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I was labeled “stupid.” Left to my own devices by a failing school system and society there was nothing to do but prove the title given to me wrong. What did I do you ask? I fought back. I took ownership of and honored myself for who I am. What I eventually discovered was not stupid but a more intelligent, resourceful, creative, and hardworking person than the system ever gave me credit for having. You see I have dyslexia and because of the label placed on me, I would not be the person I am today.

I was so excited that I could hardly sleep. All night I lay in bed going through the possibilities of what my first day of school might hold. I had my new lunch pail. My brand new all metal lunch box was all packed with the “Partridge Family” proudly sing out of their techno colored bus on the outside. I was sure this super cool lunch box was going to be the coolest thing preschool had ever seen.

I even had new clothes laid out on the chair by my Mom. That with combination of pre-school glamor almost had me convinced that taking Mousey, my oldest stuffed animal friend, for ‘Show and Tell’ was just the bomb.

It was only half a day, but it didn’t matter dammit. I got to walk down to the bus stop with my two older cousins, who barely paid any attention to me anyway, but again who cared! I got to ride a very “second grade looking” yellow bus to school, and maybe I might meet some new friends. I was very cool with all of this, be damned the consequences.The next morning I wore a smile along with my new clothes as I proudly walked to the bus stop with my older cousins.

Many parents assume public schools will provide the adequate testing and education for children with dyslexia. Wading through public school bumbledom is hard enough and can sometimes add to children feeling inadequate or stupid.

Trying to secure proper attention for kids that are labeled “stupid” need extra help is often impossible. This means children with disabilities fall even further behind. Most schools are understaffed and ill-equipped to administer individual evaluations. Even if the child is allocated for special education, he or she will typically be taught in a group of children with widely ranging learning challenges, making targeted and specific treatment for dyslexia unlikely.

I want educators and public school administrators to know that all kids are bright and intelligent. I want parents of a child with dyslexia to become advocates for change. Get a private sector evaluation early. Use Federal Guidance Publication on dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia. Connect with your State Decoding Dyslexia Group. Know and use the Federal Education Law (ESSA). Know your rights and your child’s rights. All kids are excited to learn!

Lori Bogedin

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