Project D.E.B.U.N.K. - Dyslexia Educational Bandwagon, Uniting Noteworthy Kids!
FAMILY LETTERS:

Our extended dyslexic "family" is so important to us. We put the time into planning the trips to allow other families to find the support we so desperately wanted when we walked this journey the first time around. We hope that some of these stories will inspire and encourage you along the way.  Maybe you will see yourself or your child and gain hope and courage for the journey.  Thank you to all families that submit their story, we truly appreciate families helping families.

New Jersey Family
New Jersey Family
This letter is so painful for me to compose. While one may think their child would flourish in a specialty school for dyslexic children this first accomplished year was more than a rocky road. I need to express, purge this and then move forward. My sons new teachers all stated " it took years of emotional damage during his formative years, it will take at least a year for him to recover and rebuild his self esteem." I digress... Our 2014 Dyslexia gathering was a life changing experience for my son and our family. At the time of the trip my son was in total school refusal from anxiety. He was in fifth grade and stopped going to school the December before the trip. We had hired a special education lawyer and from just one letter of request for out of district placement for a dyslexia specialty school it was granted with no need to pursue the legal route. What may seem to be such wonderful news was muddied by the broken child the public school made of him. Prior to the first grade he was a brilliant happy kid without a care in the world. School slowly chipped away his confidence. I have to stop there for my tears are preventing me from seeing the keyboard on my phone. Years of social isolation. For days he would sit under his bed covers with a flashlight trying to read Harry Potter so he had some commonality to speak to his friends at school. to no avail... He was alone on his island and felt to be an outcast. We decided to go to the Dyslexia Family Gathering in Florida. I was so happy to hear about this trip. I asked all family members to give Christmas money towards the trip. I told my husband I wanted all gifts, Christmas, Valentine's day, mothers day and birthday all for this trip. And this was hard since I had to stop working in December. I went from working as an RN full time in third grade to part time and then on call only to self schedule. All because school experience and homework was so painful each and every day. Linda even put me in touch with another mom for emotional support. At the time I was so distraught at the computer. There must have been days I didn't even shower. I was literally in a fight for his life. We missed the first full day of the gathering. Because of his severe anxiety, my son refused to get in the car to go to the airport. I begged and fought with him to just trust me one last time. Please come on this trip. We will be with families just like us. I booked another flight for that evening. Last minute airfare was more than our previously booked round trip. I was not giving up! Linda spent so much time giving unconditional love and support prior to the trip. We were previously alone in a dark and stormy sea. Her son Matthew also spoke with me many times and offered to speak with my son. Initially my son refused. Matt started texting RJ. He sent him a picture of himself with the note. " no more stranger danger ok? My son finally agreed to speak with Matt. For how long I don't know. He was trying to help him get over his fear of flying to just get him down to Disney. So, on day one we missed Ben Foss. Unfortunately RJ missed his, I'm sure amazing speech, tailored to our kids who are fighting to get through every minute of the day feeling worthless. I still regret missing the first day. We also missed Harvey Hubbell. Yet he has been awesome and actually spoke with me a few times giving heart felt advice and Skyped with my son and I, to give words of empathetic wisdom as my son had not yet and still has not found his passion to feel life is really worthwhile. Really hard to write this and harder to live it. Yet, what we did experience was a chance to start over. For at this point my son wanted his life to end. LITERALLY. He had just turned 11 the day before the trip! Now to the good part. RJ listened to Jovan Haye tell of his plight. Still not buying into it UNTIL AFTER HIS STORY... RJ went from no eye contact and hateful glare at me for forcing him to be in a room filled with strangers to running and laughing with the other children. He happily listened to Dr. Hunt the next day without a complaint. I had many telephone conversations with Dr. Hunt who so generously gave his ear, time and advice prior to the trip. God Bless him. Words can not express how much he helped us. It was wonderful to sit with other families who were walking through the same inferno with silent and verbalized support. One in particular, saw the look on my son's face and sent her boy over to help my son feel like he belonged. The picture posted on this page is of one happy camper in The Animal Kingdom the day after the trip. The rain couldn't bring him down. As I was out of work for many months staying home with my son we had only enough money for one park pass. We stayed one more day and enjoyed the animals by ourselves. I wished he could have enjoyed the park with his new comrads. Yet we left with renewed hope and he was no longer alone on his misunderstood island. Thank you PROJECT DEBUNK for opening the door to a new life. My only wish is that we could have met many years earlier. Heather
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