Many students have different ways of understanding and retaining material learned in class; utilizing flashcards or finding a study buddy to pair up with in the library. However, students with Dyslexia must find a unique set of methods to tackle the demanding tasks set forth by their learning disability in order to be successful, according to senior Bella del Muro.
For del Muro, she was unaware of her disorder until this past fall. After her ACT tutor noticed her struggling to finish the tests in time, she suggested del Muro to be tested for Dyslexia as soon as possible.
“I couldn’t finish tests or [score] near where kids who had that same IQ level that I had were finishing at,” del Muro said. “She asked my dad if I could go get tested. We didn’t expect to find anything super serious, [but] when I went in, they were like, ‘Yeah, she is dyslexic.’”
Unlike del Muro, senior Erich Geiger was diagnosed at a very young age and had to learn how to study efficiently using techniques that allowed him to learn, regardless of his Dyslexia.
“I got tested for ADHD when I was in fourth grade and they found out I was dyslexic and [had] ADD,” Geiger said. “At the time, I didn’t really know [how serious my Dyslexia was], [and] I was like ‘Oh ok, whatever,’ but as soon as I got into middle school, I could tell. School got harder and harder [for me].”
The symptoms of Dyslexia can vary from person to person. According to del Muro, she was diagnosed with a rare type of Dyslexia called Phonological Dyslexia, which not only affects her speech, but makes it extremely difficult for her to read.
“My spelling would change more frequently,” del Muro said. “If I haven’t seen a word on paper and heard it at the same time, I can’t connect the two. It also makes reading challenging sometimes, because if I never heard the word and I see the word on paper, I can’t connect them.”
According to Geiger, he has a different type of Dyslexia, which impairs his ability of learning and comprehending arithmetic. It makes it difficult for him to understand and manipulate numbers.
“For me to do a math problem and follow steps, it’s really hard because I get steps confused [and] I leave out a step,” Geiger said. “It can also be as simple as me writing down a number. [As] an example, [if] the answer is 86, I might put down 68.”
On the other hand, Geiger believes that Dyslexia is a part of his character and ultimately shaped his identity of who he is today.
“Some of my hobbies today are huge into film and movies,” Geiger said. “When I was little, and I [found out] I had Dyslexia, I got really into films because it kinda helped me see a bigger picture of things, which I struggled. For a dyslexic kid, for you to break down things part to part and then see a whole thing is very challenging. For me to sit down and watch a movie and understand it all, I kinda transfer that into my social life and academic life.”
Similarly, del Muro believes that Dyslexia, in some way, has had a positive impact on her life. She says that it has actually opened more doors and opportunities for her than it has closed them.
“You start to learn techniques, [and] you are able to overcome it,” del Muro said.
“It’s not something that’s a disability. It’s just a different way of learning. [Getting diagnosed] was almost a relief at that point, because I was like, ‘I understand why I’m struggling now,’ instead of it just being a big question.”