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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

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Letter to the Editor
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Dyslexic junior follows passion, learns tricks for reading

When I was in kindergarden, I was diagnosed with dyslexia, a learning disability that construes words and letters so they are difficult to read. The doctors told my parents to prepare for having a “dumb” child, and not to expect good grades, even in elementary school.

But, my mom was committed to teaching me that having dyslexia was not an excuse that I could use in order to slack off and receive bad grades. She worked with me every day to teach me numbers, letters and how to read. Lucky for me, I also have a partial photographic memory, so memorizing was easy.

I also love learning; it’s one of my passions in life, which I believe is why I have been able to receive good grades in school. But while growing up, I was often embarrassed when I was forced to admit I had dyslexia to my friends and especially my teachers.

Due to my high grades, people often didn’t believe me. They thought I was striving for attention, instead of admitting a fault. When kids around me who had learning disabilities were flunking tests, I thought maybe I didn’t really have dyslexia.

Dyslexia is hard to explain, especially since every case is different. Mine, as I tried to explain to my best friend alumna Brooke Stobbe, ’12, turns letter and numbers upside down, backwards and out of order. Sometimes, when I have a headache, the letters even move on the page, almost like the lyrics to a sing-along song.

Choosing not to use my disability as an excuse has allowed me to follow my passion of writing and reading as far as I’m willing to go. Serving as Editor-in-Chief of The Feather Online was beyond my parents, my doctors and my own expectations. Now I can read, write and even edit on a daily basis.

What I’ve learned over the years is that each dyslexic person has different tricks in figuring out the puzzle of letters faced everyday. Some use audio books while others read sentences backwards in order to make things easier to read.

Some of the things I do is reading aloud because my brain can configure words faster than I can comprehend them. I even sometimes spell words aloud to myself in order to eliminate those letters from the sentence.

Now, research is being done to develop apps and fonts that help people like me read. Aberlardo Gonzalez created an app and font called openWeb, which provides a web browser that changes all fonts to be weighted at the bottom hence, making it easier to read. Because of the thickness added to the bottom of each letter, for me, when letters turn upside down it’s easy to recognize.

Gonzales created the app in order to establish a free way for everyone to access this easy-to-read font. With a reaction 99 percent positive, Gonzalez said, tens of thousands of dyslexic people have sent him emails, tweets and comments appreciating this new product.

I think the idea is genius, and it’s the start of a chain of apps and technology to help people who struggles with reading. Even amongst the few other dyslexic people on campus, the openWeb is a huge hit.

I hope that these first few aids continue until dyslexia is no longer an excuse but simply a disease that can be helped until someone reads just as fast and efficiently as a normal person.

For anyone who has a learning disability, I want you to know that you are not alone. There are many people out there just like me who struggle with reading, writing and math, but that doesn’t mean they are dumb or slow or incapable of success in those fields.

I could never be more grateful to my parents, especially my mom, for believing in me and for refusing to let me use excuses to make up for bad spelling tests, long homework hours or even bad grades. Because of them, I can say that I work on a newspaper and that I am able to good grades in English.

For more stories, read the May 17 article, Mental illness influences, matures senior. For more opinions, read the Oct. 3 article, College Corner: SAT or ACT?

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