Carol, a child and then a woman, who never gave up
Saturday, October 25, 2014
My oldest daughter, Carol, really inspires me. When she was born my husband and I were so happy. As she grew she was always a very happy and social child. She was a very early walker and loved social involvement so much she hated to go to sleep afraid she might miss something. When she started pre-school I had some concerns academically but the teachers were not concerned because socially she was fine. She always had trouble with time and when she was out playing if her friend had to go in for dinner she would just go find another friend to play with. It didn't dawn on her that maybe she should also come home to see if it were time for her to eat so I would often have to send my husband out to track her down. When we moved to Ohio she started 1st grade and was having a very difficult time learning to read. I tried to work with her at home but she just couldn't figure it out. She loved having books read to her and I would often have to tell her I couldn't read another book. At the end of the school year they decided she should repeat the first grade but the next year she was still having difficulty so they asked if she could be tested. After the testing they said she had Dyslexia. This was in the mid 1970's and I had never heard of this so of course I began looking for any books I could find on the subject. They put her in a self contained classroom for what they said would probably be a couple of years. After the 2 years I met with her teacher and even though she had made good progress he recommended she continue in the self contained classroom. When I came home and told Carol this she was so upset to not be able to go back to her regular school I agreed to talk to the teacher to see if she could return to a regular classroom with some help. He agreed to let her do this but wanted to put her back another grade. I said absolutely not. His response was that he didn't think she would make it in the 4th grade. Of course being the determined little girl that she was Carol had no intention of failing and she didn't. After that school year we returned to RI and she continued to do well in school with going out for reading and math to a special teacher. This continued through Junior High and in her first year of high school she was in regular general classes with no extra help. After that she began taking all college prep classes and did well. When it came time for college she knew she wanted to study to be a special education teacher and help other children who had difficulty learning. She applied to RI state College which is well known for the Elementary Education program and wrote an excellent essay about everything she had experienced in school and how she had felt she had climbed the difficult mountain and made it to the top. Little did she know she still had more mountains to climb to prove herself. At first RIC declined to accept her because she had not taken 4 years of college prep classed in high school. Luckily one of her High School English teachers who also taught classed at RIC called the college and told them she personally knew Carol and felt that she would definitely be able to handle college level work. RIC then decided to accept her conditionally and said she would have to take a writing course during the summer and get a B or better. Well she got an A. Then they would only let her take a reduced course load. After the a year of this and making honors she said she wanted to take a full load and she did. When it was time for her to apply to be accepted into the Education department she again was almost derailed by an education professor who had to make a recommendation. When Carol went to the professor at the beginning of the semester and told her about her difficulties which really showed up in her spelling if she were concentrating on writing about the content needed to answer essay questions the professor refused to give her any leeway and wanted to see proof that she had Dyslexia. Thankfully I had saved all her IEPs. We still ended up having to go to the on Campus office for ADA to get her to be able to take her tests untimed and be able to use a dictionary. This professor gave her a very poor recommendation and we found out that she gave a hard time to any student with any sort of disability. Carol knew exactly how she would cope with her spelling problems in a classroom and graduated with honors. She is definitely a great example for anyone to never give up and that you can succeed if that's what you really want no matter how many people tell you that you can't do something.
My youngest daughter, Debra, also has Dyslexia but not as severe as Carol. She also went through school with special help. She attended Providence College and got her Bachelor's degree in Community Service and after working for a few years went to West Virginia University and got a double masters with high honors in Social work and Public Administration. Since Dyslexia is much more common in boys I was asked many times when I was having Carol tested by different professionals if my son, Mark, had any problems. Amazingly he did not and academically was always way ahead. He too is very successful and now works as a Computer Engineer for IBM.
I know I entitled this blog to be just about my daughter but all my children truly inspire me with all they have accomplished and how they never give up.