Sunday, January 16, 2011

God Is Good

God is good.  Really.  God is good

My son is struggling with reading. 
I am learning to be a special education teacher. 
I am taking a class in literacy.
I am also struggling to understand my son's challenges, and am trying to navigate the process for getting him some help. 

It's funny how all of these go together.  One of my favorite scriptures is Romans 8:28:  "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."  Jesse loves God. God loves Jesse and is working things out for him; for what is good for him.  Ultimately, God is working things out for His glory.  Taking care of Jesse brings God glory, because I fully intend to honor God for the work that He is doing in our lives.

After I posted that I am trying to look for ways to help Jesse, a friend offered some writing paper with raised lines to help him.  Another friend bought me a book on dyslexia that she picked up at Half-Price Books.  Today, I was doing my homework, and I read up on the Response to Intervention (RtI) Program as part of one of my online assignments.  We had an RtI meeting on January 4th. What is so interesting about all of this is that I had no idea that RtI is a program, or how it works.  RtI is a way for schools to monitor the learning of children in general education classrooms, and to identify ways to increase the academic success of students who are at risk of falling behind.  Essentially, it is a multi-tiered system.  One diagram that I saw in my classwork illustrated the program as a pyramid, with the largest area of the base as the 80-85% of the school population who succeeds academically in a general education classroom.  This group is called Tier 1 in the RtI framework.

According to the RtI model, approximately 15-20% of students will have difficulty in the general education classroom and will need additional instructional support, such as small groups or tutoring.  This group is called Tier 2 in the RtI framework.  Within Tier 2, most of the students will make significant gains and will not need additional instructional support.  This additional instructional support at Tier 2 is carried out by the general education teacher and perhaps other support staff, such as an instructional aide or a reading recovery teacher.  However, for the 5% or so of students who have learning disabilities or special needs that require additional support, there is Tier 3.  Tier 3 encompasses special education programs, which come in different forms.  Also, students in Tier 3 may still receive instruction in the general education classroom.  Jesse is currently at Tier 2, where he is receiving modification in his instruction.  His teacher is carrying out these modifications, and the reading teacher at his school has been observing him to see if she has any suggestions for helping Jesse with reading.  A school district psychologist will come observe Jesse while he is in class to see if he thinks Jesse has any type of learning disability, such as dyslexia, that would necessitate further assessment. 

For now, Jesse is reading on a second grade level.  His spelling and handwriting are another matter.  I am interested to see what the RtI team at school will suggest at our next meeting.  That meeting will take place in early February.  Had I known all of this information prior to our RtI meeting in January, I might have reacted differently to the team's suggestion that Jesse would not receive a team evaluation for three months.  While I see the need for the process to move faster, my understanding of the RtI model is that the instructional modifications/strategies that occur at Tier 2 must be given time to see if they will work for the at-risk student.  If Jesse does benefit at this level, then we will not need to take the process further, nor will he need to be admitted into the special education program. 

Before today, I viewed this process very differently.  Had someone explained to me how the process works, I would have felt a bit better about, well, everything.  When his teacher told us that Jesse was behind, and that perhaps he had some type of learning disability, I assumed we went straight over to the reading recovery program or to dyslexia therapy, or something.  All I heard was dyslexia, much like those who hear a diagnosis of cancer only hear that word and nothing else.  I still do think that Jesse needs additional help, but now I see the method behind the madness, so to speak.  I am thankful that God has given me this insight.  I definitely believe His timing is perfect.  I have had moments of doubt about the timing of my going back to school, and now I see that it's all going according to plan.  I get it.

So, anyway, God is good.  Really.  He's working things out for your good, too, if you love Him.  Don't forget that part.  God's good looks differently for each of us, because each of us are unique.  There are those who would say that if God is truly good, He wouldn't have given Jesse the challenges that he has.  Well, maybe that's part of the goodness of God.  The book that my friend gave me today has a funny title:  The Gift of Dyslexia.  Hmmm.....

And now for something completely different...

Congratulations to The Colony High School Cougars Wrestling Team for their First Place win at this weekend's Cougar Classic! My Jacob is on the far left, and our pastor's oldest son, Marcus, is on the far right.  Great job, Guys!

Many blessings,



  1. What an experience for you and Brian. I am surprised that his learning disability or dyslexia shocked you. I have always thought you were and are a very strong person and with your background, well that you would just take it all in stride. I guess after dealing with autism, a learning disability is a walk in the park. I'm sorry that you are having to deal with the unknown, but I have no doubt that God is leading you and Brian in the right direction. You and your entire family have my prayers. Your right, God is good and God is good all the time.

  2. Hey, Robin:

    It isn't certain that Jesse has a learning disability, and that's probably one of the hardest challenges for me. I don't do well with the unknown. I'm a terrible "fixer" and want to try to repair things that I perceive as needing to be fixed. It's because of my background in early intervention that I can tend to be aggressive in my outlook. When I heard the term 'dyslexia', I wanted to know right then if Jesse had it and how to help him deal with it. Any learning disability or challenge is hard for a parent--mainly because of the way that children with l.d. struggle emotionally. No one wants to feel 'dumb', and Jesse's reading/spelling/writing challenges have shaken his confidence these last two years. We just want what's best for him. Thanks for praying, God bless, Jen