Overcoming dyslexia was like deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphics.  For eight years, I had mild developmental dyslexia that affected my reading skills.  I remember seeing some of the letters backwards when I read.  For example, the letter h would turn into a number 4.  At the same time, I saw some words clearly.  However, I spent more time trying to figure out the meaning of those scrambled words and letters.  When I saw other read quickly, I thought they were geniuses.  They had somehow managed to unlock a code that baffled me.

What I did not know was that most of the students in my class saw the words and letters the way that they should.  I was the one who saw some of the words and letters incorrectly.  Overcoming dyslexia helped me see the words and letters clearly just like my classmates saw them.  When I was able to overcome my dyslexia, I finally saw the difference.

Dyslexia is one of the most common learning disabilities.  This disorder has nothing to do with a lack of intelligence.  In fact, children with dyslexia usually have average intelligence and some even have higher IQ’s than other children.  According to a Yale study, 20 percent of people worldwide have dyslexia.

Unlike some learning disabilities, dyslexia is not caused by socioeconomic factors, this disorder can affect every class and social group.  Research has shown that one of the causes of dyslexia is linked to genetic factors.  Dyslexia is a neurodevelopmental disorder.  The following genes have been associated with dyslexia:  DCDC2, KIAA0319, chromosome 6 and DYX1C1 on chromosome 15.  Oswald Berhan first clinically dyslexia in 1881.  Rudolf Berlin, who was an ophthalmologist in Sttugart, coined the term dyslexia in 1883.

There are many scientific ways to describe dyslexia.  However, I can describe this disorder from a human perspective since I had this condition for eight years.  Even though dyslexia affected my reading skills, it really taught me how to be a good listener.  Sometimes, I was not able to follow the directions clearly because I could not read them well.  At other times, the teacher scolded me for not following the directions, and I was punished.  I loved being punished because the repetitiveness of writing a word over and over again helped me learn.

Due to my dyslexia, I had average and sometimes even poor grades.  I was very lucky that my parents did not punish me or yell at me for not getting straight A’s or B’s.  The worst thing parents can do is to punish their child for getting bad grades.  This tactic really does not help a child that has a learning disability that takes time to overcome.  What children with dyslexia really need is parents who support them.

Even though my grades and low test scores did not reflect it, I was a wonderful student in many ways.  Always a good listener, I found ways to interpret books that surprised the librarian.  I had a complex mind, even though I had trouble reading words on a page.  Baffling my teachers, I always came up with the questions that were hard to answer.  I had a learning disability and at the same time I had a gift.

Like many children with dyslexia, I had trouble pronouncing words.  A specialist pulled me out of class for an hour to help my pronunciation skills.  She had the patience to read together with me.  It was really tedious having to repeat the words again and again until I could pronounce them well.  I learned through repetition.  Thanks to my instructor’s patience and excellent teaching skills, my reading improved every year.

When I took a standardized test, I felt frustrated.  I was a slow reader and really never had time to finish the exam.  I looked at the clock on the wall, and the hands of the clock seemed to be moving so quickly.  On the positive side, my test scores did show a little improvement every year.

The eight grade was by far the best year.  I was finally seeing the words on the page clearly.  I remember reading the work, A Wrinkle in Time, in its entirety without having to stop.  Since I finally saw the words and letters clearly, there was no longer a need to stop.

After I graduated from eight grade that was the first summer in my life that I really read.  The best part was that I read for pleasure.  My father had a collection of Reader’s Digest condensed books.  I read two stories from his Reader’s Digest condensed books:  Arnie the Darling Starling and If We Could Hear The Grass Grow.  At a flea market, I also searched for paperback books.  I found the book Out on a Limb, and I also read it.

Overcoming dyslexia truly showed me that reading is one of life’s greatest pleasures.  To read is to take a journey that lasts an entire lifetime.  Overcoming my dyslexia helped make reading much more special.  Reading is a gift that I will cherish my entire life.  Those who overcome dyslexia never take the ability to read for granted.

During National Dyslexia Awareness Month, I am writing about overcoming dyslexia to help other children who have this disability.  I am informing the parents of dyslexic children to never lose hope in their children’s ability to learn and always support them.  Your dyslexic child is smart and has a remarkable mind.  Have plenty of patience and never lose hope.  Eventually they will overcome the challenge of dyslexia.  Once your child becomes an avid reader, you will see how truly gifted they really are.