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Crystal Balls

I can remember when my son was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia. Even though I'd known that something was going on since he was five, it still felt like a gut punch. I still cried; I was petrified, and at that moment, I would have given anything for a crystal ball.

I always think how much easier our journey would have been if I had just known what his outcome would be eventually. My questions were the same ones I think every parent has at diagnosis. "Would he ever be a functional reader?" Worse, I asked myself not if he would graduate college but if he would ever even be able to go to college. The worry was endless, and it didn't need to be so overwhelming.

Being a classic Type A, I started researching, reading, and asking a lot of questions specifically aimed at getting him the intervention necessary to be his best self. Eventually, I made the decision to pull him out of school for several months and have him tutored one-on-one for four hours a day. It was the best decision I could have made. He began to unlock what was previously the mystery of reading and discovering that he could do it just like his friends.

Have you ever been in a foreign country sitting in a cafe, and everyone around you is talking, but you can't understand anything they're saying? You feel like you should be able to understand, but you can't. I suspect he felt much the same way about reading.

Many years later, when he was in high school, I asked him if he remembered when I told him what his diagnosis was, what it meant, and what we were going to do about it. Surprisingly, he said he remembered it clearly (this from the person who can't remember what he ate for breakfast). He said it was like a huge weight was lifted from his shoulders. He was convinced he was stupid (even though he had been reassured he was not). He is also gifted, and they have a tendency to overthink things, so he was pretty much consumed with that thought. His response to finding out he has dyslexia was, "I didn't care what it was as long as it wasn't stupid."

Did he go to college? Yes. Did he graduate? Yes. Is he happy in his new career? Abundantly. It all turned out better than I could have imagined, but that crystal ball sure would have come in handy. . .

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