When I was a kid I was label as different or “special.” At a very young age I was ‘diagnosed’ with a learning disability. I struggled with reading, writing, achromatic and pretty much anything that had to do with school.
Dyslexia is a broad term defining a learning disability that impairs a person's fluency or comprehension accuracy in being able to read, speak, and spell, and which can manifest itself as a difficulty with phonological awareness, phonological decoding, orthographic coding, auditory short-term memory, and/or rapid naming. Dyslexia is separate and distinct from reading difficulties resulting from other causes, such as a non-neurological deficiency with vision or hearing, or from poor or inadequate reading instruction.
It pretty much means a person with dyslexia has problems reading and comprehending symbols such as letters and numbers. When I was in elementary school and we were just learning to write and read if you held my hand written name up to a mirror you could actually read it better. Twenty some years ago they didn’t know what to do with a kid like me, so I got jammed into the “Special Education” classes. I did need extra help, that was for sure, but not the way they thought. The classes made me very lazy and it took a long time for me to finally understand how to read and write. My parents were lost as well. Thankfully they hired a wonderful home tutor to help me get through my struggles.
I have a lot of difficulties getting through elementary and middle school, suddenly in high school something clicked in my brain. I pretty much taught myself strategies for reading and writing that worked for me. Most of my teachers from grade school told my parents that they didn’t believe I would make it through high school. I made sure to prove them wrong. I graduate with honors with a 3.8 grade point average. I had made it.
Color coding seriously has saved my learning ability. I didn’t realize it until years later but I used to use multi colored high lighters for everything I was learning. If I was in a play my script was covered in marker and colors. My eyes could focus better of the colors then it could the words and it helped my brain process the information. In the past few years I’ve talked to parents of children with the same problem as me, and they also use color coding to help get through their studies.
I do sometimes worry that Aurora will have the same struggles as me. I remember it being very difficult and painful, I watched as my friends learned in school and I couldn’t. I was bullied with the best of them, called names, shoved into lockers, even pushed down a flight of stairs. It’s a hard reality but sometimes kids just don’t understand. I’m just thankful I went through it, and have learned from it so I can teach Aurora, or the new little one, how to handle learning a little bit better. There are also different levels of the learning disability; some people need a little help, some a lot. Just like everything else, each case is different for every person.
Some people think that people with learning disabilities are stupid and slow. I have found this to be the complete opposite of the truth. Most of them have better knowledge and interesting things to say than any other “normal” person I’ve meet. Is it because they have to work harder to gain the information they know? I have no idea. I wear my dyslexia on my sleeve as a proud badge of honor. I used to be completely illiterate, but now I’m working my way through college and enjoying writing and blogging as much as I can. It might take me longer to do things than others, but it doesn’t mean I can’t, it just means I get to work harder as something I love to do.