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Chapter 39 – Tabby (Ten years earlier)

“Are you sure doctor?” my mother asked.

“Yes Mrs Marsh, we are confident,” Dr Clarke told her.

It was my fifth visit to the GP this month. After what felt like millions of tests and a lot of psychologists, they had finally found out what was wrong with me.

“Dis-le-pi-ca,” I tried to say, sounding out each sound in the word the doctor had used to describe me.

I liked Dr Clarke. Unlike some of the other doctors I had seen, I felt comfortable around him. He seemed to actually care about me.

“No Tabitha,” Dr Clarke told me. “It is pronounced Dyslexia.” He sounded out the word to show me how to say it.

“Dyslexia,” I repeated.

“excellent,” he smiled as Dr Clarke turned his attention to my mother.

She was looking out her hands in her lap and breathing heavily.

“There is nothing to worry about Mrs Marsh,” Dr Clarke told her. “This diagnosis explains a lot about Tabitha, such as why her reading and spelling is not at the standard level for her age.”

“What happens now?” My mother asked Dr Clarke.

“Tabitha will need to have special needs learning classes,” Mr Clarke told us. “I have already called the school. One of the teachers will take Tabitha out of her regular class and help her with reading. There are certain tricks that Tabitha will need to learn to improve her reading.”

“Will she perform at standard level?” my mother asked nervously.

Dr Clarke shook his head. “Tabitha will probably never read at standard level. Even with the tricks and techniques we will teach her, she will still struggle.”

“Then what is the point?” my mother asked.

Dr Clarke looked towards where I was quietly sitting. “Would you like to wait outside while I talk to your mother, Tabitha?”

I nodded and left the room to enter the waiting room.

The waiting room was small with chairs along the edge of the room.

There were two boxes in the room. One full with toys and one full with books. There was also a television that was on. I ignored the television and moved towards the boxes. I reached into the box with the books and pulled one out.

My teacher Miss Janet was always telling me that I need to try harder with reading. She would call me lazy and tell me off for not trying harder.

A week ago she pulled me out of the class. The class was then taught math by Mr Donald. Miss Janet took me to the library and gave me one of the picture books. It was on books that the Preps read not the short novels read by Grade Twos. When it took me over an hour to read one sentence correctly, Miss Janet pushed the book out of hands and asked me why I was wasting her time. She told me that I need to work hard, or I would never read correctly. I told her I was trying hard to read and that I had been attempting to read a book every night. Miss Janet just told me to stop lying, she said that if I was actually telling the truth, I must be stupid as that would be the only reason why I couldn’t read yet.

I sat down on one of the chairs and opened the book and began to try to read it.

I was only on the first line when my mother exited Dr Clarke’s office.

“Tabitha, we'll be leaving soon,” she told me.

I nodded and returned to my reading.

My mother signed a few forms and paid for the session.

“Tabitha, we need to leave now,” she told me.

I closed the book. I had only managed to read a sentence of it. I placed the book back in the box and followed my mother out of the room.

We walked to the car in silence.

“Am I going back to school now?” I asked as I climbed into the backseat of the car.

“Yes, Tabitha,” my mother answered from the driver’s seat.

She turned on the engine and began to drive away from the clinic.

“How do you pronounce it again,” I asked.

“Dyslexia,” she answered me weakly.

“Dyslexia,” I repeated. “I want to make sure I say it right when I tell my friends.”

My mother quickly pulled over to the side off the road.

“What are you doing mum?” I asked in surprise.

My mother turned around and faced me. “You can’t tell anyone Tabitha.”

“What?” I asked confused.

“No one can know that you are dyslexia,” she told me. “Not Amelia, Katarina or Angelica.”

“Why not?” I asked

“They won’t understand Tabitha,” she told me. “They'll think that you are stupid.”

“They would?” I asked; I remember the day in the library. Miss Janet’s words ran through my head.

“Yes, Tabitha.” My mother told me. “You are a smart girl, but the other kids wouldn’t understand.”

“I won’t tell anyone,” I promised her.

My mother smiled sadly. “You are a good girl.” She then turned her attention back to the road and began to drive away.

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