I think a while back I posted a speech I gave at a convention about learning disabilities, which actually got far more views than I expected. In fact, so many that I wanted to investigate why this was. So I took to google and with a quick google search I found the reason why. There are so few posts and online resources which detail dyslexia from a teens point of view. There were countless links to scientific research which explained exactly what it is and several which aimed at teachers and parents but so few were real life experiences from people with dyslexia about things like the advantages and disadvantages (what my speech was focused on). I was pleased to know that people were reading my speech of course and that it had become one of the top google resources but also slightly dismayed. What I posted was meant to be a speech, not really an account of what it’s like to have and live with dyslexia. It was aimed at a very specific audience and made solely for the purpose of the convention, not one of my finest pieces of writing and not something which I think could be of amazing help to anyone trying to learn more about their dyslexia. I thought I best change this and do my best at actually writing a post aimed to help out teens coming to terms with their dyslexia.
So after that very long introduction, onto my story. I was diagnosed with sever dyslexia at the age of 10. When I first found out about my dyslexia, contrary to most people, I was actually pretty excited. One of my favourite book characters actually had dyslexia and at the time she was my idol and I only saw it as something which brought me closer to her. I didn’t fully realise the academic implications this diagnosis had. I think my parents took it the hardest though and viewed it as a “failure” on their part for not figuring it out sooner. Let me tell you though, having dyslexia does not mean in any way that you are a failure or that your parents have failed at parenting. That would be like saying you’re a failure for being double jointed, it’s just a part of who you are.
I started to see a tutor from then on who tried to help me come up with ways of dealing with my dyslexia. To be honest though it was pretty much a waste of time. She had me doing the most mundane activities which were in no way intellectually stimulating and just had me yawning rather than learning. So my parents found an alternative. I quit my school and joined a special school for children with learning disabilities. It was the best decision I could have made. I’m not sure it was even the learning really but just being in an environment with other kids who learned like I did and having teachers who knew so much about the ways my brain worked, things I didn’t know, was quite incredible. I got an amazing education there but sadly the program only lasted for two years and I was thrown back into “normal” school. This time though I had far more confidence and was able to actually start participating and learning to a fuller extent.
That brings me to the now. In the school i’m in now I achieve decent grades. There are some subjects which I still struggle quite a lot with (maths and some sciences). Yet there are others which I think my dyslexia helps me with since it gives me a different perspective on things (english and humanities). Another thing which I have found to be an advantage my dyslexia has given me is my abilities in speaking. Since I can not spell for the life of me (thank everything for spell check) I got so used to having to explain what I was trying to say through my words that I became a pretty good debater. On the other end of that though, yes, i suck at spelling.
I think the main thing I struggled with coming to terms with when it comes to my dyslexia is knowing that I could be missing out on potential which I could have. I know there have been plenty of studies showing that dyslexia doesn’t affect intelligence but I would be lying if I didn’t say that the idea that I could be achieving so much more, or the same level I am now just without so much work does plague me quite a lot. It’s something which I think about quite often in fact, what it would be like to be “normal”. It can be so frustrating sometimes seeing my friends put so much less effort into something to get the same grade I do for hours of work.
When it comes down to it though, I wouldn’t trade my dyslexia in for a “normal” brain though I don’t think. Dyslexia has opened up quite a few different opportunities for me and honestly, it has helped me achieve so many things which book smart couldn’t get you to.
So to summarise just some main points on advantages and disadvantages:
-It can take quite a while to understand concepts which seem to take others so little time.
-People are often uneducated on the subject of learning disabilities, so you might have to deal with a few choice names that these bigots come up with.
-Words and numbers need to be tamed before you can understand them (e.i they might try and run away off the page) but you just gotta catch them and then they usually give in.
-Others don’t see things the way you do. One thing could meaning something to you but then something completely different to someone else so it can sometimes be hard to get on the same page.
-Your learning style clashes with pretty much every school system there is so it’s down to you to do all the adapting.
-You have creative ideas which others often just don’t think of.
-You’re one step closer to being like famous people such as; Steven Spielberg, Mohammed Ali, Pablo Picasso and even Albert Einstein
-Once you understand something you can feel it click into place, so once you’ve got it, you’ve got it.
-You tend to have very particular strengths.
-You can get extra time on tests and the aid of a keyboard.
-You have to become a hard worker with incredible drive.
-You’re views can be different which leads to great conversation.
There are many more advantages and disadvantages but these are just the main ones which I find most prominent in my life. Of course everyone’s dyslexia is different and no two people’s minds work the same so I tried to keep this as general as possible but let me know if you could relate to any of these!