Sophomore learns to cope with differences

Story by John David Goins

“John David, it’s been an hour, and you haven’t even finished two pages of your reading homework. Is something wrong?” my mom would continue to ask me.

I would tell her that I was fine; it was just taking me a while to read it. I can remember being little and not being able to read the booklets we would get in first grade. It would take hours to finish my homework that was only five questions long, and everyday in class I would sit at the back to avoid the embarrassment from the other kids.

Finally, it got so bad that my mom knew something was wrong because I excelled in every subject except for reading and English. In the second grade I was diagnosed with developmental dyslexia and written expression disorder. This explains so much, no wonder I was such a dumb child.

My mom, ugh my mom, why would she make me go to therapy? I mean what if someone were to find out or see me go in to get help? My stupid defect. My stupid disease. Dyslexia.

All these thoughts were rushing through my mind so fast I was beginning to get a headache. I finally opened the door to see a smiling face. Not the creepy kind that gives you a bad first impression.

No, this is the kind that says I would never treat you like you’ve been treated. Never make fun of you, and never let you feel left out again.

Mrs. King, a dyslexic therapist, has been one of the biggest role models in my life, and without her, I would never have made it this far. With her strong will and her way of making things easier, I have proved the doctors wrong many times with papers that have given me a 4.0.

Now, no one even knows I’m dyslexic unless I tell them. It’s all thanks to Mrs. King, who taught me to use dyslexia to my advantage. She would always tell me that it was a learning difference and not a disability. She showed me how to use technology to improve my writing skills. With the computer, I don’t have to worry about the shape of letters or their direction. The computer also has the ability to read the papers that I have written back to me so that I can listen for mistakes in spelling and grammar.

In addition to my dyslexia, I also suffer from ADHD, which causes me to have even more trouble in reading. Sometimes I wish I wasn’t ADHD because I can never focus. However, it’s part of me and my personality.

Although being ADHD distracts me, making it take even longer to read–four times longer than anyone else in my classroom–I’ve learned to cope. Listening to audiobooks keeps me focused (though I still can’t focus because my little brother and I are constantly fighting). I’m able to go at a faster speed, and that keeps me from getting restless and distracted.

Those who think dyslexic people are stupid are wrong; we just have a different type of brain that is just now being recognized, and we’re able to blend in.