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Dvir Waldfogel – Dyslexic

“Dyslexic in English”

Until a few weeks ago, I would have defined myself as a dyslexic, but not really dyslexic, – one who cannot read or write – but dyslexic in languages, “dyslexic in English”.
My dyslexia was discovered when I was in high school (ninth grade), and was expressed mainly in difficulties in understanding the English language. After four years of corrective instruction, I was able to learn the rules of the language and reach a level of 5 points (the most advanced level) in the English Matriculation Examinations, and in the exam itself I received 85% (a high mark for me, considering that I had started from 55%). At this point, I thought that that was it, that the problem had been solved, that everything was all right and I could carry on. But it turned out not to be like that…

The next time I encountered difficulties was in the army. I started a course for infantry officers, finished the first stage (training base 1), and during the second stage (corps training), it happened.

We had to learn how to use a certain map in order to orient ourselves and navigate during the day and at night. This was the first time in my entire military service (one year and eight months) that I had to use this map. All the rest of my company understood how to use the map after a few treks, but I did not. It took me a long time to realize that the problem was mine, and even longer to understand that the reason for my problem was my dyslexia (which I had thought was “over”). When I finally understood the reason for my problem, my superior officers told me that if I did not learn how to read the map, I would not complete my officers training. But how could I solve the problem? How does one correct dyslexia?

My mother always says that when you search, you always eventually find what you are looking for. And this is how it was. After a few struggles in the army and searches for a military or civil solution, we found something: “The Center for Dyslexia Correction using the Davis Method”. The truth is that I was not sure if it would really help, but this was the only solution I found. The problem was that the program in the Center lasts a week, and I was a soldier, taking a training course. But after finding some convincing arguments, many conversations with one of my officers, and a million telephone calls, I was given permission to try out the Center on Sunday, and if it went well, to start the program that same week. Then I was to return to my training course and test the results.

This is how I arrived at the Center, accompanied by my corrective instruction teacher, who knew Judith (the Center’s manager and main facilitator). Judith and Aviva (my teacher) started testing me with many strange things: standing on one foot, catching balls, reading stories, moving imaginary cakes, etc. After a very long day, that finished around midnight, we decided to take the program, and I received permission from the base commander for a special vacation of seven days to complete the program. (All this took three days, when the regulations state that two months are needed in order to get special leave.) Afterwards, I would return to the training course, and do a test to see whether the program had really helped me overcome the problem in map reading.

Then the course started. We started the normal program, and along the way Judith (with whom I had formed a special relationship) discovered more and more aspects of dyslexia in me, and started working with me on additional programs, and apart from all these we also worked on reading the map. So from a 35-hour program, it turned into a 50-hour program.

I gradually discovered that I was not only “dyslexic in English”, as I had thought, but that I was a twenty year old with aspects of dyslexia, some ADD, a problem with estimating time and space, but apart from that everything was fine!

After a week, I had all the tools that the Davis method could provide, and also a new friend (Judith) and a new home (The Center for Self Change).

To tell the truth, I felt the improvement, I knew it would help me, but I had to test it. I was lucky, and in that week I was required to take a test including navigation, running, climbing a rope, and target practice. I understood that this was a good opportunity to test myself, and this is what I did. During the test, I used the tools I had acquired. The result was that I got 5 out of 5 coordinates in navigation, I managed for the first time (with maximum points) to climb 6 meters up a rope, and I even hit 6 out of 6 in target practice. This proved to me that the method really works. Later, I passed the navigation exam and finished the officer-training course and received my new rank in a memorable ceremony in the Founders’ Square in Training Base 1.

During all this time, I searched for other situations in which I could use the tools to help me in other things, and as I said earlier, if you search you find in the end, and so I did.

In one case, I had to skip using a rope, and I remembered that Judith had said that this is difficult when disoriented, so I oriented myself and it worked. Instead of skipping 10 or 15 times, I managed to skip nearly 80. In another case, I saw how the use of the tools helped aiming and hitting in the shooting range. In another case, my ability to notice details improved in reading, in writing and in general.

But the thing that surprised me most was the ability to remain oriented when emotional. I found myself in many situations when I was very emotional (from a rejection committee to fights with friends), and using the tools enabled me to remain calm and focused, to talk calmly as if nothing had happened. I had not had this ability before, and this had caused several unpleasant situations in the past.

All this happened in just two months!

So what next?

I will continue using all the tools, and I am sure they will help me in more situations that I cannot yet imagine.

All that remains is to thank my officers for giving me permission to take the program, my teacher Aviva for helping me over the years (and probably in the future too), my parents for agreeing to do everything for me (even paying when necessary), and finally, Judith (and all the facilitators at the Dyslexia Correction Center) who have enabled me to be like everyone else, or even better!

Dvir Waldfogel – Dyslexic

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