“She can’t read.”
Now that can’t be right. I look around the room, trying to catch my mother’s eye to let her know this can’t be true. First, they say my sister has dyslexia, and now she can’t read? Dyslexia, I did not know what it meant until my mom came home from a teacher’s meeting two weeks ago, and now my entire family knows what it is. Dyslexia and alphabet soup. It is all the same; me trying to make words out of the little noodles, the noodles swirling and not staying in the place I need them to, is how my sister feels every day. She is constantly wadding through her own personal alphabet soup.
After the school told us about her soup, they dumped a bunch of stereotypes on my sister, but the one they were most insistent on seems to be that she cannot read. However, my sister can read; we have been reading together every night since we found out how to turn the subtitles on our television. She has trouble, but I’m patient. I put myself into her alphabet soup, and I become the floatation device that pulls her up and over the side of the bowl. I do what the school couldn’t do. I look past the stereotypes of dyslexia. And I listen to my sister read. I help when she stumbles, and I don’t throw a stereotype at her because I don’t want to do the work that will help her thrive. The older I got, the more I realized it was not that she could not read. It was that the school did not know how to help her. They did not know how to help a student that simply needed a little extra push; they leaned on those stereotypes to make themselves feel better. They did not want to admit that their school was not made to help the students that were served a different lunch than the others. I finally catch my mother’s eye and say,
“She can read, can we go home now?”