A MOTHER’S LETTER
As this is Dyslexia Awareness Week (2nd – 9th October), Assist Dyslexia believes it is the perfect time to share an inspiring letter we received from a mother of a child with Dyslexia. It was sent to one of our Directors and it concerned a child she had last taught 18 years ago. The family moved at that time and in the intervening years there had been no contact. The letter epitomises what can be achieved by Dyslexic children who receive tuition and support from determined teachers and parents. This letter will encourage all parents trying to help their Dyslexic child and demonstrates that success can be achieved.
Both the mother and the young man in question have given permission for us to use the letter on our website and face book page in the hope that it will encourage children and their parents to never give up.
Hi Assist Dyslexia
This really is a blast from the past but I have meant to put pen to paper for many years to fill you in on the journey of one of your earlier pupils, Tommy. He came to you as a very reluctant and stressed 8 year old who despite the fact that he had an official diagnosis of Dyslexia, was seen by many teachers as being lazy. One non-believer stated, “He’s always first with the answer” but didn’t understand this was only verbally.
The main reason for this letter is to thank you for all the effort you put into him. I know for him it was a safe place. You even organised for him to learn to type. One of the most important things you did for him was to teach him how to organise himself. At one point he used to carry all his readers to school in his bag and when asked why he did this, he said it was because he could find the words he couldn’t spell in the books because he knew where they were. You may or may not remember this but he was bullied very badly by a teacher from the age of five, something he remembers to this day!
I also think that if you would like to share his story with other parents and children, it will give them hope and I believe it helps if people can hear such stories. I think that they should be aware that it is not an easy road, an awful lot of hard work needs to be put in before any positive results start to show. Unfortunately, we are aware of some people who gave up early on. I think that sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind and Tommy would be the first to agree with that now. I was told by a good friend of mine that I was cruel to make him do so much extra work, making him go to grinds etc. You used to set him work for every day of the summer holidays so he would not fall behind. It was hard to get him to focus at times but the results have been incredible.
His journey started with you at 8 years old! You guided him until we left Carrick when he was 11, to go back to Wicklow. He did his last year in National School in a great school with a teacher who really understood him. He then went to Secondary school locally, an experience that was very mixed. After his Junior Cert, we took him out and sent him into the Institute of Education where he could concentrate on subjects he was good at and that interested him. School was a struggle on many levels but he applied himself and finally got through it. To this day he says they were the hardest days of his life but that once he got through them the rest is easy!
We put in many hours of extra study and grind classes. We even did the DARE course in Scotland, which meant travelling over there every six weeks for the period of a year, while following two daily sets of exercises. He went on to Trinity College to study Mechanical Engineering and while he was there he also got a degree in Maths – not bad for a boy that could not get more than 30% for any exam in National School, including Maths because he couldn’t read the questions fast enough.
He has always had a passion for Aerospace and so followed his dream to Cranfield University in the UK where he did his Masters in Aerospace Engineering. He then went to work with Air Bristol for5 years as a Structural Design Engineer up until he was promoted and posted to Toulouse in France where he now lives.
I asked him if he would mind if I wrote to you outlining his journey and he said he had no problem at all and acknowledges with thanks that you had a fundamental part in this success. I really just want others to know that there is hope. To never give up and don’t feel bad about making your children do these extra classes because in the end if they do not put in the time while in school, they may spend the rest of their life with nothing to do.
The main problem I suppose is that if the funding is not there, you have to go and get the help yourself, which thankfully we were able to do. However, there is an awful lot you can do that costs virtually nothing. To me the most important thing is that any child with difficulties has to be helped to get to a point where they feel they are valued and they contribute to society. Not that they are worthless which sadly is a place all of my children found themselves at one time or another.
Tommy acknowledges that without the intervention he got early on, he would probably never have passed any exam, let alone gone to university.
Apologies for my ramblings but I have wanted to tell you about Tommy for so long, I just needed to sit and do it. I’m posting this letter rather than emailing because I wanted you to get it directly. It has been over 18 years since we left Carrick which means that in the intervening years, you’ve helped many families like ours so a huge THANK YOU!