I've been working on this blog for several weeks now. I had planned on the post going live during the month of May in honor of Better Hearing and Speech Month. But because of the style and topic, it took me a little longer to release it.
If you've read the "About Me" section from my blog, you know that I have three children. What you may not know is that two of my children have dyslexia. Over the years, I watched my children struggle with their learning disabilities. I advocated for their educational rights, and I dried many tears. In this blog, my daughter shares her story of growing up with dyslexia. She recounts her elementary years, talks about her struggles, and reveals her personal understanding of dyslexia. She also offers advice to other teens living with dyslexia.
The International Dyslexia Association defines dyslexia as "a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.”
What was it like growing up with Dyslexia?
"I didn't understand why it took me so long to learn how to read and spell. I remember having to work harder to read. I cried because all the other kids would be on different reading levels, and I would always have kiddie books."
Do you feel like your dyslexia affects more than just your reading and writing?
"My dyslexia affects my everyday life. I'm learning how to drive and I have to read road signs quickly. It's hard to read anything quickly. I have trouble memorizing things and reading numbers all around me. To this day, I still cannot read common words. I get letters and numbers mixed up to this day, and I'm 17 now."
I know that you were in music and dance classes. Did music and dance help you with your dyslexia?
"Learning music was so hard because I had to memorize letters, dots, fingering, and chords. I remember that I finally learned my vowels and vowel sounds when I learned to read music. Dancing improved my memorization and sequencing skills. Sequencing in dancing is like sequencing when I read. My reading becomes like a dance for me because I try and put it together in a pattern, a sequence, and a rhythm."
Is there anybody with dyslexia that you look up to?
"Yeah, Bella Thorne. Bella Thorne was a dancer on Disney Channel. I watched the video she made about her dylexia. That's when I realized I wasn't the only one with dyslexia."
Did you used to feel like you were the only one with dyslexia?
"I used to feel like I was the ONLY kid! Then I grew up and met more kids with dyslexia. A lot of my friends also have dyslexia. When I was little, I developed social anxiety and could not work in groups at school. Popcorn reading (also known as Round Robin) used to scare me a lot. I didn't know if I was going to stumble on words. I knew I was going to read slower than all the other kids. I really hated popcorn reading."
Do you have any advice for children or teenagers who have dyslexia?
"It's not going to be easy. It's always going to be hard, but you can learn new ways to learn. Just keep practicing reading, writing and spelling, and don't give up."
This blog post has been my daughter's personal story. I do not endorse any specific program, and do not advocate for any specific intervention. If you suspect your child may have dyslexia, seek a comprehensive evaluation. Reach out to your public school for a Free and Individualized Evaluation. Associated disorders can also be linked to dyslexia such as: ADHD, dysgraphia, sensory processing disorder, and speech and language impairments. It is important to have all the information you need to make an informed decision about your child's individual education program.
Do you have a story about dyslexia you'd like to share? Leave a comment or send me a direct email. I'd love to hear from you.
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