Defeating Dyslexia

Story By Bonnie Berger

“Cat.” “C-A-T.” The word is simple and familiar as it slips off the tongue. Elementary, one could say. We are so at ease with this word because we grew up learning the basics of reading and writing with words such as this. “Cat.” For a dyslexic child, this word presents a complex puzzle that he must decode. This word represents frustration, embarrassment, and potentially hopelessness if he is unable to overcome this obstacle.

Dyslexia is a fairly common neurological condition that manifests itself in an apparent deficiency in reading and spelling. If parents or teachers miss a child’s symptoms at an early age, dyslexia disrupts the reading and writing portion of a child’s education and will continue to do so until it is treated.

This condition is not one that simply regresses over time. Dyslexia is a condition that requires an abundance of time, patience, and one-on-one interaction between student and teacher as the student learns to cope with dyslexia.

“I was constantly frustrated with myself,” said Baylor sophomore Jennifer Nguyen. “I felt like I should be able to make sense of the words in front of me like the other kids were doing, but it was just one big mess to me.”

Nguyen and her parents partnered heavily with her elementary school teachers after she was tested for dyslexia. Nguyen transitioned into additional classes designed to accommodate children with dyslexia, creating an environment conducive to coping with the condition. Considerable amounts of time and energy were required before the “big mess” turned into coherent words and sentences, she said, but the journey ultimately proved fruitful.

“If I hadn’t struggled through those supplemental reading classes, I’m not sure if I would be where I am today academically,” she said. “I definitely wouldn’t have made it to Baylor and I know that I wouldn’t have the kind of self-confidence that I do now.”

Although every school district takes a different approach to accommodating children with dyslexia and other factors that may inhibit their learning, the end result remains constant: to dispel the frustrations and disappointments associated with reading and writing in order to encourage kids to reach their full potential.

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