For me, dyslexia is barely understanding what dyslexia is.
My history with dyslexia goes way back to when I was in Kindergarten…
But lets talk about what triggered me to write this blog post. I was watching a YouTube video. The contents of the video isn’t as important as what I took from it, so I won’t go into too much detail.
While I was watching this video, I found myself squinting really hard at the TV while simultaneously trying to understand the overall message in the video. Sometime during the video, I turned to Hannah to say “this literally doesn’t make any sense.” And that’s the point, what was being said didn’t make any sense. It didn’t make sense because I was trying to read a statement designed to not have a clear message.
So what happens when a piece of text is designed to not have a clear message. Dyslexia hell is what I called it.
To read with dyslexia often feels like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
I read and read and read only to find the message after what feels like 100 attempts. And that’s if I figure out the message at all. Frustrating is an understatement. As a result, I usually avoid reading long paragraphs. I even avoid reading as much as possible because of the challenges I face when I try to read.
Dyslexia has nothing to do with my level of intelligence. I’ll say it again, it’s unrelated.
I realize that some people with dyslexia have faced horrible challenges. As a result, some people can feel self conscious about their intelligence level because of dyslexia. My dyslexia (I say “my” because I am referring to my own experience with dyslexia.) Was basically hidden from me. During all of my schooling years, I was in a program called IEP (Individualized Education Program.) The IEP was awesome while I was in elementary school, and not as helpful during the rest of my school years, but I didn’t know why I needed it.
So how did I make it to age 21 without knowing I was dyslexic?
My parents are amazing and I will never blame them or anyone really, but I was never told I was dyslexic. My parents were told that I had “a specific learning disability” but i’m not sure they knew what that actually meant. From talks with my parents, they were told that I would face some challenges with reading and comprehending my class work but honestly, what does that even mean?
My parents were told by my schools that all would be taken care of through the IEP but I wasn’t being taken care of, I wasn’t learning anything and my parents never knew the scope. My parents did understood my challenges and tried to support me in any way that they could but I can’t imagine how challenging that would be without a specific diagnosis.
I went through several diagnostic testings over the course of my school years and I was the only one who didn’t know why I was being tested.
I have made horrible grades since I was seven years old. Luckily, I was fortunate enough to have been in a place where someone recognized my challenges and suggested I seek further answers. But why was I never included when it came time to give the answers?
I was 21 years old when I decided to dig up my old IEP records and the records from all of the testings and that’s when I saw years of D’s and F’s and nearly cried. I felt that I was struggling more than my peers at every moment and all along, there was a reason written down on paper.
Once I saw my diagnosis, I started utilizing google to the fullest extent and the term dyslexia kept popping up.
I then looked into what dyslexia was and I had nearly every “symptom” WTF?? I’m dyslexic and I didn’t even know! I then started asking my parents a lot of questions about my IEP and the testings and they didn’t seem to understand any of it. I told them that I felt I was dyslexic and they suggested I get tested again. This time, I Skyped with a dyslexia expert and was later diagnosed with dyslexia at 21 years old. I’m 23 years old right now. So i’ve known about my dyslexia for nearly 3 years now yet my history with it dates back to when I was first learning to read.
Honestly guys, I’ve never been more relieved than I am now to have diagnosis. Dyslexia has been a silent aggressor in my life since I was 5 years old. For me, having an answer feels like freedom.
Peace & love,