Chicago Parent Staff


Learning with dyslexia

Thank you for this article ("Untangling the jumble," October, 2008)! This is one neurological disorder that does not get a lot of press. I am 35 years old and grew up with dyslexia. How awful it was as a kid constantly being labeled as lazy and dumb. It wasn’t until I was a freshman in high school when my English teacher suggested that I be tested. Even back in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s hardly anybody knew about it or what to do about it or really how to test for it. I don’t remember much about the tests, only that it took forever to find someone to test me for it and when I was told what it was and everything was explained I cried. Not out of sadness, but of understanding. FINALLY I knew what was going on and I wasn’t DUMB! And in the process we discovered that my dad was dyslexic, too.

The school system never really found a way to tutor me. Eventually I learned, in my own way, how to cope.

I do rather well today.

I am currently taking an anatomy class as a prerequisite for an ultrasound course. Yes, it is a challenge, I know I have to work hard to spell some of those horrific unpronounceable words doctors love to throw at you while you’re sitting in your paper gown shivering with cold on that sterile strip of paper on the exam table. But with my head bobs and hand gestures (that’s how I taught myself to sound out words and connect some of the sounds) I know I can make it through.

I have a daughter who is 10 years old. She does not have dyslexia. She does have ADHD with a behavioral disorder. We have her on an IEP at school, my hope is that dyslexics can get the same type of help. They deserve it too.

Thank you once again for putting this article in your magazine.

Jennifer Roese

Executive opinion

In the October article, "Executive decision," it seems as though the writer tries to imply whomever she sought advice from are stating facts about the candidates stances on issues. She is expressing opinion and interpretation of their plans on issues.

She is entitled to her opinion as is everyone, but she is trying to come off as strictly giving the facts and not injecting her own feelings into the candidates’ views. If it were me writing about Obama’s stance on abortion, I may have said, he plans on continuing the practice of allowing women to use abortion as a form of birth control or maybe McCain’s stance as he plans on doing what he can to stop the millions of abortions destroying innocent life every year. It’s all in your wording.

(The writer) should have stated these are my interpretations of their stances or plans.

Kim Clancy

A gender double standard

It always amazes me to see an old sexist double standard still applied in the 21st century! Your article in the September 2008 issue "The truth about raising boys and girls" made me shake my head. Boys are supposed to be rough, tough and active while girls are expected to be gentle, dainty and quiet, right? NOT! I personally have observed quite the opposite in both cases.

My 9-year-old daughter is what we once referred to as a "tomboy" who also happens to have severe ADHD. This seems to be a tough concept for society to handle. Teachers, fellow parents and the general public expect a girl to be "ladylike." If she behaves "like a boy" she is criticized, punished and ostracized as are we as her parents.

My lovely daughter is sweet, loving, caring and although petite, she is physically strong, athletic, active and loves to play with boys who will accept her. Yet she is repeatedly rejected by other boys just because of her gender. To my dismay, I’ve discovered parents who do not want their boys to play with girls at all. You can imagine the reason. It breaks my heart and hers as well.

Lisa Spragia

The battle over bullies

What an appalling lack of professionalism I found in (the September "Parenting Isn’t for Sissies") column. Ms. DuBose managed to misrepresent both 2-year-olds and bullies in a single paragraph and make my job harder in the bargain.

Let’s begin with definitions. A bully is a child (or adult) who hurts others for the sole purpose of hurting them. A 2-year-old is a toddler, an egocentric emotional infant without the maturity or the experience necessary to realize that other children can be hurt. It is not possible for a 2-year-old to be a bully. They don’t know when they’re hurting someone.

I work in day care, with toddlers and 2-year-olds. Aggression between children is common; not a week goes by that I’m not picking someone up after being pushed or applying an ice pack to a head that’s been whacked. None of my children, however, are bullies. They are small children testing the boundaries of social acceptance and learning how their behavior affects others. But parents take their children’s injuries very personally, and with the media attention that bullying has gotten in recent years, I often have to have this conversation with a parent. "No, your child is not getting picked on or bullied. Nobody is singling your child out for torment. At this age, hitting and pushing are all pretty mutual. We work with all the children on using our words instead of hitting, but it’s a long learning curve."

Now, not only do I have to compete with a parent’s natural instinct to protect her child from all hurts (an instinct that I share), but I have to compete with the words of a published "professional."

Dawn Napier
Round Lake

Bullying the bully

As the mother of 3 children, ages 8-13, I was eager to read the article in your October issue, "The bully’s mom and you." Quite frankly, I was taken aback by the tone of the article. The blanket statements of "the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree" and "the bully has learned at home that violence is a way to solve problems" and "A child is a bully because his parent was a bully ..." are highly judgmental and completely inappropriate, even if these statements are made by an "expert."

As my children are growing up, I’ve seen them on both sides of the bullying fence, and I’ve learned that sometimes good kids make poor choices. I’ve seen kids bully because of displaced anger about an uncontrollable situation in their lives. I’ve watched kids struggle because of complex emotions that they are too young to articulate and that has led to aggressive physical behavior.

There are wonderful, conscientious, good parents out there whose children do not always behave appropriately. To judge parents as serial bullies themselves because of their child’s behavior is just not right. After all, isn’t teaching our children to condemn a person without full knowledge of the facts just one more way of bullying?

Teresa Shattuck
Oak Park



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