IDA’s Kelly Fleenor Shares Son’s Journey to Reading

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By Kelly Davis Fleenor

September 2016

12998443_10154166907897577_5142300883990082545_oWhen my son was in pre-school, I noticed his lack of participation and interest in class activities such as reciting the days of the week, which seemed easy and enjoyable for his classmates. He also became extremely active and had difficulty sitting still and paying attention during class time. When I spoke with his teacher, she confidently replied, “He is a young and active boy. He will outgrow his behavior.”

My son’s teacher was a respected preschool classroom veteran of 20 years, so I (hesitantly) listened to her advice. The following year, my son entered pre-kindergarten and again had difficulty with class activities and learning sight words, rhyming, reciting, and paying attention. Again, I was told he was a young and active boy.

On the first day of kindergarten, I mentioned my concerns to my son’s teacher and after a few months observing and working with my son she agreed that something was going on. I was not confident with the public school system’s assessment process in our area so I scheduled a private assessment where my son attended 3 hours a day for 4 days. Our assessment process was nothing but amazing, thorough, and detailed—well worth the time and money (not covered by insurance). A week after the assessment, I met with Dr. Wright to review my son’s report and learned he was dyslexic and had ADHD. Stunned an12241487_10154099415482577_3028004752734447277_nd feeling guilty, I began to cry and wondered where I went wrong as a mother. But the amazing Dr. Wright helped by providing further detail about dyslexia and helping to design a plan of action.

I spent the next week struggling to find resources and support for my son and was stunned with the lack of readily available information in our city. I finally found a certified Orton-Gillingham private tutor and met with my son’s school to discuss IEP’s and 504. We are fortunate that our school has the resources to assist my son in the classroom and his teachers were wonderful and encouraging.

Today, my son reads beautifully and reached his peer reading level in two years. My brave and amazing eight-year-old son never gives up and is amazing to watch as he tackles each dyslexia challenge with confidence and determination. He realizes how lucky he is to have skilled professionals and economic resources to overcome his struggles and does not understand why other dyslexic children cannot receive the same support for dyslexia hardships.

I would love to hear your story too.

Please contact Kelly Davis Fleenor, International Dyslexia Association, Director of Marketing, 40 York Road, Baltimore, Maryland 21204, 410-561-6417,


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