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    Posted June 16, 2014 by
    Pinnacle, North Carolina
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Raising a special needs child

    Dyslexia-A Mother's Perspective


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Debra McCormick shared the story of her 7-year-old son Luke. He’s a triplet and is one of 6 children. Luke has double deficit dyslexia, which is a severe form of dyslexia where a person lacks two essential skills. Luke has inefficiencies in both orthographic — visual memory — and phonetic processing. This means it’s difficult for him to remember word images, so his reading level is low compared to other children his age.

    Even though Luke lives with this condition, he just completed the second grade at a public school in Pinnacle, North Carolina. McCormick says they have been fortunate to be a part of a school that is dedicated to helping children with special needs like her son.

    McCormick says raising a child with special needs can be emotionally difficult. 'We want the same things for our kids that all parents want,' she said. She has learned to never take milestones and accomplishments for granted.

    Raising Luke has also taught her that she is capable of dealing with any obstacle. 'I have learned that my son needs me to advocate for him and I have learned that there is no greater role I have now or will ever have,’ she said.
    - Jareen, CNN iReport producer

    When I was pregnant with my triplets, my main concern was staying pregnant long enough so there were not any long term health issues when they were born. I managed that and they were all born healthy and home from the hospital within 2 ½ weeks. All three reached their milestones on time. To me, as all parents feel about their own children, they were brilliant, perfect, and sure to far surpass my highest expectations for them.
    However, in Kindergarten, one of them began falling behind in reading. By the end of the year, he had not met the goals expected. Mid-year in first grade, he was still falling behind. I was puzzled with my bright, funny, intelligent child. There was no reason why he shouldn’t excel in school.
    Approaching the end of first grade, he was tested for learning disabilities. After a second opinion from a third party child psychologist, which matched his first evaluation, he was diagnosed with double deficit dyslexia.
    This opened up many new doors; some good, some bad. I was now learning about IEPs and special education. I was learning to embrace the fact, and mentally prepare myself to accept, that my child would deal with challenges and life would not be easy for him.
    With my son, as in other dyslexic children, nothing is visible on the outside. To look at him you would never suspect he battles the stress of this disability. No one can see how much harder he tries, compared to the average student. He has no physical or behavioral signs that signal to educators that he can’t learn. But yet, he can’t. He can’t remember how to read the word “were” but yet he can tell me exactly what is different on the cereal box in our cabinet compared to the cereal box we saw at the grocery store last week.
    As a mother, it is heart wrenching to watch my 7 year old little boy with a high average IQ, struggle as he reads books 4 levels lower than where he should be for his grade level. I see his tired eyes and can literally feel his troubled spirit as he slumps next to my shoulder in defeat. I want to take this away from him. I want to make him better. I don’t want him to feel unintelligent around his classmates or struggle through life and his career, and yet I am painfully aware that he will do just that.
    Many times I feel helpless. But I know that the biggest gift I can give my son is love, patience, and advocacy in a society that hasn’t yet grown to fully acknowledge the realness and specific needs of our dyslexic children.
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