Jaxlee is Learning to Read!!

When we lived in Orange County, we had a speech-language pathologist (SLP) that Jaxlee worked with. She is the one who spearheaded Jaxlee getting her words and had her evaluated for her AAC device. She is also the one who told me from the very beginning that Jaxlee is capable of learning to read. 

Where We Started

For some people, that’s hard to understand. Jaxlee doesn’t have any verbal language, but that doesn’t mean she can’t read! She can read in her head, so figuring out how she learns and how to teach her to read without being able to hear her say the words out loud requires specific support from someone who understands how she learns and could help her progress in reading.

Jaxlee is in third grade and she’s received one-on-one support reading specialists and all sorts of academic aid. She learns at a different pace than her “typical” peers and is nowhere near a third grade reading level. 

Ever since her SLP told me she was capable of reading, I’ve been on a quest to find that someone who could help Jaxlee learn to read. From grade to grade, I’ve felt this deep desire to find the support Jaxlee needed to be able to read. I knew they were out there, it was just my job to find them and make it happen. It’s been my mission as her mom to make sure Jaxlee has every opportunity to learn and grow, just like the rest of us.

A Miraculous Connection

Finding the right person to teach Jaxlee to read came out of a series of connections that I can only describe as the perfect, miraculous planning of the Lord. His provision for our lives has been so clear in specific moments when just the right people come along to love our Jaxlee, and this connection was no different. 

We finally found a specialist to work with Jax. She works at a local reading center and specializes in teaching deaf and hard of hearing people how to read. 

Though Jaxlee is not deaf or hard of hearing, this is the closest thing I have found in our area that fits her needs. Deaf and hard of hearing people don’t have the verbal, auditory sounds just like Jaxlee doesn’t have the verbal or auditory sounds. I’ve actually made this connection before (read about it here!) but never considered it would align in her reading journey. 

This woman has the skills and patience to work with Jaxlee and understands how people who can’t say the words out loud are able to read. She knows how to track her progress without hearing Jaxlee read the words back to her and it has been nothing short of amazing to witness! 

The Progress So Far

We’ve been taking Jaxlee to reading 3x/week for about a month now and the progress is truly mind blowing. The repetition and kindness of this tutor along with her experience and understanding of how Jaxlee learns has led to so much progress. 

In the summer, we’ll increase to 4x/week with her and I can’t wait to see how Jaxlee continues to grow. It’s been so encouraging to see her progress already and is fueling my fire to keep advocating for her right to learn! 

The best part for me as a mom is to see Jaxlee’s determination. She is excited about her progress and knows that this woman believes in her and I believe in her. She is fully capable and learning to read is a human right. I’ve told Jaxlee that learning to read means she can read emails and texts, books, and the Bible. She’s so excited for those accomplishments that her determination has not wavered. 

Hope for the Future

Just the other day, I asked the reading tutor what the longest she ever worked with a family was. I wanted to set some expectations for myself of what this reading journey could look like and how our family should prepare and adjust to support Jaxlee’s learning. 

She told me that the longest she worked with a student was NINE years. When he was a kid, he and his parents were told he would never learn to read. She worked with him for nine years and now, he’s graduating from COLLEGE this spring! 

Ah, what an encouragement!!! It brings me to tears imagining that Jaxlee could learn to read and graduate high school or college. If I get to take Jax to reading tutoring for 9 years and she is able to accomplish that (or whatever else the Lord has in store for her to accomplish), what a triumph! 

So we’re doing it. Three days a week, four for the summer, we are going to reading and I will take Jaxlee every time to make sure she has access to the learning she is worthy of. 

I am beyond grateful to the Lord for his provision in this amazing resource and connection we’ve made and the opportunities to come because of this sweet woman who has devoted her life to helping people learn to read. The journey as a special needs mom is far from easy, but it is also oh so rewarding in moments like these. 



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