Robert had always had trouble reading. He could have read better if the letters would be still. Sometimes they moved. Sometimes Robert looked at a word and the letters were in one position and then he looked again and they were in a different place.
Robert's teacher told him to look at the letters and sound out the words. He tried to do that, but the word he saw wasn't what the teacher said it was. The teacher even spelled the word, but she didn't spell it the way Robert saw it on the paper. One day the teacher said a word--"cold." Robert looked at it and thought how can c-l-o-d be cold. It looks like it should be clod.
One day a lady came into the classroom and asked Robert to come with her. He didn't like it, but he did what he was asked. They went to a smaller room with a table and chairs. There were some books and toys on a shelf by the wall. Robert looked around the room and wondered why he was there.
"My name is Mrs. Rogers." said the lady. "My job is to work with students that have problems in school and see if I can help the teacher help them. Do you think you have problems in school?"
"No." Robert said.
"You don't think you have problems with reading?"
"No, I'm just fine. The teacher has some problems with reading."
"She does? Tell me what kind of problems she has."
"She reads the letters in the wrong place."
"Oh, I see. Is is possible that you are seeing them in the wrong place?"
"I don't think so. But sometimes if I look away, the letters move."
"Now is it possible for letters to move on a page?"
"Well I know they aren't supposed to, but they do."
"Is it possible that it is the way your brain sees the letters that changes?"
"No, I'm just fine... Well, maybe a little."
"Let's see if we can find out. Okay?"
After a while, she told Robert to go back to class. Robert left the office wondering why he had come. He could have just told her he already knew that stuff. She didn't have to make him say them. I"m just fine, Robert thought.
When he got home, he told his mom about Mrs. Rogers. "Robert, she is trying to find out why you have a hard time reading. You are a very smart boy, but reading is very hard for you. There must be a reason." Robert listened politely because that's what he had been taught, but he still didn't think Mrs. Rogers knew what she was doing.
Robert stayed in class, but he kept wondering what his mother and Mrs. Rogers was talking about. I'm just fine. Robert thought.
"Yes he was. What else do you know about him?"
"He was in the army."
"That's right. Did you know he had dyslexia?"
"No what is that?"
"It is a language disorder. It means your brain processes information differently.
Then she told him about the meeting. "The tests showed that you have dyslexia like George Washington."
"Am I going to die?" Robert asked.
His mother laughed. "No, Roro. It isn't a disease." Roro was her pet name for him. She used it when she wanted to show him love. "That's why reading is hard for you. That's why you think the letters move."
"But I thought I was just fine."
"You are just fine. You are a wonderful little boy. You are very smart. We love you very much. Dyslexia doesn't mean you are any different than any other little boy. Everybody has something that is hard for them. Reading is hard for you because you have dyslexia."
"No, Roro. Remember, it is not a disease. You are going to go to some special classes where you will learn some tricks to help you read. They are called strategies. If you use them, they will make reading easier."
"When will it go away?"
"It will be with you forever. You will need to use the strategies for the rest of your life. But after a while you won't even think about it. They will become natural to you and you won't realize you are using them."
Robert started attending the special classes the following week. It didn't take long for him to realize how they were helping him with reading. By the end of the year, Robert was reading better and he knew that he had been correct when he said, "I'm just fine."
Dyslexia is a lifelong language disorder which people are born with. It can hinder reading, writing, spelling and even speaking. Dyslexia is not a sign of poor intelligence or the result of impaired vision. It is a neurological disorder that causes the brain to process and interpret information differently. Even though it is lifelong, people learn skills to help with comprehension. Dyslexia does not mean unsuccessful. Some very successful people have been born with dyslexia.
Please visit the following websites for more information on dyslexia.