Sunday, July 10, 2016

Dyslexia Extravaganza!

Guess what!?!?!

Yep. I am a certified Barton Reading and Spelling TUTOR!!!!

It was a little nerve racking to go through the process. I had to teach Susan Barton herself in front of ten other people who were also being tested. The process took ALL DAY but I learned so much. Even if I didn't certify it was worth it, but I DID pass!!!

All the rest of the people there were working with schools or starting a tutoring practice. I was the only one who was just a homeschool mom wanting to make sure I was doing things right and wanting this:

Yep, a gold star sticker saying I wasn't messing up my family.

It turned out only half of us became certified.  I swear a few of them had not watched the training videos! Even though I've been doing this for 2 1/2 years, I had stayed up very late studying for a whole week I was so nervous.

But I was not done in my training. No no no. Watch out people, I am now a Dyslexia Consultant and Screener!! Boom yah!

I went to an INTENSIVE training seminar by none other than Susan Barton about Dyslexia and how to screen for it. It was an incredible experience to say the least, and these are just a few of the amazing things I learned:

*Dyslexia doesn't skip generations, and if you and your husband have it, ALL of your kids will. If one of you has it, there's a 50% chance with each child, and if neither one has it, none of your kids will.

*Special fonts, cursive, physical therapy (such as brain balancing exercises and eye tracking,) and diet do not affect dyslexia in any measurable way.

*Irlens syndrome (or scotopic sensitivity) is completely separate from dyslexia. With scotopic sensitivity, they have eye fatigue because of light, and THEY are the ones who feel like letters are moving. Dyslexics don't see letters move, but they do mix up the sequence of letters. For example:

You read that by changing around the sequence of the letters. They did not dance or move. Dyslexics are basically doing the above without meaning to. They're just trying to make sense of these arbitrary squiggles on the page in anyway they can.

*No school teacher is taught how to teach spelling. They are good at exposure of spelling, but not the "why" that dyslexics so desperately need.

*You can not teach a moderate-severe dyslexic child to read in a classroom setting. The most kids you can teach is 12 if they are ALL dyslexic, and only with a certain type of Orton Gillingham method. (Since almost everyone in the seminar was a teacher of some sort, I wonder how they felt about that!)

*Most schools do not know how to teach dyslexics. Even if a child gets one-on-one reading tutoring, they work on FLUENCY even though their testing of the child said they needed PHONEMIC AWARENESS.  This made me so completely frustrated!!!!

*The Dyslexic brain is physically different from the average brain. This will never change.

*The parts in the brain that light up when reading are different in a dyslexic brain. When an average person reads, three areas of the brain light up. The area in front is small and then it goes back to long term memory. In a dyslexic brain, it never leaves the front, and that part lights up exceptionally larger than the average person's.

*THIS CAN CHANGE! If a dyslexic person has gone through intense Orton Gillingham reading programs, their brain with start lighting up just like an average person's!

and last but not least....


I've always loved reading, but BAD at spelling, so I figured I had a dyslexic glitch, but that I didn't really have it. Susan Barton spelled out what mild dyslexia looks like (differently than her online video interestingly enough....) and it was like she was describing ME!

The first time I heard of dyslexia was from my grandma. She said she had it, but she was a published author. I just figured it was a glitch. I mixed things around spelling and when writing numbers all the time, so I figured I had the same glitch, but then Maxwell COULD NOT learn how to read no matter what I tried.

I knew he was dyslexic a bit when he couldn't tell the difference between his 6 and 9, but I could have known sooner by his delayed speech (he didn't really start talking until 2 1/2,) his excellent spacial reasoning skills and his absolute inability to rhyme.

"What rhymes with cat?"  "Kitten?"

So....where's the missing link?  My dad. Despite being an amazing husband and father and succeeding in life, my father has a poor self image and it's hard for him to admit faults.  Of course, I don't see dyslexia as a fault, but he does.

Of course, I, being the annoying and pushy daughter that I am, asked him if I could screen him as I was on my way home from Arizona.  He was the third person I have tried screening so far...

This didn't go over very good. My dad has lost a lot of his hearing, so I couldn't do it properly, and my family was very distracting. But I did find out that my uncle is severely dyslexic, and they never knew what to do for him. He might be reading at a second grade level even now. I don't know this uncle. I want to get to know him.

