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Education With Dyslexia

special-needs-stories-handsome-boy-looking-at-cameraAs a child, I grew up in a household of very intelligent parents and siblings. I found that I kept up with my siblings in every respect except in spelling, reading, and writing. In my early years of education, many of my teachers said I was a "late bloomer." My mother felt that this was not enough explanation as to why I was excelling in everything except reading and spelling. So, after exploring every option that the school had to offer special needs students, my mother took me to be privately tested. I was found to have "classic" dyslexia.

After many years of fighting with the school administrators and the Committee for Special Education, I was taken from my public school and home schooled because I was not getting the help that I needed at school. This was a difficult experience for me because I am a very social person; it was hard for me to leave my friends and the public school atmosphere.

Erica Irwin, our 2004 Anne Ford Scholar, gives herself the task of explaining dyslexia to her community. Her story follows her journey dealing with her LD in a variety of approaches (from public school to home school to private school and back to public again).

At the conclusion of my one year of home instruction, and with the assistance of a special education attorney that my mother hired, it was decided that I would benefit by going to the Norman Howard School (NHS). The Norman Howard School is a private school in Rochester, New York, that provides education strictly for learning disabled students, including students with dyslexia. At NHS, I received one-on-one instruction in the Wilson program (a reading program for dyslexics) for 45 minutes a day, five days a week.

While I attended the Norman Howard School, I was asked several times to speak to prospective students and parents about the school. At the end of my first year at NHS, I was awarded the Hoskin Memorial Scholarship. This is a $500 scholarship awarded to an NHS student who exhibits excellence in all areas, especially the areas of character, attitude and enthusiasm. I felt very honored to have been chosen.

During my first year back in public school, I was faced with the task of preparing a presentation called an MST (Math, Science, and Technology) integration project which is required by my school for graduation. I decided to take this opportunity to teach my peers about dyslexia and the technology that has been developed to help people with dyslexia, while at the same time learning more personally. After my presentation, I was complimented on my thorough explanation of dyslexia and the plethora of information that I had provided about the related technology. I received an "A" for this project because of my methodical research and knowledge about the topic.

I am a firm believer that if I had not dealt with the many challenges that my learning disability has presented to me, I would be a completely different person. I believe that these challenges have caused me to become determined.