Jennifer Simpson on her son's experiences in school:
I should have been the one saying, "Hey, you need to do more for my son." I thought they were doing exactly what they told me they were going to do. Didn't always happen, and I wasn't very smart in finding out that it wasn't going on.
Jennifer Simpson on her daughter's reading disability:
I got her tested. I wasn't going to fail this one like I failed my first.
She still has an issue. She still has problems. They still have an IEP, but she likes to read now.
Dr. Julie Washington:
If you have a child who's having trouble, early intervention is critical because children will be left behind. Speech and hearing impairments are of critical concern when children are learning to read because we teach reading using sound.
If you have a child who knows half of the letters at the end of kindergarten, I don't think that the appropriate response is, "He'll learn the other 13 in first grade." That's one of those red flags - a child who is having difficulty even identifying the letters will be a child who is going to have difficulty with the next level.
Early intervention is key. We don't want parents to think that if your child is identified at nine or ten, that they're doomed, because they're not. There's a lot that we can do at those ages, but the job of the professional, the parent and the child is made easier by early intervention.
Parents go through this whole series of emotions that consists of things like anger and isolation and guilt and many of the same stages, frankly, that you go through when you're dealing with a death. Now, fortunately, you're not dealing with the death of your child, but you suddenly find yourself dealing with the death of some of the dreams you had for that child.
The reality is you need to stand up for your child. He's not old enough or capable at this point to advocate for himself. You do need to stand up. It is uncomfortable sometimes, but you do need to go in [to the school]. You've got a right to ask questions. You've got a right to receive those answers. My advice to parents is you need to sort of toughen up and recognize that your child needs you.
Growing up in Jamaica, nobody knew anything about dyslexia. It's just that you were dumb. I didn't believe I was dumb. I knew I was smart. I just couldn't read.
He was very anxious one morning, and I said, "Tyler, what's the matter?" And he said, "Mom, I'm stupid. I can't read." So that's when I really felt like, "I have got to do something for him." It just affects their whole life.