Support Group in place for parents of dyslexic students

Support Group in place for parents of dyslexic students
January 23 04:58 2018 Print This Article

Parents often find navigating the school system to get help for a child having learning difficulties frustrating and intimidating. Brandi Graham was one of those parents. She has two sons in a Dorchester District 2 school. Both sons were having difficulty with reading. They have both been diagnosed with dyslexia and are receiving extra help with a resource teacher. A resource teacher is certified to teach students with special needs and is often trained in specialized reading programs such as the Wilson Reading System or the Orton-Gillingham Reading Program. Both are designed to help students with dyslexia and other reading problems.

Brandi first learned about dyslexia when she met her husband Lamar in high school. Lamar was in a self-contained class. He had been labeled as a special needs student who did not have the reading skills to earn a high school diploma. Lamar was devastated to learn he would earn a Certificate of Attendance instead. Brandi said he would often skip school his senior year because he knew that it didn’t matter. He wasn’t earning a diploma.

When Lamar was in high school, he got a tattoo of an alien with the letter “L” next to it. Lamar told Brandi the alien was in honor of his favorite rap group OutKast and their latest CD, ATLiens. Brandi assumed the “L” stood for Lamar. 20 years later after 12 years of marriage and two sons, Lamar told Brandi the tattoo symbolized his feelings of being an outcast with the “L” actually standing for lost.

Brandi knew she had to become educated and learn to advocate for her husband and sons. She attended a conference of Family Connection South Carolina. During the conference, she went to a presentation of Decoding Dyslexia SC. She found a lifeline. Decoding Dyslexia SC is a network of parents that support each other. They can ask questions and participate in a private discussion board. Their motto is Educate, Advocate, and Legislate. The South Carolina group is part of a larger network of parents from other states. They communicate and in particular help each with legislation.

Brandi has learned to advocate for her sons. She has also learned that technology can help. She uses audiobooks and the app, Speechify. Her sons are doing well this year in school, and Lamar not only has a good job, but also volunteers as a coach. Brandi recommends that parents whose children are struggling get educated and learn to be advocates for their child. No one will advocate for your child the way you will.

Robin Steinberger retired after 30 years from Charleston County School District as a high school special education teacher.  She is the education reporter for Lowcountry Source.  Please contact Robin at robin@lowcountrysource.com.