Dyslexia and Me

So over on SisterSpooky: Book Fangirl, my good friend Laura (aka Sisterspooky) penned a very powerful piece on dyslexia and how she functions with this condition.

I’ve known Laura for many years and she is hands down one of the smartest, most beautfiul, quirky and amazing souls I’ve ever had the privilege to meet. I had no idea about her condition. I have nothing but the utmost admiration and respect for her bravery to step forward and share her experiences with dyslexia.

It’s an incredible and enlightening post and you should definitely check it out.

Back in art school, I taught at its academic support center and I met a student who suffered from dyslexia. I first met “Maya” during the first week of school. She was in the center taking the transitional english course. During the first week, we administer a pre-test simply to assess where the students are. No one is expected to pass or do well for that matter. Everything presented in the pre-test will be a subject of study throughout the 10-week quarter period. Unfortunately Maya wasn’t aware of this and became intimidated by the questions (wording and terminology, etc.) to the point that she broke down into tears. Don’t get it twisted. A millitary veteran, Maya is tougher than half the men I know so by no means is she weak. But this is how intimidating dyslexia can be. Especially if you don’t know that you have this condition. Which is what I would soon discover with Maya.

I discovered that she had problems with reading her entire life and that was why she was afraid to come back to school to pursue her degree. As Maya described the problems, it sounded as if she had a form of dyslexia. I assured her that the pre-test was the hardest thing in the quarter and that no one is expected to do well. I informed her that I have a B.A. in English and even I found the pre-test challenging. Maya explained that she dreamed of returning to school so that she could get a degree in graphic design but dreaded facing her problems. I told her the most important thing for to do was to not give up. I told her it took a lot of courage for her to face her fears and that I would be happy to work with her.

Over the next few weeks, Maya had herself tested while I compiled English websites which she could use to help her in class. In addition I took the initiative and spoke with her English professor and Maya and I set a course of action. The doctors confirmed that she had a form of dyslexia. She utilized the resources that the art school offered for students with disabilities and/or conditions.

Maya was ecstatic as she aced her English class as well as the lab. And last I spoke with her, she was on the verge of receiving an A in the class.

Even though Maya thanked me for my help, the truth is, I was the one who benefited from the experience because she was an inspiration.

Here’s a woman who overcame her obstacles to pursue her dreams and never gave up. While Maya did all the heavy lifting in attaining success in her class, it is both honoring and humbling to think that maybe I had a small part in that.


Speculative Fiction Novelist. Author of Hollowstone, West of Sunset and other cool stories. Wordsmith, activist and nerd seraph. Saving the world and/or taking it over. http://www.dennisupkins.wordpress.com