No More Students Left Behind

Julianna Kasper, Staff Writer

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Dyslexia. Most know what it is, or someone who has it. According to the dutiful Merriam-Webster, it is defined as a “variable, often familial, learning disability involving difficulties in acquiring and processing language that is typically manifested by a lack of proficiency in reading, spelling, and writing.” To me, it is much more than that. Dyslexia is feeling like you’re the only kid in the class that is confused. Dyslexia is being afraid of raising your hand to ask a question due to fear of embarrassment. Dyslexia is having your teachers become frustrated with you and accuse you of being lazy. But, with time and dedication, dyslexia can be dealt with, managed, and lived with. This is something I have seen first hand.

Out of all the language based learning disabilities, dyslexia is the most common, with one in five students being affected by it. This is equal to fifteen to twenty percent of the population. Almost forty million American adults are dyslexic, but only two million actually know it, and still struggle with it every day. For the ideal treatment, it is best for dyslexia to be caught as early as possible. Through hearing, vision, and touch techniques, teachers can successfully work with their students to overcome this disability. This is because students that struggle with reading can effectively use their other senses and skills to learn how to read and write while managing their dyslexia. In fact, studies have shown that those who have dyslexia excel at thinking insightfully outside of the box and using their creativity, as seen with people like Albert Einstein, Steven Spielberg, and Leonardo da Vinci, who all had dyslexia but still were successful in what they put their mind to. In Malcolm Gladwell’s novel David & Goliath, Gladwell describes the ultimate underdog, David Boies, a trial lawyer that struggles with dyslexia and “reads basically one book a year.” In order to go to law school and do well, Boies learned to listen to his teachers’ lectures and develop a strong memory. Extraordinarily, he was able to remember everything he was taught, and went on to become an extremely successful lawyer despite his disability.

Even after all of the success stories that come with being dyslexic, there is still a prominent stigma that comes with the word. Dyslexic students often get accused of being lazy when they need to get their tests read to them or are allowed to use a calculator when others aren’t allowed, but they are actually the complete opposite: they are working as hard as they can. My sister, who is dyslexic, is one of the most hardworking students I know. Yes she struggles, and at times her schoolwork may be extremely difficult, but she always manages to finish it. She is always looking to study more, or do extra work to understand what she learns in school. She wishes that more teachers would understand her disability, even though she gets the appropriate help that she needs. It can only be when we aren’t afraid to talk about dyslexia and other disabilities that those who actually struggle with it can feel comfortable with asking for help and feel confident in their abilities.