Dyslexia

Day 365…

Wow, New Year ’s Eve is here, and I know I say it every year, and in fact every month, but time seems to be going faster and faster.  What say you? Do you feel the same way?

Like any year, 2013 has had ups and downs, but I have high hopes for 2014!

In a quick review, the big thing for us was finding out that Max has Dyslexia and Dyscalculia.  This has changed our whole approach to Max’s education, and has made a huge difference to Max.  We appreciate his strengths and gifts so much more now and are constantly thinking about and trying to be creative with helping him with the whole reading, writing and ‘rithmatic side of things.

For the first few months of the year I really struggled with full time work and home and family and felt that I wasn’t doing anything well and all people and areas of my life were missing out.  I kept wishing and praying for big change that would take the need for action out of my hands!  As they say, be careful, you might get what you wish for! Change came, but I don’t think it was what I was after! My work went through a merger, whilst not disastrous, it was a really difficult time with lots of uncertainty and questioning if this is what I want to choose to do (and I do get a bit narky when choice is taken away from me!).  Change is a bit like parenting – you can offer all the advice you want and think you know what people are going through, but until you go through it yourself you really don’t know what you are talking about!! After a long 6 months, we are coming through the other end of it, but I am still questioning what it is that I want to do with my life!  I am sure that answer will come one day…

Just before we went through the merger at work I had dropped work to 4 days a week and that has been fantastic.  It has made such a difference to me and our little household.  It has given me time to breathe, time to research, time to clean and wash clothes, and time to focus on our family.

I have plenty to be thankful for in 2013.  I am so thankful for our discoveries with Max (or should I say…dys-coveries…boom tish!). I talk about this a lot with other parents at school and in our general community and there are so many parents desperate for help with their children that are experiencing learning difficulties.  I could go on for hours, but whilst our school is good and we are happy with it, you really need to put in so much help as and initiate so much action as parents. So that is my band wagon for the moment.

I am also grateful that we have put all parts in place to finally renovate our house in the coming year (albeit on a shoe string budget).

I am grateful for a wonderful friends and family that have shared our 2013 and been part of our lives.

 

I am looking forward to so much in 2014.

  • I am looking forward to finally making our house much more liveable and really improving our lifestyle.
  • I am looking forward to a good year at school for Max which will involve LOTS of maths tutoring.
  • I am looking forward to an exciting start to high school for Ed and hope he has a great year (because year 6 was quite average for him).
  • I am looking forward to a great year 4 for Arch where he will actually try and stretch himself at school (hmmm).
  • I am looking forward to a new baby joining our broader family.
  • I am looking forward to an art class I have booked into for Feb and other creative plans that I have for the year.
  • I am looking forward to living more in the moment and being mindful and appreciating what I have.

So that is my quick year in review and hopes and dreams for 2014.

What about you?

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what a fraud…

People often say to me “your kids are so lucky to have you as a Mum”. This is usually when I talk about what research I am doing and meetings I am having at school for Max and his dyslexia and dyscalculia. Or when I am talking about Ed and what I am doing to ignite his passions and capture his imagination. Or with Arch… I actually don’t know what I say about Arch or do for him, but he is pretty cute.

I am not saying this because I think I am a shit hot parent, but because I feel like a fraud. You don’t see me when I am tired and grumpy and get cranky at them for every little thing. Or say something to them that really needs to go in the bad parenting book (that is one thick book at my house people). Or just say ‘NO’ to everything purely because I cannot be bothered with the effort that goes with saying ‘yes’.

I do a lot of research on behalf of my children. I draw up charts of what they should be doing, and when they should do homework, practice music and develop their skills in artistic pursuits. But it really does stop there. I don’t get around to the actual ‘doing’ of it. I know my kids should be doing more activities (because we do none, not a one, zilch), but I like them hanging about all day Saturday in their pj’s. And I like not having plans on a weekend. Or after school.

I am the master of giving my kids a guilt complex. I think about when I am old and what my kids will say about me. I think it will be…’my Mum could make me feel so guilty that all she had to do was look at me in a disappointed way…’ And that was me tonight when I felt that one, or all, children did not appreciate me sufficiently. I did manage to make one tear up when I made him feel that perhaps he wasn’t valuing my skills in the home or workplace. And really, why should he give a shit about my skills in the workplace? Now that my friends, is a real skill!

So when friends or people at work say to me “He is so lucky to have you as a Mum”, I feel so guilty and point out to them that they don’t see all the terrible things that I do as a mother and they only hear the things that I am willing to put out there publicly…
Does anyone else do this or feel this way, or is it really just me who should be putting these things in the ‘bad mother book’? I might make some money from that book one day…either that, or go to jail…

full as a goog…

Wow my head has been full lately (which has made me absent from my beloved blog). Full of what? There are a few people (who may or may not be related to me) who would say ‘not much’!

But it’s true. My head is full.

