Extra Effort Award: La Farge student overcomes dyslexia, aims to help others
The Courier Life News
Tanya didn't know it yet, but she had dyslexia.
Any student in school who is dyslexic is not struggling with dyslexia as much as the way the educational sysytem is rigged. Why does it take a famiy so long to secure services? --Lou
"....The frustration was immense Tanya recalled, especially when she saw her classmates progressing while she struggled to keep up.
“The kids would look at me and wonder why I wasn’t getting it,” she said.
Tanya didn’t know it yet, but she had dyslexia. She didn’t find out until she was in fifth grade, after a six-month testing process that shuttled Tanya back and forth between doctors at Gundersen Lutheran and her special education teachers at school.
“For a while, I was just coping,” she said. “But finding out was a huge relief. It meant I wasn’t doing anything wrong.”
Once Tanya knew her diagnosis, everything changed at school. The same students who wondered why she was struggling then became her tutors and eventually her friends as she worked hard to make up for lost time in class.
“The other kids became much more patient as they explained things to me,” Tanya said. “It brought me a lot closer to them.”
Working closely with Dene Muller, then the La Farge Middle School and High School special education teacher, helped Tanya begin to conquer her dyslexia. Through trial and error, they learned together which study techniques worked best, and Tanya began to excel.
“We incorporated a lot of movement while she was studying,” Muller said. “Tanya walked a lot through the halls with the flash cards she made. There’s something kinesthetic about writing the words that you’re trying to memorize.”
Now, as a senior, the student who struggled mightily with reading even a page of text is taking advanced-placement classes, volunteering at the elementary school three times a week and participating in forensics and drama...."