We were at a party at our neighbor’s house this past weekend. Their house is visible from ours, but across the lake. Henry, our six-year-old son, was kayaking with another child when he decided to go home. She came back and told us Henry went home. No big deal to us; he manages himself well enough. We figured it was Lego time for him and we too would be headed home soon.
We continued to visit with friends, when someone asked, “Isn’t that your boat headed this way?” “Yeah, but I don’t know who is driving,” shrugged Steve. The boat continued at a respectful speed, and at about 150 yards out, Steve yelled, “Henry?”
A little bushy head extended over the windshield, “Yeah Dad?”
In case you are not familiar with boating, to get this far required untethering the bungees on both sides, moving skis and boards off the back deck, raising the engine hatch and confirming the drain plug was in, lowering the lift, starting the boat, reversing out of the slip, and then proceeding onward.
You could have blown Steve over with a feather. But he didn’t flinch. He calmly asked, “Can you dock it?” The other parents were laughing hysterically, and admiringly. Not at Henry, but at Steve. “Do you know what my dad would have done to me?” asked one.
I diverge from the story at hand, or a different story entirely I suppose. I must give kudos where they are deserved. My husband is the most non-reactive parent, and the confidence and security my children have in him is envious.
And so, Henry docked the boat at the designated buoy, tied up and swam to the dock. (The neighbor is so particular in ensuring that no one hits his dock, he has visiting boats tie up at a buoy 20 feet out and swim in).
This is just another great story of my life as the mom of Henry Bross. After the fun and laughs, Steve and I were reflecting on the event. He said, “You know he didn’t just learn how to do that from watching me? What he did required skill.”
This skill is called dyslexia. Most people don’t think of dyslexia as a skill. Many only recognize the weaknesses of dyslexia; but there are always corresponding strengths. In Henry’s case, he has spatial abilities far greater than age peers and mostly unrecognizable in a classroom setting. One major characteristic of a spacial learner is non-sequential learning. In other words, a spatial learner or a space kid just feels it, uses intuition, sees the big picture, not the typical order or because of repetition.
While there was conversation afterwards about safety and permission, encouraging his ability is our goal. In Henry’s own words, “I would have got in trouble if I floored it and did a 360!”
I figure enough people are writing about the weaknesses of dyslexia; I am going to compile a journal of the strengths of dyslexia as I see them through my son and call it the The Chronicles of a Space Kid. If for no other reason, it helps me gather my thoughts and stay grounded on what is important in life and parenting. I hope to offer a new perspective of how to see dyslexia with all its adventures and creations along the way.
Tags: the gift of dyslexia