I first realised that my daughter might be dyslexic, when at age four they introduced reading at school.
Over the next couple of years as G and I laboured over Biff and Chip and weekly spellings to no avail, the school assured me that G was fine and all children develop these skills at different rates. As bright, engaging and delightful as she may be, I knew that all was not right with my daughter. It was not until Grace changed school at age 7 and on day 3 of her new term I was called in to speak to the teacher, I felt a flood of relief as she confirmed that she too shared my suspicion that G may be dyslexic. An appointment with an Educational Psychologist was arranged and in due course G was diagnosed with dyslexia. This was the beginning of the journey into an unknown realm: The world of Special Educational Needs. I knew so little. Suddenly, I was confronted by an almost foreign language and I had to circumnavigate it alone. What did TOWRE-2 Phonological Decoding, CTOPP-2: Nonword Repetition, Phonemic Decoding actually mean? I ploughed through pages and pages of test results and did not feel enlightened at the end. School staff took G out of class for ‘help’, but I couldn’t see any improvement.
Deep down I felt that I was failing my intelligent daughter. As she was getting older she was becoming aware that she was different and had to work twice as hard to gain the same results as the other children.
In Year 4, we were introduced to Julianne Miller. Julianne changed our life in several ways. Firstly, she guided me towards a programme perfectly suited to G’s profile and for the first time she made improvements. Secondly, she was warm and available to me, greatly reducing my anxiety. My daughter, who was dead tired of ‘help’ took to her immediately. Thirdly, and most crucially, Julianne supported and guided me through the minefield of SEN. I knew what to expect from G, what I could ask the school, what I needed to get elsewhere and who the best people were to see. She coordinated absolutely everything.
Dyslexia does not go away, it is with you for life. It has to be managed. The educational system has to be managed. My daughter is now sitting GCSE’s. Over the years Julianne has guided us through all the different stages of education and their differing challenges. She has introduced us to excellent Educational Psychologists, recommended centres of excellence with pioneering teaching methods. She continues to put in place fantastic systems that help support G at every step. She enlightens us on what government support is in place for dyslexic children sitting public exams and how to get it. She offers constant sensible and clear advice. My daughter who couldn’t read in Year 5 is on track for 9 As.
Thank you Julianne!