After that lovely experience, we decided that we needed to try testing again. Through the program I was using, I found a reading specialist in my area, who was willing to test the boys.
We scheduled time and over the course of several weeks she tested the boys.
At the end, she provided the results which were not far from grim. Of course, I asked the question. Was this my fault. Was it simply because they were homeschooled. She reassured me that the boys were super bright and unequivocally it was not lack of exposure or lack of proper instruction. She also confirmed that all three boys had dyslexia and dysgraphia.
I wasn't crazy. I had been asking for many years at this point. Finally, we had an answer.
My husband and I decided that we needed to hire professional tutors to work with them.
I was beginning relax. Too soon.
Squiddy's tutor came to me with concern. She indicated that she felt that he was making progress, however, his struggles indicated that he could use some additional testing.
Using her referral for a neuropsychologist we scheduled an appointment. I reached to both Cheese's and Stampy's tutors, who both said that it would be a good idea for them all to be tested too. Again, over the course of several weeks the testing was completed.
I then went in for the results. The neuropsychologist confirmed that the boys had dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia. Again, with great trepidation, I asked whether this was simply a lack of exposure or a lack of proper instruction. Not only did the neuropsychologist confirm that the boys would have this problem in whatever educational environment they were in, he went on to say, that by homeschooling we may have saved them additional stress. Oh, I can breathe. I can breathe. It had been four years, four years of holding my breath. It felt good to pull oxygen in through my lungs again. Every cell in my body began to relax, to settle.
The information did not change much though. We carried on meeting with the tutors four times a week.
I needed to go in for some surgery and we would not be able to get the boys in for tutoring for about ten days. During that time, their tutors gave them homework.
Only when I was working with Stampy, he seemed to be really struggling. Really struggling. Not only was he not not aware of what he was reading, he was expressing a huge amount of frustration with decoding.
I loved stamp's tutor. They had an incredible relationship. I did not want to disrupt this relationship, with anything, even mentioning my concerns. At the time, Stampy was also seeing a speech therapist twice a week. So, instead I reached out to her, asked if she could do some mini reading assessments. After working with him, she too was concerned. She decided that she would reach out to his tutor and inquire. They agreed for her to sit in on a tutoring session so she could potentially offer some suggestions.
As a team, they decided to maintain Stampy at the level he was at to try to reinforce the skills learned from earlier levels. He stayed there for four months. At the end of four months, he had not made much progress. I was concerned. Not only for Stampy, his time and energy but at this point it was becoming a financial concern. We simply could not afford to keep paying for tutoring at sixty-five dollars an hour, four times a week, times three boys, without progress. It just could not happen. So, I reached out to the company who created this program. They were willing to review Stampy and Squiddy's neuropsychological evaluations.
The company reached out the next day. I was thinking that they would offer suggestions and we would be on our way again. Only this is not what happened. Really the unthinkable happened.
They informed me that Stampy and Squiddy's case was so severe that they did not know how to help them. That they were very confused the the psychologist recommended this course of action because they did not feel they they could help. At this point, I have no shame, tears are running down my cheeks. I begin to struggle to catch my breath. Then they recommend that the best option would be to send them to a specialized school for dyslexic children. Through my tears, I indicated that we could not afford that and again the unthinkable. "well, you better get a second mortgage". How is this possible, a second mortgage! Who says that! This whole time, all I have wanted was to help. I have allowed myself to be vulnerable to ask the questions, to be open to the answers. The best suggestion was a school that I can't afford and to take a second mortgage (assuming that I had a mortgage to take a second one out on)!! Despite this, I did thank them for the help. After all, I was thankful that they were willing to admit the deficiency in their program.
But what now.....
I reached out to both Stampy and Squiddy's speech therapists who vehemently disagreed that the situation was hopeless. We agreed that we would do some research to see if we could find another program. We settled on one.
I reached out to the new company and explained my situation. They were incredibly helpful. They offered to support us in any way they could.
But I still had Cheese to content with. I was able to find yet another tutor for him. At this point, he is beginning to talk about high school. With the help of a friend's husband who is a Educational Attorney, I reached out to the local middle school for testing. I am pleased to report that Cheese scored average or above average on all of the tests, except reading fluency, and written expression!
This brings me more or less up to date. There will be things along the way that I may add but now I can begin to share what is working......
stay tuned! the boys are reading!!! All of them!!