My Uncle had a learning disability and it was not until he was in the third grade that it was discovered. His mother and teachers were not worried that by the end of second grade he could still not read, he however can say the alphabet and corresponding sounds of the letters, he could write his name and he did not manifested any other difficulty but that of reading. He said his teachers thought that he was just a slow reader. What his teachers did not know was that he memorized everything by rote and he remembered the sequences of the pictures that were asked during class.
It was in the third grade that one of the teachers just finished a specialization in learning disabilities that it was discovered that he had dyslexia, although he remained to be undiagnosed for the next two years because there was no specialist in the town. He said he knew what the name of the pictures was but when he was asked to read, the letters was chasing each other and he could not catch u with the letters. Dyslexia is a learning disability which involves the difficulty and inability to read, spell and write words.
On the other hand, dyslexics are highly visual and have excellent long-term memory which accounts for the ability of beginning readers to mask their reading deficiencies (Mather & Goldstein, 2001). The teachers however said that he could still continue going to school and will be given special consideration in his classes due to his condition even without proper medical and psychological assessment. I guess my uncle was lucky that the teachers at his school was understanding and did not give up on him.
However he really did not know what his condition was until he had to see a doctor that explained to him what his condition was he could not remember anything about that day but that he could clearly see the face of the doctor and a big window in the office. He also had problems with math which became more pronounced when they were asked to solve math problems by hand. But when called during oral recitation, he knew the answers to the problems. In other subjects he did fairly well especially when he did not have to write or read anything.
Some of his teachers gave him oral exams and he had to take it in the teacher’s office after classes. He said it made him feel special and that it did not bother him at all, he did not repeat a grade and he finished until sixth grade in that school. He felt comfortable in this school, although he was the only one who had dyslexia it did not made him feel an outcast. However, there were times when he felt so frustrated at not being able to work on the same tasks and assignments as his classmates did.
His classmates tried to help him in doing homework and other projects and he thought it was the best thing for him because it made him feel accepted. But that all changed when he got to high school. High school was difficult for my uncle. He was transferred to a new school because his old school did not have any high school and since he did complete the required subjects and had passing grades he was admitted to a regular public high school.
At the start of classes, he was not equipped to face the academic requirements during freshman year as a normal student. After the first quarter, he was placed with the slow learner classes but he was frustrated most of the time because hen was not a slow learner, he could answer all the quizzes if he was just asked rather than writing it. He was too ashamed to tell his mother about things at school that he endured being in the slow learners’ class. He did made friends with the kids in his class but he did not have any friends.
The teachers were actually good but did not seem to understand his condition, at the end of the year he was promoted to sophomore year but he begged his mother to transfer him to a school that was not as big as the local high school since he did not have any friends. In the end he was transferred to small private school where special education classes for people with dyslexia were accommodated. In this school, my uncle said he felt at home instantly and he was not afraid of making mistakes and built his confidence again.
He had friends who understood his condition and he learned that there were people like him too. Dyslexia is a learning disability that occurs regardless of intelligence level, which means that it does not affect intelligence (Mather & Goldstein, 2001). My uncle is now a landscape architect and his designs are very good. He can do almost anything perfectly without any need for assistance except for reading, writing and working with numbers. He has a positive personality and people like him, when he talks no one would know he is dyslexic.
He is an inspiration knowing that he had been able to live a productive life despite his dyslexia. He now uses the tools available for dyslexics like audio-books, drawing pads and picture books. Although he had some difficult experiences in school, he said that one must still strive to go to school and finish college despite having dyslexia. His school during freshman year did not accommodate his learning disability because the school was not informed of his condition, because they lacked the knowledge and the tools to accommodate his condition and he did not take it against the school.
My uncle had been fortunate that he was able to benefit from special education classes, accommodating teachers and a supportive family. Learning disabilities is only a difficulty and not a disease hence, proper learning accommodation and measures should be extended to them since they do benefit from the right kind of education (Mather & Goldstein, 2001).
Mather, N. & Goldstein, S. (2001). Learning Disabilities and Challenging Behaviors. Baltimore: Paul A. Brookes Publishing.
Courtney from Study Moose
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