Are they stepping-stones or stumbling blocks?


I won’t say my son suffers from dyslexia. I don’t deem it suffering at all. It was quite accidental that I realized that he has a bit of a problem. During the summer holidays this year, I thought, as always, that rather than spend mad amount of time in front of the television, I felt the kids should spend their time correcting their exam sheets and putting in some extra work. Let’s get one thing clear – I was pretty useless when I was at their age. I hardly ever sat down to study during holidays and preferred to have my nose stuck in a book.


I realized my lad had problems when his written work had mirror handwriting. He wasn’t able to tell the difference between ‘b’ and ‘p’ and ‘S’ was written as a 3. He’s a very bright boy. You ask him questions and he can answer them correctly verbally. Writing things down were a massive problem. I realized in hindsight, that his intensity at sport was his way of taking out his frustrations. He is at his happiest running around and playing sport. His Lego creations are extraordinary and he can patiently sit creating things out of little bits and pieces. His art-work is also fantastic. He could draw and paint really well from a very young age and I’m not biased here. Everyone says he’s good. He is slowly getting better with a specialized teacher helping him and I must say his school has really gone out of their way to help him out as well. Slowly but surely he is improving.

Last weekend I decided to give him a packet of cake mix and let him loose in the kitchen. He looked at me with big wide eyes then he scampered off to the kitchen. He loves to cook and by the age of six he could manage to make a fried egg with toast and a cup of tea. He’s not one to stay hungry. After about 15 minutes he came up to me with the packet and he had these big tears in his eyes that were threatening to spill over. I asked him what the matter was, knowing very well what he was going to say, and he told me he couldn’t read the instructions and only understood the pictures.

My heart melts when things like that happen but I also know I’m not enabling him if I do everything for him so we took the next 20 minutes slowly going over the instructions. I promise you that’s how long it took because he painstakingly went over the instructions and then rewrote them in his little notebook, spelling mistakes and all, so that he could read it the way he wrote them. Then that turned into yet another writing exercise because I made him correct his spelling and finally off he went skipping to the kitchen to attempt to make cupcakes.


I could hear the drawers opening and closing, measuring cups rattling around and I think the hand whisk must have fallen down twice. I didn’t budge from my seat because I didn’t want to interfere and I think that really helped because sure enough, half an hour later a wonderful scent wafted upstairs. SUCCESS! He did it. I wept in private. My son overcame a hurdle and he’s so much more confident with every little success story. I take pride in moments like that because these are the things that make me feel that maybe, as a single mother, I’m not doing a bad job after all.

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