for their DC. CALL THEM, EMAIL THEM, reach out. Most if not all of them would be glad to help you with steps going forward.

    And about that IEP, I learned as I went. I learned that you do NOT have to sign the part where it says "no services recommended at this time" if you do not agree with that. And if you've already signed something like that, it is OK. Just call for another meeting and present the reasons why your feelings have changed. You are a PART of her IEP team and an EQUAL member, so hang tough and let them know you will not back down.

    I know exactly what you mean on the $$$ issue. I had that happen to one of our DC as well. His teacher who wanted to refer him for speech told me as much off the record. He is our first and I had no clue I could push back, so I didn't. To this day I regret that. He could still use speech help, but he is 14 and does NOT want any. ARGH. Why didn't I push harder when he was in 3rd grade??? So, don't give up if your Momma gut tells you Kate needs some assistance from the school.

    I could write more, but I'll stop there. I would suggest you work with her at home on basic phonics. Just go all the way back to C-A-T and go from there. Here are a couple of ideas:

    AlphaPhonics (available on Kindle or in book form) (do not get kindle version; I did and can't read the tiny charts which are most helpful!) (my 7YOs love these fun phonics tools I made for FREE! might be fun for Kate to play/learn with too)

    I hope some of my ramblings help. Please know you are doing the right thing by following your gut. YOU KNOW KATE best!!!

  68. I guess it is different state by state...but for some reason, I thought EACH school distict was MANDATED to provide special services to children when they turn three years old. Until the age of three, it was up to the county. I know it works that way up here (PA). I had a friend who chose to use their health insurance to get her son the help he needed (but it was very limited in what it would cover). He is in the 5th grade now and receives help in school and outside of school. His diagnosis lies somewhere on the autistic spectrum. Early help is so important. We went through it with Lilly regarding her speech and once she turned three, the school district took over (except during summers). I will keep you guys in my thoughts...

  69. Stay strong and still. The answers will come to you!!! xo

  70. Kim, I'm so sorry for all that you have going on and to have to deal with this too all will be in my prayers!!

  71. You are getting such great advice. I know you will find the best way to be Kate's advocate. Don't give up....sometimes you have to be unpopular and fight the system. Go to the top and if that doesn't work go to their boss and so on. Thinking of you! Hope Harry is adjusting ok.

  72. I will be praying for you family. Also, just wanted to say that Kate is REALLY good at gymnastics!!!! I would say well above average! What a great sport for her... I have a daughter who has done competitive cheerleading (lots of tumbling) for the past 5 years and it's such a great confidence builder for girls! Gymnastics teaches so many great lessons!

  73. love and prayers to you and kate for kate's schooling needs. just catching up and reading some older posts. am confident that, as time goes on, you will learn how to steer the school/others to the right path...donna

  74. Oh Kim, I am so sorry. When it rains, it pours.
    Yes, you know that Early Intervention is key. This is all about Least Restrictive Environment and as a teacher, myself, it kills me. I am all about LRE when the parents do not want services, but if they want help - by all means, they should get it.
    I wish you great success with this. Kate is a lucky girl to have you as her main advocate. I did my thesis on Dyslexia, and a hands on approach is going to be very beneficial.
    Is she getting reading support? Is she below grade level in reading? I still can't believe this. It's horrifying that there are public servants that can sleep at night knowing they are denying a child of additional support.
    Thank you for sharing with us.
    I hope Harry made out well, also!


Thank you for your kindness.