Reading and Dyslexia

Reading and Dyslexia

When one has a lot of free time, it’s hard to find stuff to keep one’s mind active. Trust me, I’ve tried it all. One of the suggestions that people always tell me is to read more books. “Well, yes… Books you say? Sure sure… Try reading many books when you have dyslexia.” is my usual response. But then again… how to overcome one’s challenges if not by facing them?

Yes! I have dyslexia. I bet that you probably have heard of it before, but you don’t quite understand what it means. That’s ok. Most people feel the same way. Let me help you. The official definition of dyslexia is:

“[…] a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.” –  IDA Board of Directors, Nov. 12, 2002

In other words, dyslexia is a learning disability that influences how some people read and write, despite how intelligent they may be. In fact, some of the most brilliant people evhave/had dyslexia. People such as Albert Einstein (scientist), Robin Williams (actor), Pablo Picasso (painter), Richard Branson (founder of Virgin Enterprises), Ingvar Kamprad (founder of IKEA), F. Scott Fitzgerald (novelist), and many more. If you’re curious to know if you might have dyslexia or not, the International Dyslexia Association has a really simple test you can take.

Personally, learning that I have dyslexia was one of the best things that ever happened to me. I remember often being called with my parents to parent-teacher conferences and being told that I wasn’t putting enough effort into school, or that I wasn’t living up to my full potential when I was working hard to get good grades and only failing. I ended up not caring about school because it was a waste of my time until, at the age of 15, I heard about dyslexia on TV, and they said there was a test that I could take to confirm it. Long story short, I have dyslexia. And this was a huge relief! I wasn’t dumb! Overall, my life changed a lot. I started trying more and taking my time instead of just rushing through tests and other things that involved reading/writing. I still prefer more practical activities, but I am now able to enjoy a good book. It’ll take me longer to read than what it takes most people, but I’m fine with that.

I’m pretty sure all of my closest friends are hardcore readers. And having dyslexia always made me feel bad because I couldn’t keep up with reading a book. But more recently, due to the immense amount of free time I have, I’ve been trying to read more. I’ve decided to read all the Sherlock Holmes books and short stories in the order that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote them; thus far, Study in Scarlet and  The Sign of the Four are keeping me hooked with the whole reading thing. But last week, my favorite Aussie invited me to read a book with her. And I thought to myself, why not? She always reads great books, and it would be an excuse to skype with her more often.

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We are now reading Bonjour Tristesse by Francoise Sagan. This book is about a teenager in very French-like family drama. This was Francoise Sagan’s first novel, which she wrote when she was 18 years-old and was published in 1954. I am really looking forward to reading it. I promise I’ll write you all about it once I’m done.

Thank you for letting me share my story with you. Being able to share a little about dyslexia means a lot. I would love to know if you had already heard about it, or if you know someone with dyslexia. Share it with me on the comment section bellow. And I will see you guys next time.

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