This week, one of my submissions, Swallow the Rot, was published in the latest
|An old local newspaper clip of one of my great
teachers helping me learn how to touch type
in middle school.
issue of Vine Leaves Literary Journal. It’s a huge rush to see my name and work in such a great compilation of literary and visual art.
It reminds me of just how lucky I am. Because I attended a Montessori kindergarten, my dyslexia was caught at a very young age. Because my family moved to a district that had some sort of ability to help LD kids, I picked literary skills up more efficiently than a lot of other dyslexic kids.
I’m privileged in those respects, and even more so that I can pursue my writing career today. Yes, I worked hard to get to this point, and yes, I will continue to work hard, but that doesn’t mean my personal circumstances had nothing to do with it.
If my family had stayed in Kentucky, I doubt I’d have grown up with the relatively favorable conditions I did. That school was atrocious in its treatment of special needs kids, and my family would not have been able to afford private tutors to make up for it.
No first grader should have to go through what I did, and it makes me wonder what would have happened if I’d been forced to stay in that situation. Looking back, I notice signs of childhood depression. I remember how painfully my heart had begun to hollow.
That history, those thoughts and my current circumstances made me pay attention to the dyslexia/SLD amendment this week. Dyslexia is by far the most common LD, but it’s still one of the most misunderstood and ignored issues in education.
The great folks over at Dyslexic Advantage wrote a fantastic response to a comment one of the senators made about not wanting to create a “privileged class” here.
It’s not about putting learning disabilities above all others. It’s about giving the students with LD the specialized attention they need.
As I said above, the primary reason I graduated with the such a strong grip on language arts was because I was able to attend one of the better public schools of the time. I had no private tutoring, but I did have special education classes during the day. My teachers helped me get to college level reading and writing, which should happen for everyone. Math wasn’t as much of a success, so I guess I still slipped through the cracks there.
Specific learning disabilities in general and dyslexia in particular need specialized attention. All kids, regardless of familial income bracket or geographic location, deserve at least the basic chances I had. If the government is supposed to help those who can’t help themselves, why do the most vulnerable among us suffer the most?