Thursday, September 16, 2010

On Being Seventeen ,Bright and Unable To Read

One day a substitute teacher picked one of her students to read aloud from the textbook. But instead of reading the text the child sat down and said “No thank you”. The teacher thought that the child was acting smart. So she got mad and told the child to see her after class. Maybe someone like that child was a new thing for some teachers. But it wasn’t new for David. His been through scenes like that all of his life. Even though his seventeen and a junior in high school, he can’t read because he has DYSLEXIA. He can’t read his homework or the newspaper or a menu in a restaurant or even notes from his friends. He can’t even read his own name. He wanted to die. If you’ll ask me about his early years in school, I can’t find the words how bad it really was. Sometimes his teachers would try to be encouraging. When he couldn’t read the words on the board they’d say “Come on David, you know that word”. But only he really didn’t. And it was really embarrassing for him. He felt dumb and that’s how other kids treated him. They’d make fun of him, asking him to spell “cat” or something like that. Even if he knows how to spell, he wouldn’t; they’d only give him another word. Anyway, it was awful, because more than anything he wanted friends. On his birthday when he blew out the candles he didn’t wish he could learn to read; what he wished for was that the kids would like him. With the bad report coming from the school, and with the meaning about wanting to die and how everybody hated him, his parents began suspecting him that he was having problems almost from the first day in school and started looking for help. That’s when the testing started. The school tested him; the child-guidance center tested him; private psychiatrist tested him. Everybody something was wrong, neither him. All through elementary school it wasn’t easy. He always has to do things that were different, things the other kids didn’t have to do. One summer his family him to go to a camp for children with reading problems. He hated the idea, but the camp turn out pretty good, and he had a good time. He met a lot of kids who couldn’t read and somehow that helped. The director of the camp said he had a higher I.Q. than 90% percent of the population. He can’t believe it. When he was in his fifth and sixth grade he studied in a special education class. His life began to change a little because he feels good about his self. He began to work on the potter’s wheel, making vases and pots. He’s one of the track team members. He also got honors. At high school he got some friends. But homework is his problem. Her mother reads the assignment for him and he’ll just dictate the answer and his mother will jot it down. Sometimes he just dictates in a tape recorder and then someone will listen to it and write it up. It makes him feel bad because whatever he does it takes other time, too. The only thing that gives him courage is the fact that many believes in him and knowing about well-known people who couldn’t read or had other problems and still, made it. Like Albert Einstein, who didn’t talk until he was four and flunked Math. Like Leonardo da Vinci, who everyone seems to think had DYSLEXIA. I’ve blogged this because maybe some teacher will read it and go easy on a kid in the classroom who has what David got. Or maybe some parent will stop nagging his kid, and stop calling him lazy. Maybe he is not lazy or dumb. Maybe he just can’t read and doesn’t know what’s wrong. Maybe his scared, like David was.

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