Podcast Episode 45 – Interview About Dyslexia with Karen Huppertz

Karen Huppertz, the President of the International Dyslexia Association Georgia Chapter, is who we talk with today.

Just an amazing lady, with an amazing story of her kids’ struggle with Dyslexia. Due to early identification AND intervention, dyslexia did not hold her kids back from having stellar educational achievement.

Thus, the lesson to be learned;  Early identification in order to get the proper intervention.

Let me repeat that in case it wasn’t clear;  EARLY IDENTIFICATION to get PROPER INTERVENTION.

My friends, I can not tell you the pain I feel for children who have dyslexia but are not receiving help for it. These children feel stupid, left out, inferior. And some will lash out accordingly. Others will slink back into the back of the room hoping to never been seen or heard from.

It’s tragic. The International Dyslexia Association estimates “perhaps as many as 15–20% of the population as a whole—have some of the symptoms of dyslexia”.

But there are treatments! In fact, with proper treatment, children can succeed in school. Thrive even!

Karen’s children are examples. My own son, who couldn’t even read a Bill and Jill book in 1st Grade, in 5th grade is reading The Hobbit, after having just finished up Jurassic Park!  He gobbles up books like we gobble up turkey on Thanksgiving Day.

It’s a beautiful site to behold.  However, the first couple years of his dyslexia being unidentified really set him back in his confidence.

His kindergarten teacher noticed something.  But, he was in kindergarten, so it’s tough to make any assessment at such a young age.

Unfortunately, for him, we moved to Georgia the following year.  A new school, new kids, and lo and behold, he can’t read a lick.  He literally would kick and scream to avoid going into the school as we pulled up in the drop-off line.  It was horrible.

But from his perspective can you blame him? He was SO far behind. He had NO friends.  He was the new kid.  And I can imagine the feeling of pure inadequacy and helplessness. And you know how kids are, they can be brutal.

The school, bless their hearts, essentially said he was “improving” and to give it time.  However, he was falling further and further behind.  To the point they were even considering holding him back to be in class with his little brother.

Thank the Good Lord someone told us about a specialist who identifies learning disabilities and makes the appropriate recommendations for intervention.   And I thank the Good Lord we had the resources to pay for this.

We were/are very fortunate.  When my son was tested we found his IQ was through the roof.  His brain just needed a different way to learn how to read and comprehend things.  Training taught him how to do this.  Yet, he will ALWAYS be slower at some parts of school because it’s the way his mind processes information.

Doesn’t mean he’s dumb. In fact, we have the IQ tests to prove it. Ironically, he’s brilliant at other things. Putting a lego together? He SEES it, in 3D essentially. How it’s supposed to work. His brain understands with minimal direction.  Me? No siree Bob.  I am lucky to get to 2D.  My brain doesn’t work that way.

Am I stupid though? NO!  We each have our own strengths and our own ways to see the world.

This is why our current educational system, in my opinion, has some serious issues.  We’re still teaching in the same capacity we did under the Prussian model of the mid 19th century.  Yet our knowledge of the brain has changed dramatically.

A child with dyslexia, who the school hasn’t identified, could easily be held back, or worse, sent to the Special Needs class.  This is pure insanity.  Can you blame the school? No. Can you blame the parent? No.

The problem is the school is relying on the parent and the parent is relying on the school.  Yet, all the while, nothing is being done for the child and he or she is falling further and further behind.

Boys will lash out. Girls will hide.  All the while, all that talent that dyslexic kids have inherently is not being used!  AHHHH so frustrating.

Let’s say the IDA is over-estimating the amount of people with dyslexia by 100%.  That still means nearly 1 in 10 people have SOME form of it!  How many of those 1 in 10 are being helped with intervention though??? Let’s say 1 in 10 there too.

Thus for every 100 random people, 10 have some form of dyslexia and only 1 is actually being ‘treated’.  That is 9% of the population who is NOT receiving help.  Think of the problems that could be solved in our world today if those 9 people out of 100 were operating on full capacity because they received proper assistance.

How many inner-city kids are there RIGHT NOW who have unidentified dyslexia and will never be helped and thus we lose their skill set?  How many suburban kids right now have parents who are relying on the school for direction to help their kids with their obvious learning issues?  And so on.

Let’s get these kids help!  It will better society, for one. But most importantly, these are children who are suffering.  And we know there are ways to help them.  Starting with wonderful groups like the International Dyslexia Association.

And of course, the fabulous volunteers like Karen Huppertz need any and all support we can provide.

 

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