It came to my attention that it was National Learning Disability Month. This is the first time I have shared my diagnosis of dyslexia publicly, maybe you can understand now why I am so bad at spelling :) . Recently I wrote an article for the Nebraska Dyslexia Association that was also included in the Lincoln Kids Newspaper. So here it is.....
I remember our reading groups in first grade. There was the advanced group, the normal speed group, and the slower group and no matter how hard I tried I was always in the slower group. I would sit there and wonder why I could never get to the level of reading that my friends were at. I was always labeled as a slow reader. There was never a reason to question it further because my grades were always in the honor roll range. Fast forward to the fall of 2013 as I began my freshman year of college at Regis University in Denver Colorado.
At the age of nine I was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes and, because of this, I take all of my tests in the disabilities center. As I was setting up my testing accommodations with my coordinator she asked if there was anything else she could help me with. I pondered for a moment and responded with “I read really slow”. Caught off guard she began to ask me about my struggle with reading. Together we came to the conclusion that I should look into being tested for a reading disability. I completed the testing a few weeks later and the results were as expected. My IQ is ranked as “high average” and yet my grades failed to reflect that, especially when it came to the ACT. I was told that I had a moderate reading disability, reading at the speed of a seventh grader. The school granted me audio books, which cut my homework time by over half, and extended time to complete my tests. I completed two of the hardest semesters of nursing school with a cumulative 3.5 GPA.
It was not until I returned home for a little summer break in Lincoln that I finally put a name to my reading disability. My mom told me one night that we were going to attend a movie about dyslexia hosted by the Nebraska Dyslexia Association. I was confused and adamant about the fact that I was not dyslexic. I never flipped numbers around or read backwards. As I sat through the “The Big Picture” there were pieces I related to and pieces of the film I did not. I soon learned that dyslexia is a spectrum and everyone has different components to it. This whole new world of dyslexia for me is huge. I am still in the process of learning what it all encompasses. It is nice to have a label for something I have struggled with for so many years and at the same time it is hard to accept. With having Type One Diabetes, I can work on my management to have my blood sugars as close to normal as possible. With Dyslexia, there will always be a component that I cannot change or make more “normal”. I will always struggle with reading and spelling and writing and memorization. However, at the same time people with dyslexia are known for their creativity. So as I face this new journey I will use the gift I have been given as my motivation and not my crutch. Acceptation and adaption is what will help me, us, to thrive.