When I first discovered that my two younger children (a son and daughter) had reading problems, I was certainly keen to find out how to help them overcome their “problems” but even more than that…. I was concerned about their self esteem.
I knew I had beautiful, intelligent, happy children and I was determined not to allow anyone, especially not their teachers, to in any way, start chipping away at their self belief.
They had two older brothers to contend with who were moving through school life very easily getting high scores in their spelling results, reading more and more complex books, and while I had to continue to encourage them I did not want anyone making comparisons between the older boys and my younger children resulting in my son and daughter with the reading problems becoming even more concerned than they were already.
First Contact With Teachers
While I was happy to merely see the teachers of my older sons at Parent Teacher Meetings, I would make a special point of seeing my youngest son’s teacher and then my daughter’s teacher in the first week or so of each new school year.
The first meeting was to ensure that the teacher understood that as important as I considered my children’s education to be, as important as I considered it to be for them to learn to read and write as well as possible I really did not care if they never learnt to read and write, if they had to sacrifice their self esteem to do so!
I would not tolerate any aspersions on their intelligence, any unfavourable comparisons being made between them and any other child at all be it their own siblings.
Continued Contact With Teacher
I would then make regular appointments to see the teacher and ask about progress and ask the teacher not only how my child was progressing but what they were doing to help my child.
I wanted to emphasise to the teacher that I expected the teacher to address my child’s needs, that this was an issue that the teacher needed to find solutions to.
Also that I was ready to do whatever I could to assist at home, emphasising again that this was not to become a stigma for my children but for the teacher to find ways of helping them.
Without much success, as neither of my children were ‘bad’ enough to be fully ‘statemented’ (which means to be assessed by an educational psychologist to require sustained, additional assistance for which extra money is allocated to the child).
I think it was still worth doing as at least my children knew that I recognised that they were having difficulties and that I considered it an issue for the teacher to address and not a shortcoming in them.