A Fathers Dyslexic Son

Greg, Father of Mitchel talks about his own experience of children with learning disabilities.

“I’ve got four children. I’ve got three girls and they all could read, went through school pretty easy… Mitchel… just couldn’t read… It was basic things he couldn’t read. A ‘Golden Book’. He was eleven years old, and he still couldn’t read a ‘Golden Book’. The basic words the; is, there, that, because… he just couldn’t read. He was one of the children with learning disabilities in reading.

I never thought it was going to be dyslexia. Dyslexia? Mitchel had a teacher in year six, we had him two years earlier, and we never knew that we had dyslexia. The teacher hated having interviews with us, because he said ‘Nothing’s changed’, and I said ‘be honest’, and he’d say ‘Nothing’s changed”. He said, ‘I think Mitchel might have dyslexia’. We raced home from that parent&teacher night and typed in dyslexia, and had a little quiz… we did that and Mitchel was a candidate.

The school had been doing three times a week; extra reading or remedial reading for children with learning disabilities. So you get pulled out of class and one-on-one… The school had done lots… but not right, because we still couldn’t read. The teachers were nice. They’d pull him out and send him to the children with learning disabilities class. Mitchel was happy, but he still couldn’t read.

We had his sight test done twice, we took him to the Royal Deaf and Blind Society and they did a hearing test on him, and everything came back fine. We had extra tuition before we started everything else… that still wasn’t working.

We would sit and try to read with him, but that was just frustrating. I’ve got a bit of patience, but when you read the word ‘the’ fifty times in ‘the book’, we get the last page and he doesn’t know what it is… it’s just…

They were trying to help him, but the school didn’t know what to do to help him. They were very ‘we want Mitchel to read’, but they didn’t know what they were doing… and really were just doing nothing.

As soon as we found out we thought it was dyslexia, we rang you and you spoke to us on the internet, and spoke to us on the mobile phone the next day, and my words to you were; ‘you must be in our house’, because that’s what it felt like. You told who Mitchel was, and I only said his name.

He is eleven years old. He’s a good kid. Help’s with cleaning up. The teachers give him merit awards every day because he’s such a good kid, but… his goodness doesn’t flow through to his reading.

After the face-to-face program, and twelve months of support work from his Mum and Dad…

Mitchel is excellent! We sit down every day, we do our homework. We read every day. If I don’t read he reads with mum, and Mitchel, from a ‘Golden Book’ at eleven years old he couldn’t read, we’re now reading year five books confidently. I’m very happy!”

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Tom MullallyA Fathers Dyslexic Son