My journey with dyslexia began in the fourth grade. My mom spoke to me at dinner one night and told me I was going to be taken out of the classroom for some tests. “Peyton, you will be tested for dyslexia.” I cried. I cried for hours. I did not want to be the student who had to sit at the table with the teacher or be pulled out of other activities to learn how to spell or read. I wanted to be like everyone else.
Having dyslexia means I have a challenging time spelling out words, reading fluently and mix up my letters or numbers. Many who have this learning disorder have a tough time staying focused and learn best by visual or hands-on activities. This is me.
Throughout grade school, I had to work twice as hard, read twice as much, use the dictionary more than any other students and most definitely check my work. But that process became my new sense of “normal.”
Growing up, I let dyslexia define who I was. I would avoid my peers’ questions about why I was reading a lower-level book or doing extra math problems. I hated being a part of that group that had to do extra activities, but I knew it was to better myself. Although I was taken out of class while constantly wanting to be like everyone else, I knew this was part of my dyslexia plan and it was meant to better my overall learning experience.
Part of my dyslexia plan was to have extended time to take tests, quizzes or even do homework. Trying so hard to be normal, I made sure I was always finished within the original time frame.
Entering high school, I felt a since of realization that having dyslexia wasn’t a bad thing. It didn’t mean that I was dumb or stupid, dyslexia just meant having to work harder, be more careful and pay attention. Math and English were my two hardest subjects, and I struggled with them every single day. Spelling tests were the worst, and on math tests, I often missed problems because the numbers were backwards.
A junior in college now, dyslexia has been a part of who I am for a long time. I have accepted it, and take it with stride. I still have my older friends read my papers, it still takes me a long time to read articles and I still may say words backwards every so often, but I have accepted it and found ways to help myself, instead of letting my struggles take over.
Dyslexia doesn’t define me anymore. Many of my peers don’t know I have it because I don’t let it define who I am as a student or as a person.