I could read the words on the page, but I couldn't put it all together.

“Although we knew my younger sister and brother were dyslexic, I didn’t realize I was dyslexic until last year in 11th grade. I could read the words on the page, but I couldn’t put it all together. In 9th and 10th grade, the books in Intensified English were really challenging. When class would start with a book quiz, I didn’t do well. Then, I would listen in class and write down what anyone said about the books. My final exams went well. I got B’s in the classes. But not understanding what I was reading was stressful. My English teacher asked me if I thought I might be dyslexic. I got tested and discovered that I have issues with fluency and working memory.

Now I have a 504 Plan with accommodations for audiobooks and extended time.

Before my 504 Plan, I knew my grades would be affected because I couldn’t finish my tests. It takes me a lot longer to read the questions and think about the problems. Now, with extended time, I can finish the test, check my work, and catch my mistakes. I’m not as anxious now.

In my spare time, I run cross county, I’m a competitive synchronize swimmer, and a swim coach.

I’m also applying to colleges. After I was diagnosed, I knew I wanted to do something in education because my English teachers help me so much. I didn’t want to teach math and I originally thought that I couldn’t teach English because I’m bad at English. But after a few months of having accommodations, I realized that being good at English is not just about having good reading skills. I’m good at other things, like coming up with the theme and seeing what the characters are doing. I want to major in English and get my master’s in education to be a middle or high school English teacher.

I don’t wish I had been diagnosed with dyslexia earlier because people always say that if you try hard you will succeed, but that’s just not true. It might be true for some people at school that if they study hard, they will get an “A”. But that’s not my story. Because of my late diagnosis, I’ve learned that if I try hard, I might not always succeed. But if I KEEP trying hard, I will eventually succeed and that’s really how life works.”