I had my preconceived notions of what dyslexia entailed. Like most people, I thought that dyslexia caused people to flip-flop their numbers and letters. Until I married my husband, Lonnie, I never really understood how much dyslexia affected almost every aspect of a person’s life.
Now, I DON’T have dyslexia, but my husband and my step-son, Caius, have it. It tends to be hereditary and tends to run from father to son. When my husband and I introduced each other to our children (I had Violet in a previous marriage), I noticed almost immediately that Caius was different from most children. He was 8 months older than Violet, yet his understanding of spatial relations, social queues and especially being able to multi-task and follow more than three instructions at any given time was virtually impossible. I would watch Caius attempt to communicate with Violet and their friends and see him struggle with accessing common words. Let me explain. He would try and tell a funny story or something he saw in a movie and it would end up like this; “So this guy in the movie, he…….uh……would……uh……take his car to…….uh…..” and this would go on for as long as the child had the patience to stick around and try to decipher his story.
Pain, pain, pain. It was pain for me to watch and it hurt me so much to see such a fantastic, sensitive and fun kid go through torture just to explain how his day was at school. This was not normal. Not at all. My anxiety began to rise, but my husband took the initiative to take Caius to various doctor’s and surprise, surprise, Caius was diagnosed with dyslexia.
What did that mean? What did that mean for his education and what kind of work was involved to help him? I was terrified. I wasn’t sure how to handle it and like all good folks, I Googled it. I discovered that dyslexia affects the part of the brain that controls language. So sequencing, spelling, differentiating sounds and letters, and following more than one instruction at a time, is very, VERY difficult for a dyslexic. I became aware just how many of these symptoms affected Lonnie and how I had become so frustrated with his lack of organization and being able to follow more than two instructions at a time. Things started to make more sense in our house. I had two fellas that were struggling. Really struggling. I also had to come to terms with my own feelings about their disability. I didn’t want to become bitter, but I kept thinking, “I didn’t sign up for this. Did I?”
In the end, things began to look up. Caius received an I.E.P. (Individual Education Plan) at school and Lonnie started seeing a psychologist with experience in dyslexia. It’s been a long, arduous journey, but my fear had subsided. I no longer feel frozen with fear over the fact that I cannot relate to their struggles. I no longer freeze up when their difficulty in getting things started and completed begin to take over their confidence. Mummy swings into action. I do my best to love, love, and love my boys some more.
Someone asked me if I would have changed my mind about marrying my husband if I would have known then what I know now. There were times over the last five years I may have said yes. But you can’t grow without the struggle. It sounds SOOOOO cheesy, but it’s true. I am, by nature, a very impatient person, but through this process and helping and supporting my men, it’s caused me to stretch and change like some loosey goosey balloon. Adaptability. Resiliency. Optimism. I wouldn’t miss their journey for the world.