We realised our first born Antonio is different than other kids at the maternity school. He was constantly disappointing his teacher and we didn’t really understand why and what the teacher was expecting from a 5-years old boy, except it was not what the other kids (apparently) were delivering.
I remember during one of the regular chats we had, the teacher complained to us that she wasn’t able to activate performance (In German: Leistung abrufen) or that our son had a low readiness to deliver performance (In German: Leistungsbereitschaft). As she would be talking about a machine instead of a human being. You may understand that we thought something must have been rather wrong with her.
During the first 3 years of primary school the situation started becoming more concerning as he was progressing very slowly in learning to read and to do math. Most of the time he was in his own world which he shared through his amazing drawings and self-made toys.
The boy with his head in the cloud.
Like the title of an episode of Arthur – a popular children’s TV show. The story is about George, the moose. He is smart, but he sometimes has trouble reading and writing. Like Antonio, George has unique ideas and outlooks on the world. He sees things in a different way than his classmates and still the school requires that he adapts to the form of teaching although he simply doesn’t have the possibility to succeed. Like somebody that can’t see without glasses is asked to read from the board … without glasses.
Like George, Antonio has dyslexia.
Back then, we didn’t know. The logopedist who was coaching Antonio for more than 3 years may have known, but either she didn’t give it too much importance or she was drinking to forget. Different story.
The not knowing is the most difficult part.
We didn’t know why he can’t read like anybody else, why he can’t write like anybody else. You don’t know why his grades are so poor, despite the effort and the commitment studying. And why the teacher is regularly complaining that his head is in the cloud instead in the class room.
Today we know that Antonio has dyslexia and also dyscalculia, which is similar to dyslexia but with numbers instead of letters. To know is the first step.
Wanting to help Antonio, I’d like to tell you more about all things we did wrong. And few things we did right so far.
It’s quite some time that I wanted to start sharing my experience in coaching my son. The inspiration I got it from Anna Koppelman’s story published on HuffPost’s Teen Blog on March 12, 2015.