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Dyslexia is a processing disorder that can make it hard for someone to read, write, do math, read cursive, tie shoelaces, and learn new things in general. With dyslexia, words seem to float around on a page. I was diagnosed with dyslexia at age 9. At the time, I didn’t understand what it was.

When I got tested for dyslexia, I was in a room where my mom could look through invisible glass to see me. She could see me, but I couldn’t see her. When I was testing for it, this girl said, “Okay, I’m going to make you spell some stuff.”

“Okay, but I don’t know how to spell much,” I said nervously.

“Oh, I know! That’s why you’re here, honey.” Then she made me spell stuff like the dog walked to the park, but I couldn’t do it. It felt like the room was hot. It felt like the walls were closing in on me. My brain wasn’t processing anything, and I was even sweating a bit. I didn’t know how to spell anything.

I was so stressed, and it made me feel like I was extremely stupid.

I also have standard anxiety that makes me scared of what other people think of me. It was scary. It still is at the time of writing this, but I am working to overcome it. For example, I have done four years of tutoring. This is my last month. I first had a tutor named Sarah. She was very nice and helped me a lot. She got married and her husband was in the army, and she was also attending medical school. Her life was very busy so I had to find a new tutor. I have had this tutor for one year now.

All this time I was being homeschooled. This year I made the difficult transition to public school. I am now in sixth grade, and to be honest, I am still afraid of what people will think of me. It is very scary, and I am afraid that people will think I’m dumb because I need help. However, if you are reading this and you have dyslexia, have the courage to say, ”I need help.”

Like I said, it’s still hard sometimes. The other day I heard someone say, “Imagine not being able to tie your shoe,” to their friends. They all laughed, but I was thinking, “I can’t tie my shoe.” But it is okay, and I roll with it. Another struggle is that there is a lot of cursive in school. I still can’t read cursive. I will always face these obstacles, but I will persist and it will be okay.

I have mainly focused on the challenges of having anxiety and dyslexia, but there are actually some great things about dyslexia. For example, if you play video games, you think differently than most people. This can be good because they think that they can predict what you will do; but no, you end up doing something totally different. You also think differently about things like sports, art, and personalities. Tom Holland is a famous actor. Albert Einstein is a famous scientist. Magic Johnson is a famous basketball player. Muhammad Ali is a famous boxer. Did you know these people are all dyslexic? Who knows, you might have even a little dyslexia yourself as one in every ten people have dyslexia. But don’t worry, you can do amazing things with dyslexia. You are not cursed; you are blessed. You are able to think outside the box and think differently than everyone else. You are able to be unique.

I have been through so much and learned that you must never be ashamed of who you are even if you look different, act weird, or aren’t cool. It doesn’t matter if you have Jordan’s or if you have braces, you are who you are. Even if you have dyslexia you can still be yourself. I went through so much and I am who I am and you should be proud of who you are. Even with your flaws.

© Brayden Berens. All rights reserved. If you are interested in quoting this story, contact the national team and we can put you in touch with the author’s teacher.