My Dyslexia Story

   I was born and raised in Spokane and come from a family of 9 kids. I have an amazing husband of 36 years, two kids, and two grandkids. But the biggest thin I want you to know about me is I am a 59 year old who has struggled with dyslexia all my life. Dyslexia is a wilderness that has surrounded me as long as I can remember. It has been a source of pain, anxiety, depression, and doubt, but it’s also the reason I am here right now. I know it played a part in shaping and moulding me into what I am today, a person I am slowly but surely learning to love and embrace.
    I want to share my story with the millions of people who are also in the same wilderness that is dyslexia. It has had a big impact on my life and the journey has not been an easy one. The advocates I have had over the years have been few and far between. Whether it is a lack of understanding, funds, resources, or sometimes lack of compassion, more often I forge on without direction or support. Through that I see the importance of being your own advocate.
    School was dismal at best. Classes for me involved card games, wood working, home economics and PE. Teachers would give me the text books and tell me to copy the answers from the back. I was isolated from grades 3-12, segregated from the rest of my peers. For instance, I had no idea who Harriet Tubman was when having a conversation with my daughter. When other students were learning this, I was being encouraged to cheat my way through the curriculum.
    Despite the disabilities, it was decided I would skip 9th grade. According to the school district, I was socially ready for high school, so they sent me off to prepare me for the working world.
    At age 15 I held a babysitting job from 12-3 then went to a nursing home where I volunteered a couple hours a day. It was here I discovered my love of working with the elderly. At 16 I was working a full-time job at the nursing home. I no longer attended classes at school, but I did graduate and receive a diploma. On one hand I felt so undeserving of that piece of paper, but I also knew I was lucky because I had a job.
    Throughout my career I have taken low paying positions. I call it my comfort zone. I felt comfortable being in the background. I could hide my dyslexia to avoid embarrassment. Deep down I longed to come out of the background, but never know how to conquer that mountain.
    Today, the working world continues to be a struggle. It’s time to bring attention and awareness to this disability. Time to advocate for those who might struggle. I want to help them win the war that I have called my own for years.
    The dyslexia struggle holds too many people hostage. More needs to be done. We should be concerned for our children’s education – the future depends on it.
   Children with disabilities should be able to attend mainstream schools, and get their educational needs met. Parents should not have to pay for outside resources, college becomes that much more unobtainable when the resources get eaten up in high school.
    Just a few years ago I worked in a resource class at a local school. Things have not changed much. The system continues to isolate students, overwhelm teachers and allow students to slip through the cracks. I want to bring dyslexia to the surface, to better understand what it is – not just in schools but in communities too.
   Although I am 59 years old, I’ eager to move forward, build my skills, learn new speaking techniques and share my passion for supporting the learning disabled community.  If you find yourself in a similar struggle, consider joining our Facebook group just for people with dyslexia. Meet others dealing with the same thing and we can work together to help people become more confident, and find resources that can help everyone on their journey.