It was fascinating. As I was testing Dad I said "Words are made up of separate sounds such as "m" "ah" "t" make mat. What is the first sound?" and my dad get frustrated and says "I've always hated this. My brain doesn't work like that! It's not "m....ah....t" it's "mah....t." But I've just gone along with it, but it doesn't work with my brain."

Uhhh......can we say dyslexic!?! He practically diagnosed himself right then and there!

Now the question is....Is DUSTIN dyslexic?

If he is, 100% of our children will be dyslexic to some degree.

Tell me what you think:

U <3 I has been our symbol of love for a long time in our marriage. One time as newlyweds, Dustin had some glow in the dark paint that he painted on our ceiling as a surprize. He couldn't wait and said "Lindy, come in here and lay down." He turned off the lights, and I started laughing "U <3 I?" "Hu? what? Wait......oh no, you're right! I did it backwards!"

He didn't even notice that he did it backwards until I said something. Hahahaha.

How fitting that this is the motto for our 100% dyslexic family. We will all be amazing, but don't invite us to spelling bees!!!!

One of the funnest things about the conference was meeting people who totally understood this passion of mine, and who I could learn from too. Brenda and Christine specifically are my new best friends:

They were awesome, and they helped me as I prepared my gift for Susan Barton....all the sight word cards I had made over the years for the Barton system.  They took this little video of me explaining how to use them:

And I made a new website (that I haven't fancied up at all) so that there's a place where people can download the flash cards:

I have a dream of making this into a site that is a very helpful resource for dyslexic homeschoolers. Not right now. But it's coming.

Susan Barton ended up saying she wouldn't add my sight word cards to her tutor help page....Dustin said "Oh well, her loss. You will be the next Susan Barton....but better looking."  Hahaha I love that man.

But really, I have found my passion! I want to learn and accomplish!

A few days ago I went to a neighbor's house. Their son went to public school and could not learn to read. His self esteem was going down the toilet, so they took their whole family out and started homeschooling. The mom has had no idea what to do for her son to help him to read, but knew he needed to get his self respect back.

I went and talked to them about dyslexia and how to overcome reading difficulties. It was one of the most amazing experiences ever. I felt like I was making a difference, while teaching about something I'm so passionate about.

I told him how 50% of NASA are dyslexic and how over 50% of those in prison are dyslexic. So what's the difference? = How they think of themselves. Those in prison think "It doesn't matter how hard I try, so what's the point." They think they are dumb and a waist. But those in NASA know they are of worth. They know they have something to offer the world. They are going to prove it, and they know how to overcome hard things. Those are the people going to Mars.

I know it might sound odd, but I felt the spirit while I was saying all this and more, and I know it was not just me talking to this young man.

This is what I want to do!!!

Even now I want to start helping our elementary school (which I personally know does NOT have ANY dyslexic programs in place.) I want to help our district, I want to help ALBERTA! (btw....I am the FIRST certified dyslexia tutor in Orton Gillingham methods in ALL of Alberta!!!)

If anything happens to Dustin's income, I know what I want to do now, and I have the ability to.

By the way, we have been doing school this summer, especially after Arizona.

Even William has been doing some school:

Each one of my kids knew their letter sounds before they turned four. Even Hyrum:

Yet that did not mean they would learn reading easily.

We do Barton Reading every day. Hyrum has been very exciting to work with. I knew he wasn't ready to go onto book 4 and the last lesson in book 3 was TORTURE because of the units "oll, old, ost, olt, ild, and ind." So I started over the entire book.

I was not sad to do this, and Hyrum has been a different child this time through. It has taken a YEAR to do book three, but now we are flying through it. I can see the progress so clearly from last year that it's incredibly satisfying.

And YES Daniel does have some dyslexia. It's very obvious when I ask him to rhyme words. But I think it's mild to moderate, and he is getting steadily better. I doubt he will need special accommodations for standardized tests.

Speaking of accommodations for standardized tests.....Maxwell and Hyrum are both scheduled to be assessed by our school division's psychologist!!!   This is very good news to me.

Also, this week Hyrum will get assessed by Lindamood Bell as well. So stay tuned!

And in closing, Maxwell has been doing so well. He knows that "outrageous" is spelled with an "e" but that "fabulous" does not have an "e" and he knows WHY!

And he also learned a new word. One that has a "y" in the middle, and he knows why that word has a "y." That word is "DYSLEXIC."