Being dyslexic is part of who I am. I don't hide it or neglect it. I embrace it.
The academic life people with language-based learning disabilities endure and how we fight back.
In second grade, I started to realize I was a pretty bad reader. I watched my friends breeze through chapter books, while I was still struggling with picture books. I felt so discouraged and dumb. It was the absolute worst feeling I have ever felt. Knowing this, my mom would help out in class and we would practice my reading, but I wasn't getting better. Why wasn't I reading just as well as my friends? Why did I struggle so much with understanding the story? Why was I taken out of class three times a week to work on my reading? What was making me different from everyone else?
I was diagnosed with dyslexia when I was third grade. For those who don't know, dyslexia is a language-based learning disability (LBLD). It can be different for everyone. And no, I don't read upside down or backwards. Here is an example of my dyslexia. When reading, I tend mix up similar looking letters such as d, b, and p. Also when reading or writing, I tend to mix up words that look and sound similar, such as their, there, and they're. Luckily for me, my parents knew I needed help academically in order to conquer and accept this disability. They fought for me, harder than anyone I know.
I am so fortunate that I got to go to one of the best private schools for children who have language-based learning disabilities. Landmark School is one of the best LBLD schools in the United States. Kids from all around the world try to go to that school. The teachers and programs are incredible. This school did more than just get me through high school. It made me the hard working, determined student I am today.
Landmark gave me confidence in myself and confidence in my difference. At the end of the day, that's what it is. It's a learning difference. I'm not getting a leg up in class, I'm leveling the playing field. Being dyslexic is part of who I am. I don't hide it or neglect it. I embrace it. Don't let anyone ever tell you that you are stupid. Because you aren't. You actually are highly intelligent.
Going into third grade, my teachers were saying "this girl will never make it to college". Well here I am in my sophomore year at a university. And ready for this: your girl is dyslexic, majoring in English.
About the Author:
Brooke Williams is a graduate of Landmark School. She's currently majoring in English at Salem State University.
This post previously appeared in https://www.theodysseyonline.com.