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Originally published in The Dyslexic Reader,
Vol 23,Issue 1 Copyright (c) 2001-year DDAI.

The Dyslexic Reader

Personal Experience Essay
By Peter Henry

For me, a life-changing event encompasses a life lesson and a character transformation. If not, then it’s truly an event that has changed a life. The event that changed the course of my life happened over several years. What set me on a new course was the day I was told I had dyslexia.

My whole life, I’ve been under the impression that I was not as smart as everyone else. I was a B or C student and I thought that I would be that for the rest of my academic years. I knew I was smart, but the grades never reflected it. Only my family supported me through my ups and downs. For twelve years, I was an average student. However, my parents kept encouraging me everyday.

Perhaps one of the most vivid moments in my life was the day that the doctor told me I was dyslexic with ADD. I was confused and yet ashamed at the same time. I slowly crawled up to my room, not sure what to think. The rest of the day I spent crying, for what I’m not sure. What did it mean to have dyslexia and to be soon on medication? All I wanted at that point was to be normal.

As time progressed, I felt that the medicine was changing me. I was no longer the kid that was always upbeat and happy. I was different, and I hated it. In the classroom, it was the same. I no longer was a participant in class. I just paid attention and my grades were mediocre. I wanted more than anything to be off the medicine.

My life made a turnaround, when my mother found an institution to help “cure” dyslexia. For the first time I really understood dyslexia for what it was. This program revealed the positive attributes of being dyslexic and how to use that in my education. One of these attributes is that I am an extremely visual learner, and the words that gave me trouble were the words that I could not picture in my head. I was given a list of two hundred common words that were hard to visualize. Over the next year and a half, I made a visual representation out of clay for every word on the list. For example, I would create clay models for words such as “the” or “and”.

My life began to change slowly, and over that year and a half, my reading comprehension grew and so did my confidence. I was off medication and back to the old Peter Henry. However, the one thing that disappointed me was that I had run out of time to prove myself as well as to colleges that I was smarter than my grades reflected. So this led me to perhaps make the best decision of my life, to postpone college and do a post-graduate year. I wanted to do this to show that I could be a great student and also the show everyone who had doubted me in the past that I was just as smart as any of them.

Jus today was the beginning of something great for me. As my grades were handed to me, my body began to tingle. I knew what my grades would be, for I had worked hard for them. Nevertheless, I had never seen my grades at such a high level. The grades on paper solidified everything for which I’d worked so hard. I read my first term grades, and I began to cry. For the first time ever in my life, I received straight A’s. I was crying for all of my pain and all of my disappointment in the past. I was finally there, on top. I was as smart as anyone, and no one could touch that. But, I did not do it for colleges or for my parents. I did it for myself. The pain of the last twelve years was gone. Finally, the pieces I had lacked for so long began to fill in and complete me.

My mother has seen how much this program has changed my life. She now teaches other kids the program. I really have to thank my parents for showing me that what I have is a gift and not something negative. She always told me that I was here to change the world, and now that is what I plan on doing. Without my parents, I would not be where I am right now. However, I have only had a taste of success and now I want more.


A Davis Program in August
What a wonderful week this was for me.
Pleasant, creative and intelligent company.
Beautiful weather.
The garden in full bloom,
The knowledge that in this world,
I am making a difference.

By client of Rebecca Luera
Davis Facilitator

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