“The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way” ~ Marcus Aurelius.
I once read a book called “The Obstacle is the Way” by Ryan Halliday. I think back on it now recognising the impact it had on my journey. It was a book about overcoming adversity and turning obstacles into opportunities.
It’s funny how books seem to turn up in your life when you need them most!
I read it at a time when I was faced with what seemed like an insurmountable obstacle in my parenting journey. My son couldn’t read. He was getting older, and I was very much aware that the optimum window of learning was closing.
The obstacle that stood before me had a name. At the time, I called it dyslexia.
I tried so hard to move the obstacle out of the way, but it wouldn’t budge – I was told dyslexia was lifelong.
Time and time again the same methods to ‘fix’ the reading problems were applied but sadly the obstacle remained in place and the path forward remained blocked.
We couldn’t go round it and there was no way to avoid it. The ability to read independently was one of those lifelong skills my son needed to be able to cope with everyday life.
So, there we were – me, my child and the almighty obstacle that stood in our way.
At the time there were no answers. There were no quick fixes. In fact, there were no fixes at all for the difficulties my child had with learning to read.
My child was the unteachable child.
There was nothing wrong with the methods of reading instruction that were being delivered by the school or intervention programs at the time. These methods worked very effectively for most of the children but not all them.
Unfortunately, it was not compatible with the way my child needed to learn and there were other children too who were also struggling.
The neurological differences in the dyslexic brain meant that lesson information was unable to be processed effectively to the long-term memory in the way it was being taught.
It was no small obstacle. For years we’d been trying to climb what seemed like an impossible mountain. It didn’t matter who was involved or which way we approached my child’s intervention the obstacle still remained.
By now I was convinced the obstacle had to be the way.
But if dyslexia was the immovable obstacle, why were we still trying to fix it?
According to Albert Einstein, the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
Was the obstacle really dyslexia?
Although it may have seemed like it at the time, it turned out that dyslexia was not the obstacle.
It was the doorway.
A doorway that led to new understanding and the realisation that perhaps there was nothing wrong with the dyslexic brain.
Did we have it wrong? Perhaps the dyslexic brain works exactly as it’s meant to and it’s the way we teach the dyslexic learner that needs to change.
After all, an obstacle is only an obstacle until there is a solution.
And the solution is to teach the dyslexic learner to read in a way that is compatible with the way they think and process information.
This solution already exists.
I know because I created The Reading Switch Program for this very reason.
If you’ve been searching for a way to help your child with their reading progress, visit The Reading Switch to learn more about our online program and how you can help your child become a happy and confident reader.