Full of dyslexia and dyscalculia – so much time spend researching and trying to create ways to help him learn and show him that he has an ability rather than a disability).

Full of meetings with teachers and working out plans for the next year.

Full of work and going through a merger that leaves me see-sawing between ‘this sucks’ and ‘this will be great’. I’m sitting on the fence at the moment.

Full of trying to work out ways to get our house renovated before it falls down around our ears.

Full of trying to instil in the boys how important it is to have goals and be working towards something. Anything.

Full of just trying to get the boys ready for school before I go to work.

Full of working out how to fulfil my own personal goals and feed my creative outlets and needs.

Full of trying to get a vegie patch going that I haven’t looked at for 3 weeks.

Full of trying to be an involved mother who is creating memories and a strong value base within my children.

Full of trying to get the motivation to start exercising and lose weight (this is on my mind more than I would like. It looks like I will actually have to exercise! OMG).

Full of worrying about those 3 boys, and their health, wellbeing and happiness.

So full, that sometimes I have to pull the plug and let it all empty out. I think that now is one of those times. Drain all the thinking, and let it just be…

Phew…

 

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^^^Time for another outing I think…

A couple of thoughts for the day…

You know, sometimes those annoying motivational and spiritual quotes strike a chord! Which I guess is what they are meant to do….

Anyway, two have really resonated with me this week, and I thought I would share them just in case they hit the right note with you too.

Ok, here they are….

Life does not need to be perfect to be wonderful

and

Talk about your blessings more than you talk about your burdens

I read the first quote on a blog by an American woman whose son suffered a brain injury rendering him incapacitated and something happened to her husband that made him go blind! I can’t remember the blog, but if I come across it again I will share it.

I also learnt something today. This morning I spoke at a morning tea at my children’s school about the path we have gone down in discovering our Max’s dyslexia and dyscalculia and the journey that this is taking us on. It reinforced to me that so many people are just desperate for help and advice about their children, and dyslexia in particular. Australia is so far behind the rest of the world in this space. Autism and Asperger’s are the condition’s that everyone knows about and gets the funding, and I feel that is to the detriment of dyslexia and other related learning disabilities (that’s just my opinion, so if you disagree, that’s fine, but I don’t really want to hear about it ba ha ha ha ha).

Anyway, that is my gem for today.

My Wednesdays…

A couple of months ago I changed from working full time to having Wednesdays off.  Oh, I love it!  In preparation for all of the extra time I would have, I bought canvasses to paint, fabrics to sew, and glass to mould in my kiln. I had dreams of spending the day taking photos, having a tidy and calm house, and feeling refreshed for the rest of the week. The projects I had in mind, oh the projects! Did I mention my vegie patch? And the exercise, all the exercise I was going to get. The possibilities…

The reality?

Well, I still adore Wednesday. Love it, LOVE it.

I do vaguely clean the house and do the washing (must go and put another load in right now).  And I do re-establish a sense of calm and order to our home and family. I generally get dinner organised early, and make a nice after school snack for the kids.

I try to work on my blog, and research ways of taking it further, as well as continuing my ongoing research into dyslexia and dyscalculia for our Max.

I even bought some great exercise gear from Geometry Active Wear (it is brilliant – really holds everything in!).

BUT…I haven’t taken any photos for ages, my fabric is untouched (and I have some great orange fabric for cushions in there!), my glass has not been taken out of the box, my kiln is cold, and my canvass is still stashed behind the chair in my bedroom. Vegie patch? Non-existent.

And today Arch is sick, so no school for him.  Instead I am sharing my day off with him, and taking him to the Doctor.

But I am patient.  I know my time will come. And when that time does come, I will be ready!

 

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^^^We are hanging out for warm days again…^^^

What a boy…

Max really makes me laugh…without even meaning to!

Max hates sport at school. Every Monday morning he gets a stomach because he knows he has sport. Once a term I allow him to get out of sport by writing him a note saying he has a sore foot. Funny how he gets a sore foot once a term.

He has used his “get out of sport” pass early this term, so he knows he had to do it.  And good lord he moans about it.

Because of my slovenly house keeping, he could not find any sports socks. I couldn’t help him because I was on my way to work (hence the slovenly house keeping). When it came to doing sports today, he went up to his sports teacher and told him he couldn’t find any white socks this morning, so just wore his grey school socks.

Sports teacher told him that because he was out of uniform he had to copy down the school code of ethics (or something boring like that). Max wouldn’t have been too bothered by this as it cut into sports time. Win win.

But bless that boy, do you know what he did???

He said to his teacher ‘Sorry, I have dyslexia, so I can’t copy stuff out of a book’….
So he only had to do the headings and could go on his merry way!!

Who on earth thought Max would work the system? I laughed and laughed!

Passions…

In my last blog I prattled on about how great I felt that I had found my children’s passions. And I still do feel pretty good about that.

But what about our passion as adults?

I was talking with a girl friend who wants to make some sort of change in her life (& income earning ability).  I asked her what her passion was, and she didn’t know.

