We send our children to school with high hopes that they will make friends, do their best and grow into the amazing human beings we know they are.
The last thing we want is for our kids to be intimidated and shamed for things that are far beyond their control.
Dyslexia, often characterised by difficulty in reading and writing, has no effect on the actual intelligence of a child.
Children with dyslexia may need a little more attention and help when it comes to the books, but more often than not, they grow up to be perfectly capable readers and writers.
Dhruv Shetty – the target of vicious bullying – and his mother Deepika Shetty
Meet Dhruv Shetty (and his mother), an amazing little boy who has been troubled by dyslexia from a very young age.
A perfect example of how this condition has absolutely no effect on a person’s intelligence, Dhruv possesses a great sense of humour, has a solid hand when it comes to cricket and bakes his own bread (a feat I’m sure most adults have yet to accomplish).
Yet his mother, Deepika Shetty – also the Arts Correspondent for The Straits Times – posted a heart-wrenching and upsetting story on Facebook about how the children in her son’s school have been treating him.
Here’s what she had to say:
‘I came back beat from work one day and my son asked me for something rather unusual: “Ma, will you write about something for me?”. This is the kind of question that makes mothers across the universe worried, so I asked him what happened.
“Ma, the boys in school are bullying me. They call me the D boy. They say I repeated kindergarten. They say I am stupid. They say I am an idiot.”
Many of you have read many of my updates on my conversations with my boy many times. He is none of the above. He is a street-smart lad. He has an impeccable sense of humour. When he runs, he is Forrest Gump. He plays deadly cricket. He can make his own pizzas. He can bake his own bread. He can fry his own Bombay Duck.
Image Source: iStock
He is also dyslexic. On his bad days, he can’t tell his m’s from his n’s, his d’s from his b’s.
And as his parents we have known this since his first month in nursery. The fantastic Mrs. Roshmi, his first teacher and who had experience teaching children like him, spotted the issue and we got him help.
Over the years, he has improved. But he still has his good months and his bad months… like the rest of us. His report card does not read like his sister’s, which does not mean that he is any less special.
Yes, he gets Ds and that is nothing to be embarrassed about. If all the straight As of this universe could save this world, it would be such a perfect place.
There are many mothers like me across this globe. Our children get diagnosed with many things, some more critical and debilitating than dyslexia.
As I type this, I know there are children suffering from cancer. There are children who have Down Syndrome. There are hundreds of other things – some of which are obvious illnesses, others which are not.
They are all special. They are all our children and the future generation of our world.
Just because you have raised your child telling him or her that straight As are the answer to everything does not mean your child is a genius. Why? Because this straight-A child of yours is bullying a child like mine.
Image source: iStock
And when the bullying happens, this is what happens to the young victim. His stammer returns. His self-confidence drops and he starts to doubt himself.
Then, a mother like me has to spend weeks trying to tell her child that everything will be alright. That there is a whole wide world out there which isn’t bound by the limitations of m, n, b, d. That when he grows up, these letters will not matter.
What will matter is how he treats people. What will matter is his ability to laugh at himself and to make others laugh. And that is something he must never lose.
He has asked to write this. My lad. Because this is what he said: “Ma, you can write it in my diary. You can tell my teacher. But if you don’t write it, it will happen to someone else.”
If this is not genius, I don’t know what genius is.
I don’t ask people to do this but tonight I am going to ask you to share this update because no child anywhere in the world should ever have to suffer in silence.
My lad wouldn’t like it all. He is fearless. Just like his mother.’
Supportive comments from friends, family and mothers alike
Look at the heart and intelligence of this child, who amidst being bullied and made fun of, thinks neither of himself nor of getting back at the bullies.
He thinks only of making sure no other child has to experience what he is experiencing.
Proof, ladies and gentlemen, that conditions such as dyslexia have no influence whatsoever on the ability to think and perceive.
Our children should strive to follow Dhruv’s example as opposed to pointing fingers and laughing at things they are yet to understand.
And as parents, it is our responsibility to nip bullying in the bud by teaching our children compassion, humility and empathy…and that perceived differences in others are beautiful and not something to be ridiculed. Then and only then can we have some hope that this world will be a better place for our children.
Has your child ever experienced bullying at school or elsewhere? How did you handle the situation? We would love to hear your thoughts on this important topic so do leave a comment.