Dyslexia as a Child –
Do you remember round robin reading? You know, the kind where the teacher elects one student to start reading, and then that student gets to pick the next student to continue reading. I was such a poor reader I would struggle to sound out every word. It would take me at least twice as long as my peers. It was just painful. To make matters worse, as children would do, my peers would pick me, over and over again – with no one to rescue me. At the time, I didn’t consider dyslexia a gift.
Finding my Strengths
I am the typical dyslexic who has gone through the struggles. When I was young, I struggled mightily doing simple tasks, such as spelling words, learning my math facts and reading fluently. When other kids were doing tremendously well, it made me feel like something was wrong with me. I felt this way for many years. Everyone was moving ahead of me, and I was still stuck at the same level. Even in 7th and 8th grade, I was having a brutal time reading. I was made to read out loud and worse yet, had to participate in the spelling bee. The teacher read the word “lemon” for me to spell, but I thought the word “lime”. I even spelled lime correctly. Then, everyone laughed at me because the word was “lemon”. When I sat down, I felt like an idiot. I also remember sitting in Spanish class not having a clue about what was going on. I had enough trouble learning English, never mind learning Spanish. This was a long and painful time for me, but through my struggles, I eventually found my gifts.
Gift of Dyslexia
While dyslexia certainly made school difficult, the gift of dyslexia has allowed me to see the world in a different light. The gifts of dyslexia are as varied as being a great athlete, poet, philosopher, musician, scientist, politician, artist or entrepreneur. Dyslexia causes individuals to learn what it takes to become great at their craft, including perseverance, hard work, determination, empathy for others, charisma, outside-the-box thinking, ability to hyper-focus and a great imagination. These traits are generally not graded, let alone appreciated, in school. However, if dyslexics can survive the frustration, shaming, and bullying so common in their school years, the gift of dyslexia can help them become stars later in life.
Dyslexia and My Future
It has taken me a long time to realize, that despite my struggles with dyslexia, I have great strengths. These strengths have propelled me to work harder than all of my peers – in the classroom, on the athletic field and in life itself. I am very grateful that I possess the gift of dyslexia, because it has given me a tremendous competitive advantage as an entrepreneur, in the real world.
Lawrence G. Kloth Jr. is co-founder of Reading Success Plus, offering specialized tutoring programs for struggling readers and dyslexic students. Lawrence is dyslexic and happily reports he is now a college graduate. Learn more at: www.readingsuccessplus.com.