Many of us don’t know what our passion is, but I think that deep down we all have passions. This is over and above the passion that we have for our family of course.

I have many passions.  I have core passions that are always there. These are writing, photography, and creative pursuits. Then I have fluctuating passions that come and depending upon which stage of my life I am in.  At the moment, I am passionate about researching dyslexia and dyscalculia and promoting research and knowledge in the areas that can effect and help us in our pursuit of ensuring Max will have the same educational and career opportunities as anyone else.

But lately, I have been led to explore my passions further.  At a time of increasing and inevitable instability with my job as we go through a merger, I am exploring my passions further and trying to identify income earning opportunities with them.

I was inspired that other night talking with a talented artist friend (check out her blog here).  Several years ago, when our kids were little, she said “I want to illustrate books”.  Though she was already a skilled artist and qualified art teacher, she went and did an Illustration course through TAFE that took several years.  And guess what? She is now illustrating books as a career. This is her job, and she is busy with it, and she is loving it!

She followed her passion.

So, coming back to working out what your passion is.  Do you have a passion?  Is it something you do full time, when you have time, or you just dream about doing?

If you have trouble working out what your passion is, ask yourself this question….if you had a day to yourself with no other commitments and heaps of energy, what would you choose to do with your day?

I picture myself in a space of my own, working on editing photos, writing articles, blogs or whatever, with a painting I am working on sitting on an easel, and perhaps working on education projects for teachers shaped around dyslexia and dyscalculia where I can use my current career based skills, knowledge and abilities and huge HECS investment.

What about you?  What would you do with a day to yourself? Would you cook, write, visit friends, do charity work, take a meal to a sick friend or neighbour, play on the computer, renovate your house, work in the garden, plan family activities, spend time with your animals, do crosswords and sudoku puzzles, read books about science, research medical break throughs….what would you do?

When you really answer this question, you are on the path to finding your passion…

 

Oh, as a side note, I am now a mother of a 14 year old…scary!!

And yes Mum, I checked my spelling.  If there are errors, consider them to be typos. x

Change is on the way…

Okay, so we are nearly 2 weeks on from finding out Max has dyslexia, dyscalculia and ADHD-Inattentive. What have we done so far?

We have put Max on vitamin supplements – a vitamin B blend, with zinc, magnesium and calcium, and a Focus blend. I am hoping this will help with the ADHD-inattentive side of things.

I have ordered tonnes of books. I have joined SPELD Vic (http://www.speldvic.org.au/), am in the process of joining ADA (http://www.dyslexiaassociation.org.au/), have signed him up to a daily online 10 minute tutor specially addressing dyslexia (http://www.thetenminutetutor.com/ ), I have spoken to a friend-of-a-friend whose son is dyslexic and she is studying a particular multi-sensory teaching approach, I have spoken to the Irlen Dyslexia Centre (http://www.dyslexiaservices.com.au/) and will probably take him there for an assessment, and have spoken to his school with a positive result.

Phew, I am exhausted.

Has anything changed? Yes, I believe so…

I am more informed. We are feeling more comfortable with the path forward. Max is relieved. His brothers keep talking up how smart dyslexics are (think Richard Branson, Steve Jobs and Da Vinci). We are also more organised with his school work.

Max’s science teacher rang me this morning. She started with “I just wanted to ring you and tell you about something Max did in class today…”. My heart dropped. I have had this phone call before. She then continued with “I am so proud of him”. I was in shock for a moment. She rang to tell me how she had given the class an assessment task due in 2 weeks. Max worked so hard in that double period of science that he submitted his work. She said she watched him in class and could not believe how hard he worked. He was a different child.

Our wonderful babysitter Barb told us how when she picked him up from school last week, he was a totally different child (I see a theme happening!). He was so full of news as to how the school is helping him and what he can do, he couldn’t get his words out fast enough.

I received an email from his History/Geography teacher about how Max is concentrating in class and sitting himself in better focussed positions in the classroom with appropriate company.

So, while we have a long way to go, and I am prepared for ups and downs, things are looking good!

Oh this boy…

This boy of mine…he is a teenager (just), he is gentle and kind, and oh so creative.  He loves animals and babies, and they love him. He always has a collection of creatures, and animals follow him like the pied piper.  He is a dreamer and a dream child. This boy has a gift. As it turns out this week, we also found out he has dyslexia, dyscalculia and ADHD-Inattentive Type.

Boy oh boy…

It was a bit take to in.  It explains so much.  And changes everything. I think he is relieved.  There is a reason…

I have read so much this last 4 days.  I have spent so much money at Book Depository (eek). And I have learnt so much.

He wants to show me what he has learnt at school today.  As I find myself saying “No, just tell me”, I change.  I change to “Ok, SHOW me”.  And I can tell I am changing, and appreciating the beauty of this boy.

And appreciating this gift.  This gift of dyslexia.

 

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