COPPERAS COVE — Da’Laynna Young often complained about a stomach ache or soreness, but she wasn’t always sick.

The Martin Walker Elementary School fourth-grader simply hated going to school.

Her mom, Kristy Young, finally realized why after she was diagnosed with dyslexia, a disorder that interferes with the acquisition and processing of language.

“When she comes to school, she has to work harder than other students, so that can be very embarrassing,” Young said. “Her reading was not up to par for her grade level. Her writing was absolutely horrible. She just seemed to struggle (like when) you look at people and you can just tell they’re struggling.”

Young was among a cafeteria full of educators, parents and students at a dyslexia information session Monday at Clements/Parsons Elementary School.

Young is constantly looking for ways to help Da’Laynna cope with being at a learning level that’s different from her peers — ways to help her feel normal despite her dyslexia.

“I don’t have a lot of friends because of my dyslexia,” Da’Laynna said. “The one person that mostly encourages me is my friend, (fourth-grader) Becca Lampy. She’s always there for me.”

Even though she was tested for dyslexia during first grade, Da’Laynna said she finally was diagnosed at the end of second grade.

“They said, ‘No, no, no, no, yes,” she said.

Amber Diaz, the Copperas Cove Independent School District’s director of intervention and at risk, said dyslexia looks different in every child, but no matter the degree, parents should never give up.

“Every child is unique and we’re all going to struggle; this is one unique way that they struggle. The only thing that we know is that it’s going to get better,” she said.

“We have to understand the process and it’s going to take a little bit more, but never lose hope because dyslexic students can be successful in school.”

Young said she’s seen the district improve its efforts to help educate dyslexic students since Diaz arrived at the district.

“This is the best year she’s had so far,” Young said of her daughter. “She’s starting to show a little improvement.”

Diaz said she agrees that educators aren’t looking as early as they should for dyslexia. Starting this year, the district began an early intervention program where they identify dyslexic students starting in first grade, rather than third grade like they previously did.

“One of the things that we see is that when children go without dyslexia services, they’re the ones that continue to fail and drop out and struggle,” she said.

“Part of my program is to intervene to ensure that their children who are struggling with dyslexia characteristics ... (get help) and can be successful.”

Although she wishes reading and writing came easier, Da’Laynna continues to go to school and try her best. “It’s hard, but it’s getting better.”

Contact Sarah Rafique at or (254) 501-7553. Follow her on Twitter at SarahRafique.

I'm the education reporter at the Killeen Daily Herald. Follow me on Twitter at

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