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Volume 4 • #1 • Jan. 2005


I was going to start this out by wishing my readers a Happy New Year, but by now the greeting has become so mechanical, and such a large percentage of my readers are seriously unhappy, that it seemed - well, even a little bit tasteless.

Yeah, happy new year. My kid can’t read, hates school, teased all the time, depressed, gonna be held back a year, hard to handle at home, can’t add two and two, spell cat, nobody knows what in the name of common sense is wrong, put him on ritalin which only made him sick, --- and I’m supposed to be happy???? Right.

That’s the philosophical parent. Then there is the guilt-ridden parent.

Don’t wish me a happy new year. I am absolutely desperate. I have home-schooled my kid for three years because his school was making him miserable, and he still can’t read. I’m failing my own child. He is so depressed he thinks he can’t do anything and now he won’t even try anymore. I can’t let him go on this way but I don’ t know what to do. Forget happy new year. Just tell me what to do.

Before I wish anybody a happy anything, I have at least one important message for the guilt-ridden parent. GET OFF YOUR OWN BACK. You are NOT STUPID, you are NOT A FAILURE. Furthermore, you are not responsible for the wiring pattern in his brain that is giving him fits. You wouldn’t feel guilty if he were color blind, couldn’t carry a tune in a paper bag, was retarded from anoxia at birth or had a spot in his brain that was giving him epilepsy.

Another thing. There isn’t a school in the world that I have seen that will get any better results than you are getting. And they have professional teachers and SPED money , fifty different programs that are supposed to work and years to work with him . If they can’t fix him up with all that, how are you supposed to do it?

You, at least, are trying to find something that will work. Schools don’t even do that. The treatment for dyslexia has been around since 1977, published in the Journal of Learning Disabilities, and the science behind the technique has been published more recently a zillion times in neurological journals. You, at least, are trying to find something. Schools aren’t even looking. If you direct the linguistic training your kid needs to the left hemisphere where it can teach him to read, he will. If you send the linguistic training to the whole brain as all schools still do, he will not. Try it. And next year, maybe I can wish you a Happy New Year, because you will already have had one.

Teaching Tip:

You already know about what to say when the student makes a mistake. You say, “Gotcha!” If the mistake is one in which he has broken a spelling rule, like pronouncing a C like a K in front of an e, i, or y (look it up), you make a gesture of breaking a twig in half and announce that -- (oops!) -- he just broke a spelling rule. After that, all you have to do is to pretend to snap a twig. Diplomacy.

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