Dear Diary… A Mother’s Story of Despair, Hope, Perseverance and Success

Woman writing in diary(Based on real events — this is the mother’s side of story of helping her child with his reading problem as she confided to her diary.)


I’m so proud of my son! Jay Jay is a beautiful boy and he’s very sensitive. My husband says he’s too shy, but I don’t think so. I think (hope?) that one day he’ll be an artist, or a musician… May be a doctor!


Jay Jay doesn’t like school. He says his teacher is picking on him. I hope he makes friends soon. He’s a year older tomorrow! We’re going to have a party. (I must remember to pick up the cake from Mrs Robinson!)


Poor Jay Jay! He was so looking forward to the outing to the zoo and then his teacher had to go and spoil it with her little note! That woman is driving me crazy. There is nothing wrong with my son!


I’m going to sue the school! Not only does the teacher say Jay Jay is disruptive in class, now the principal says she suspects he might have a learning disability! There is nothing wrong with Jay Jay!


David says he’s not going to go with me to see the principal. He says Jay Jay just needs to toughen up. I don’t understand it. He used to be so proud of the boy.


The principal and that stupid, stupid teacher say that Jay Jay probably has dyslexia. My son is not disabled! He’s not! I must talk to David. He must get a lawyer or something. I will not allow my son to be treated as a cripple!


David laughed at me. He says we can’t sue the school just because our boy struggles to read. He says I must spend more time with him when he does his homework! What about him? Can’t he spend some more time reading with our son instead of just watching sport on TV with him? I’m at the end of my patience with David.


This morning Jay Jay refused to go to school. I called and said he was feeling ill. I don’t know what to do. Maybe I must take him to the doctor. Maybe there is something physically wrong with him. Perhaps he just needs glasses! May be that’s it! I’m going to call the doctor right now!


Jay Jay is fine! My Jay Jay has nothing wrong with him! It’s the school and that teacher! That’s the problem!


Jay Jay came home with another note today and the teacher called me. She says I must realise that Jay Jay might fail his grade. I’m devastated.


I cried all night. David was so angry when I told him about the note and the phone call. (He didn’t say it, but I think he blames me!) He got a book and told Jay Jay to read. The poor boy was so scared of his father that he couldn’t get a word out! What am I going to do? I can’t send my son into the world if he can’t read!


I’ve been thinking about my life. I’m sure that part of the problem is the way David and I lived before Jay Jay was born. We had to go to a lot of parties and I smoked from university. (But I stopped when I knew I was pregnant.) But maybe all the poison from the booze and cigarettes was still in my system. I feel so guilty!


David made an appointment with a psychologist for Jay Jay. I feel like crying. It’s all my fault and doctors are not going to do anything about it!


The shrink says Jay Jay is definitely dyslexic. He says he will do some sessions with us to help us to cope and there is medical treatment available that sometimes help. I’m so humiliated. What if he discovers that I caused it with all the partying I did? How will I ever look the family in the face? I am a failure as a mother… But at least now I know it is a lifelong medical condition that can be alleviated. That, at least, is some relief!


Some bloody nosy-parker woman at school today gave me this brochure for some reading clinic. Says it helped her son. Great, now the whole school knows Jay Jay is not normal! And anyway what does she know? Her child can read and write and do sport. He’s normal! Not like my poor, dear Jay Jay.


I don’t want to call them. What if they say I’m a bad mother? I don’t know what I am letting myself in for… What am I letting Jay Jay in for? But this is the shame I have to face — my penance.


I finally called this clinic place. They sounded really friendly and very professional. We’re going to see them next week. David won’t go with me and Jay Jay says he doesn’t want to go. I’m desperate!


We went for the assessment today. The people were really friendly and they greeted Jay Jay in such a nice way that he was completely relaxed. I wanted to grab them and scream how much I am worrying about this, but I didn’t. It took all my will power…


I don’t know what to think… The people at the clinic say that dyslexia is a myth. They said Jay Jay needs to commit to at least one year to 18 months of attending classes… But what if it is a scam? Surely the whole medical profession can’t be wrong about dyslexia?


I had to tell David about the assessment. And then I asked him: What do I tell my friends when I take Jay Jay to class? I cannot say to them my son is attending classes because I’m a bad mother. Or even worse — that there is something wrong with Jay Jay. David said to make the commitment, and to do this with a positive attitude and smile, and he will help!!


I don’t believe it! At the first class Jay Jay was almost crying when I took him in. He came out smiling. He says he enjoyed it and that he did 12 blocks correct. I don’t know what that means, but he seems happy!

11 MAY

It is now one month after starting with classes. Jay Jay annoyed me — he wanted to go to classes early to play that silly table soccer ball game and after class did not want to leave. I love my naughty boy when he is happy.


Jay Jay wrote his first exam after attending classes for more than 2 months. He passed! Some of his marks are improving and he is even studying on his own for the first time. He read a piece from a sports magazine to David. I think I raised a sports presenter!


No-one can believe their eyes! Jay Jay is like a new child! He’s been going to the Reading Clinic for almost 8 months now. His teacher says he’s like a different person. He reads out loud in class, and he’s become a bit of a leader amongst the children. He doesn’t sit at the back of the class day-dreaming anymore. I haven’t seen him cry about going to school once in the last four months.


I’m so proud of my son! Jay Jay is a beautiful boy and he’s very confident. My husband says he’s too loud, but I don’t think so. I think (hope?) that one day he’ll be an artist, or a musician… May be a doctor!


I wish I had taken him to the Reading Clinic last year already!


By Ben Kruger

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