Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I can see clearly now

My friend Kym loves her daughter Elle, but over the past few months you could hear the pain and frustration in her voice when she spoke about her. Elle is bright, articulate and just plain "on the ball." And she does a pretty good job of keeping Kym in line.

Elle was dreading each school day. She made excuses for not doing homework assignments. She was having a tough time concentrating in class and staying focused. And reading! Ugh! It was a battle all the way. Elle's reading level was noticeably lagging behind other children in her class — children of which she was intellectually superior. But she just couldn't get it. She had a hard time distinguishing one letter from another. She shunned and even threw books aside in disgust. Teachers voiced their opinions and offered their own diagnoses — dyslexia, learning disability and a number of other scenarios that had Kym at her wit's end.

Kym scheduled consultations with specialists, all of whom recommended long series of tests — none of which Elle wished to be subjected. She just wanted to read like the other kids. Kym was frustrated. Elle was frustrated.

Then, Elle started telling her mom that she couldn't see the whiteboard at school. While driving with Kym, Elle said she couldn't see objects in the distance. Kym decided that a trip to a pediatric optometrist was in order. An appointment was made and after an examination, Elle was presented with a prescription for corrective lenses. Kym took Elle to a local optician and, as they looked at the hundreds of selections, Elle thought it was pretty cool.

A week later, Kym took Elle to pick up her new glasses. There were some last minute adjustments to the frames. Kym paid and they left the store. Elle put her new glasses on, opened her eyes wide and surveyed her surroundings.

"Mom," she said, her voice tinged with an excitement that had been absent for months, "I can see the leaves!"

Kym was elated and relieved.

That night before bedtime, Elle began reading a book — all on her own. 

And she was happy.

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