Our Journey With Dyslexia



The word dyslexia is highly misunderstood. People are afraid, or ashamed, to say it but my son, my love, is dyslexic. 

This is supposed to be an inspiring article. But the truth is, our journey is not done. 

When I look back, we’ve come so far. I’ve learned so much. He has learned so much…but we’re not done yet. 

WebMD defines dyslexia as a learning disorder that affects your ability to read, spell, write, and speak. For kids who have dyslexia, the brain has a hard time connecting letters to the sounds they make and then blending those sounds into words. 

In my experience, the average person thinks dyslexia is nothing more than the reversal of letters such as “b” and “d” or “m” and “w”. 

Our Journey with Dyslexia

For my son, dyslexia looked like a Kindergartener who couldn’t read the word “a” after months of work. A first-grader who acted out in class to avoid doing school work. A second-grader who had started tutoring to try to “close the gap” in his skills compared to his peers.

A young boy who truly hated school. 

His school was baffled at why he was struggling.

You see, most teachers have minimal, if any, formal education on dyslexia, the most common learning disability in America. Then one day, I mentioned that he was trying to read bigger words and he would read the end syllable correctly but always missed the first part. It was at that moment, the resource teacher mentioned I should look into Dyslexia. 

If you’re like me, you start reading every article on the internet about dyslexia thinking you can solve this problem. Spoiler, you can’t cure dyslexia but your opinion on dyslexia can change. 

Then you go through a period of time when you’re angry or sad. “If only we caught it sooner. Maybe he wouldn’t hate school. Maybe he wouldn’t hate himself.”

As my son continued to struggle through school, I continued to research dyslexia. What many don’t speak about is the tie between dyslexia and social and emotional problems. You see, when you are a child who is bright and cannot “perform” at the same level as your peers you start to believe that you’re stupid.

If you have a child with similar struggles, my advice to you is to push through the hard times. Keep researching and fighting for your child and, most importantly, tell your child how much you love them. 

Help is on the Way

I stumbled upon an Educational Therapist who was NILD Certified (National Institute for Learning Development). At the beginning of third grade, the therapist and a psychologist screened my son using the WISC-V assessment. This assessment empowered us to fully understand where our son had specific learning challenges. For example, we now knew our son was 8th percentile for his working memory and 7th percentile reading fluency. (Both common challenges for an individual with dyslexia). 

With the therapist’s techniques, we started to strengthen underlying neurological challenges that are common for individuals with dyslexia while also addressing specific educational needs. 

The Journey Continues

My son is now in 5th grade and has been working with an Educational Therapist for a little over two years. His working memory challenges have been remedied, his reading has been strengthened, and he doesn’t hate school like he used to.

As I reflect on our journey, I can’t help but think of all of the changes and struggles we have been through. I am grateful for where we are today but there is still work to be done. While my son is on the right path, I wonder about those who are still deep in their struggles. Please know there is help, even if you have to fight for it. It is a long, hard journey, but you’re not alone. And above all, your child is loved exactly as they are today and exactly as the person that they will become someday. 

Here are some additional resources I have found helpful in my journey:

Hi, I’m Katie Popp. I am a wife and mom to three rambunctious little boys. One, who has been gifted with a uniquely made mind with the title of Dyslexia. I am also a full-time marketing professional in West Des Moines. During my free time I enjoy…wait, what’s free time. Ha! I enjoy spending time outdoors with my family, encouraging creativity from my kids, or simply watching a family movie by the fireplace. I also really enjoy meeting other parents with uniquely made children. 


  1. Thanks so much for this post! I had a similar experience with my now 5th grader except his 1st grade teacher wanted to hold him back and make him repeat the grade. I figured out quickly that we have to be their advocates! A 3rd grade teacher who was trained in the Barton method for Dyslexia mentioned that she thought that might be his problem. This teacher bless her heart started him on the program immediately and then promptly went on maternity leave! I fought for him to continue with the program and we found out that before school with the curriculum director was a great fit. It took another year before I won the argument with the school to get him evaluated for dyslexia and with COVID until about a month ago to get a 504 written for him, and they will not let me put Barton programming on his 504! That means that once he transitions to middle school I will probably have to be the person to do Barton or pay a teacher to do it outside of school! The upside is increased confidence and he is actually reading at his grade level, his writing is another story, but we continue to work really hard. I agree whole-heartedly that our kids suffer greatly emotionally when we and they do not understand what is going on. I could go on and on, but I just want to encourage everyone to advocate for your child!!!!


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