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Reading Matter

If you’re reading this story, it probably means that reading is enjoyable and even easy for you. I wouldn’t be able to read this story


I am unique. You are, too. We all are. But Hashem made me different from most other kids in a way that affects me every single day.

Starting school is a very exciting step for kids. You’re getting older. You start learning “big kid” stuff and not just coloring and playing and running around anymore. Unfortunately, that is when my difficulties surfaced.

All my friends were learning their letters: Alef-beis and the English alphabet. I tried really, really hard, like they did, but while they got better and quicker, I didn’t. It was really frustrating! When everyone was learning to write, my pencil just didn’t do what theirs did. The best I could manage was a sort of squiggle that looked like a long W. It made me very sad and discouraged. Worst of all, it made me feel different from all the kids around me. Teachers got annoyed at me because they thought I wasn’t trying hard enough. That made me embarrassed and so frustrated! Because I really was trying, probably harder than all the other kids.

Eventually my parents and teachers realized that something was wrong. That started three long months in which I didn’t go to school because we were trying to find out what the problem was. My parents took me to lots of tiring appointments and tests.

Finally, my parents were told that I had dyslexia. I was born with it, but it’s often only discovered at the age kids start school.

If you’re reading this story, it probably means that reading is enjoyable and even easy for you. I wouldn’t be able to read this story. Reading is very stressful for me. You might have heard of dyslexia before. Someone with dyslexia has a very hard time with reading, writing, and spelling. Often the letters jump around on the page, flip themselves over and wiggle, don’t stay in place, and in general, make it impossible to read them.

In addition to dyslexia, I also have something called dyscalculia. That means I also have a hard time with numbers and math. Now all of this doesn’t say anything about how smart a person is. You can be really smart and still have dyslexia and dyscalculia. Every person with these learning difficulties is different, and they affect him differently. We can still be very smart, and often, we are quite talented in other areas. I have an excellent memory, for example, and many people who struggle with reading and writing are extremely talented with music. It certainly does not mean that you’re stupid! You were just born a little different. Many dyslexic people notice things that other people don’t pick up. There’s a famous British businessman named Richard Branson, who has earned about $4 billion, and he is dyslexic. He said that in school he always thought he was dumb, but his dyslexia actually helped him be creative, think of good ideas, and become so successful.

(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 787)

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