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Volume 2 #9 May
May is Mother’s
Day month, and this year the mothers of dyslectic children
are being stiffed twice, which makes the greeting of “Happy
Mothers’ Day” sound a little sick.
If my e-mail
is any indication, there are virtually no school departments
in the United States that either know that there is such
a thing as dyslexia, or if they do know, don’t know
what it is, or if they know what it is, don’t know
what to do about it, so they mostly do something ineffective.
Sometimes they put the kids in “resource rooms” or
in an “inclusion” program which cost a bundle
of taxpayers’ money, but don’t do the one thing
the kids need, which is to teach them to read.
So the kids languish
in misery (or often rage) for years. The mothers of such
kids are left with two alternatives: pay through the nose
for daily tutoring, assuming they can find a tutor, or
do it themselves. The latter is generally unsuccessful
because of the emotional baggage they carry from dealing
with both a failing child and a snippy school department.
The other thing that militates against having a parent
do the tutoring is that since dyslexia is inherited, the
mothers are often dyslexic themselves, sometimes without
even realizing it, and simply can’t do the teaching.
You can’t really teach somebody how to do something
if you have no idea how to do it yourself.
So the moms are
already stiffed once because the educational establishment
resists learning anything new and then blames the kids
(bad attitude, doesn’t try, acts up) for the teachers’ failures.
And the kids go through life with lacerated egos for something
they are not responsible for.
But why are the
moms stiffed twice in May? Because that is the time that
most school departments are developing their budgets, and
this year especially, virtually every school system in
the country is badly strapped for funds. Sometimes the
only things that make school life bearable for a dyslectic
student are art, music and drama. Interestingly enough,
the same is often true of your extremely bright student
who is bored with pedantic teachers and unimaginative courses.
(Why don’t I include sports on this list of things
that make life bearable? Because there are already millions
of people who will whoop it up for football. The arts don’t
have as many boosters. Besides, while it is true that sports
develop team work, orchestras and plays do, too. But there
is a difference: in sports, team work is used to whomp
somebody. In the arts, it is used to produce something
Art class, chorus
or a play rehearsal can be the one bright spot in the day
for the bright child in chronic academic trouble, and for
the humiliated kids who are destined to live lives forever
permeated with some degree of depression and low self-esteem,
arts provide a warmth that nothing else can. High school
athletes don’t go on playing football until they
are sixty, but an amateur artist or musician can keep right
on having fun with his hobby until he gives up the ghost.
I call any form of art in the hands of a cheerful amateur
So what is the
first thing to be eliminated from tight school budgets
in May? Art, music and drama. Go figure.
If you are using
the Reading from Scratch program, even with a child whose
handwriting looks like what my mother used to call hen-scratching,
you will find that writing improves without any extra exercises.
But I did have one little wiggler whose ovals were either
open at the top or so pointy that you couldn’t tell
what they were. I told him that I wanted all these letters
to look like jelly beans. If they were so pointy, they
would hurt if I bit into them. JELLY BEANS. It
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2003 - Vol. 2, #8
2002 - Vol. 1, #9
2003 - Vol. 2 #7
2002 - Vol. 1, #8
2003 - Vol. 2, #5
2002 - Vol. 1, #7
2002 - Vol. 2, #4
2002 - Vol. 1, #6
2002 - Vol. 2, #3
2001 - Vol. 1, #5
2002 - Vol. 2, #2
2001 - Vol. 1, #4
2002 - Vol. 2, #1
2001 - Vol. 1, #3
2002 - Vol. 1, #11
2001 - Vol. 1, #2
2002 - Vol. 1, #10
2001 - Vol. 1, #1