I recently had the opportunity to meet Stacie and Sergio, who are currently in Kentucky, but who run Viva Hope Community Center in Brazil. They have the opportunity to help people in their community, through their community center, with a variety of needs. These needs include many things we take for granted, such as building a bathroom. This includes digging by hand the trenches needed for the pipes and burying the septic tank. This happens in terrain that is difficult to navigate. They also provide assistance for people learning to read, tutoring services, a safe place for kids to participate in sports and play on a playground, and a host of other services.
Stacie mentioned the struggles her daughter was having with reading and that she feared she may be dyslexic. My ears immediately perked up and she had my undivided attention. They speak both English and Portuguese, in their home, but I knew learning two languages was not the root of her possible reading difficulties. I talked to Stacie and offered to do some testing while they were here visiting her parents.
Stacie’s daughter, KayleeAna, has the most bubbly personality. She is very comfortable with other people and immediately responded to me. I first administered the Dyslexia Risk Informal Screener. I immediately saw the difficulties this bright little girl was having with printed information. I completed a battery of tests and was able to give her mom some information to help her better understand why KayleeAna was struggling with reading. I brought along some materials to show her how to begin working with her.
KayleeAna also has many characteristics consistent with undiagnosed Attention issues. I outlined what she needed to consider, related to both reading and attention. These are major factors that greatly impact a child’s ability to learn.
KayleeAna was no different from the children I typically evaluate in the United States; she just had a solid grasp on a second language. I encouraged her mother on the benefits of her daughter being bilingual, but gave her some guidance on how to begin building up her confidence academically. You see, KayleeAna is beginning to compare herself to her peers. She’s beginning to have self-doubt, when it comes to her performance in school, and that self-doubt has taken a toll on her confidence. I’m so thankful that technology will allow me to help Stacie know how to help her daughter learn to read, even if we are residing on two different continents. You see, Stacie was doubting that she knew enough to help her daughter. She was overwhelmed and even asked, “Can she ever learn to read?” I assured her that KayleeAna IS bright and more than capable of learning to read.
KayleeAna is a beautiful picture of a young mind, hungry to learn, yet needing the tools for success. It is my job to provide those tools!