The month of October holds special meaning for me, more than you might realize.
For many of us, when we think of October, we think of leaves turning, nights getting longer and colder, drinking apple cider — hot or cold — pumpkin patches, hayrack rides, haunted houses, and Halloween.
In addition to all this, October is National Chiropractic Awareness Month, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Dyslexia Awareness Month, and the third week in October is Irlen Syndrome Awareness Week — all of which are very near and dear to my heart.
As you may recall from my previous blogs, I started as a chiropractic patient myself from about age four or five, and it became a way of life for my family and me.
Some of you may not know that in 2009, I raced a pink VW Bug in Hayden, CO, to help raise awareness and money for a dear friend who was battling breast cancer. I wrote about this experience in my October 2020 blog.
Last month, I shared on WellingtonWellnessClinic.com about Irlen Syndrome and my personal journey with that.
Many people don’t realize that I also suffer from dyslexia. Dyslexia is not just about reading and writing letters backward. It is the way a person processes those letters and words. For example, rather than flipping letters forward and backward, my dyslexia was more of an up-and-down reversal. To this day, I will find myself intending to write or print a p and instead making a b.
Through lots of patience and practice, I have learned to adapt and overcome many of my dyslexia-related learning difficulties. I was blessed to have a mom who was an elementary teacher and was available to help me with my learning disabilities. My mom was the one who recognized I was having reversal issues and copying issues when I was in third grade. Testing was pretty basic at the time, and my school, being very rural, was unable to provide me with any aid. I am grateful that my mom had the education — and love — that I needed to help me through my school years because there was no other help available to me at the time.
In my senior year of high school, I asked my parents about getting further assistance with my learning disabilities. That’s when I had my first screening for Irlen Syndrome, though I don’t remember being told that’s what I was being screened for. I just remember colored plastic sheets being put over the white paper with black print and comparing which color made reading easier.
Later, I was prescribed special tinted glasses, which I wore for a while, but eventually discontinued wearing, as do many people with Irlen Syndrome when the “why” behind the treatment is not explained. I go into great detail about this journey in my life in my most recent blog post for Wellington Wellness Clinic.
While attending Logan University in the Chiropractic program, I discovered a whole new world of chiropractic techniques — including ways that chiropractic can help dramatically with learning disabilities like those my son and I have struggled with. Unfortunately, this is not common knowledge.
Since then, I have studied these techniques extensively and have received many certifications in this area.
My dad suffered from dyslexia/visual processing disorders his whole life. When I gave him his first cranial treatment, he was 58 years old. It was a life-changing moment for him. I was just learning cranial adjustments, and I had my notes beside me as I performed what was to be my first cranial adjustment outside of class. Dad loves to share what happened next — he could not get over how much clearer his vision was, and how much easier it was for him to read. The words on the page stopped moving, and he could easily process what he was reading. Now, almost 20 years later, you will often find my dad with a book in hand, thanks to my cranial treatments. Those treatments helped him gain the ability to finally read just for the pleasure of it.
As someone who has struggled with these issues my entire life, I understand the everyday battle of living with learning disabilities/processing disorders. You learn to adapt, and you find help where you can. Growing up, the only real help and support I got was from my family — imagine how difficult that was.
Nowadays, there are a lot more resources available, like the Dyslexia Foundation of Western Colorado, a nonprofit that works to help families and students here on the Western Slope. They have been a lifeline for us, and I would encourage you. If you’re not sure whether your child has any reading issues or even math issues, feel free to contact them at 970-208-5432.
They are here to help you and your family get the support you need. We are very fortunate to have an organization like the Dyslexia Foundation of Western Colorado in our community.