“As I sat with my tutor, struggling to read this To Kill a Mockingbird book, I can’t help buy sweat and grit my teeth. Will this ever go away? I know, everyone tells me that I’m smart and that there are lots of successful famous people with dyslexia.
Then they start listing Walt Disney, George Washington, Henry Ford and Thomas Edison and continue to say, “and look how these famous people with dyslexia changed the world.” I guess the look on my face said “huh?” because then they start naming people I actually know about.
|Celebrity||Famous Name||A little about them|
|Henry Winkler||Henry Winkler, the Fonz, is best known for his role on Happy Days, but has accomplished a great deal more since then. Henry Winkler received an Honorary OBE from the Queen of England for his work in raising awareness of dyslexia.|
|Tom Cruise||Diagnosed with dyslexia at 7, Cruise felt like he didn’t belong with the other students. He learned to cope with the difficulty and overcome it to do well enough in school.|
|Salma Hayek||Even though she was diagnosed with dyslexia as a teen, Salma Hakey forged ahead and learned her second language – English.|
|Jewell||Jewell credits her mom for pushing her through the difficulties. When Jewell found it hard and frustrating to read, Jewell’s mom came to the rescue with comforting thoughts and focus on the end goal.|
|Keira Knightly||Diagnosed with dyslexia at six, Keira promised her parents she would study every day to overcome her learning difficulties if they would let her become an actress.|
|Patrick Dempsey||Dempsey was diagnosed with dyslexia at age 12, but never let the difficulties slow him down. While it’s still hard to read scripts, he’s learned to memorize his lines very quickly.|
“Seriously, I don’t care about changing the world. I just want to read.
In fact, when they list those old famous people with dyslexia, I feel even worse because they lived during a time that no one knew what dyslexia was. They thought it was reading backwards. Now they know what causes it. Geez, I know what causes it.
Did you know I can recite the full definition of dyslexia according to the International Dyslexia Association? And, what’s even worse, I’ve been through every type of program in existence which they didn’t have back then. I scoop, sky write, and have even played with all these tiles in some class my mom took me to after school while my friends were playing baseball.
Yes, I’m an advantaged dyslexic teen. The only problem is that I still can’t read. So I sit here still reading “for” as “from” and “the” as “and” and “when” as “then.” The strange thing is that I’ll read five syllable words perfectly and then get stuck on reading a simple one syllable word like, “stack.” At this point, I sit there staring at these five letters and my tutor calmly says, “Look at the letters.”
I guess the famous people with dyslexia had someone read for them. or something like that.
I say, “s…t..,” and she says, “blend them.” I say, “st.” “Good,” she says, “ is the “a” short or long?” Of course it’s short. It’s not next to another vowel and it’s not a VCE word. I know all the rules. Then I look at the “ck” at the end of the word and slowly say, “st…a…ck”. “You did it,” my tutor says, “now blend it, and out of my mouth come the words, “strange, no strong, no spaghetti!”
At this point, my tutor will say, “Close your eyes and relax. Take a deep breath.” I throw my head back, close my eyes and the word “stack” comes out of my mouth. “That’s it!” exclaims my tutor. “You did it!”