Dyslexia: Road Block or Autobahn

dreamstime_7395381_0543Dyslexia can be subtle; such as a person may read very well, but not remember what they read. Or, it can be profound when a person is unable to recognize a letter or attach a sound to that letter to make a word to link into a sentence and understand meaning.  It shows itself differently from person to person. Dyslexia is a lack of the language processing center of the brain that occurs in development. A person can go through their entire life without ever knowing they are dyslexic. Or, sadly they may just think they are stupid.

Stupid (aka Road Block) is where my story begins. I first noticed learning was different for me in middle school. As school progressed I found myself studying harder than my classmates only to barely pass. My first year of college was an epic fail. When I say epic fail I am not exaggerating. My parents received a letter, from the two year college I had attended, to inform them I was politely being asked to leave due to a poor GPA. At that point I ventured out on my own to figure out life from the school of hard knocks. Once I figured out that college was necessary for a career because I had no organic natural ability I dug my heels in to return to school. My diplomas hang on my office wall. They are on the wall of my office not to brag or impress clients. But, as a constant reminder to myself that I am not stupid and as inspiration to my clients that they too can overcome to achieve their dreams. I push them to dare to dream everyday they step into my clinic.

As my career as an occupational therapist unfolded I learned about dyslexia. Little did I know at the time that dyslexia was the very cause of all the struggle I had survived. By this time I had been six years into the ownership of a successful self-created therapy temporary staffing agency. The more I learned about dyslexia the more aware I became of the lack of services available to treat.  I had learned it can result in a lifelong of illiteracy and poverty without treatment. Knowing what I had experienced I could not allow the next generation to have the same experience when I knew I could help make their journey one of success.

Dyslexia Institutes of America opened in Tulsa, OK May 2013. In the short time our doors have been opened I have been so moved by the progress our clients have achieved. To hear children dream big, enjoy school and yes, enjoy reading has made the process worth the journey. They say you should not have life regrets. Experiences in life form the person you become. Dyslexia will always be part of my everyday struggle, but it does not define my ability or potential.

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