I would crumple up my work and throw it across the classroom.

“I didn’t feel good about anything during elementary school. Reading was really rough. I would just shut down. There was this picture of a ferris wheel with all of the vowels. I hated that picture. Every time my Mom pulled out a book, I laid my head down and totally zoned out. It just didn’t work for me.

I would try to eat so much that I would throw up so I could miss the next day of school. It was nasty. Sometimes, I would chew food for awhile and spit it in the toilet and say that I had thrown up. When I found out that I was dyslexic, the school put me in a separate class. The kids were pretty mean about it. Once, we were playing basketball and everyone was trying to figure out the score. I had kept count, so I told them. Then a kid said, “Keep quiet. You don’t know how to count because you’re in the Special Ed Class.” Next, there were a few punches to the nose.

I used silliness to hide the fact that I’m dyslexic. I would goof around in class and talk when the teacher was talking. When teachers would call on me, I would make up a witty response that was super dumb and say it in a smart-alecky way, because I didn’t know the answer.

During middle school, I got pulled out with 8 kids into a separate classroom. Some of the kids…it was really hard for them to catch up. It made me feel so dumb that I was with kids who were 4 grades behind. I didn’t have any friends in that class.

It was so hard to make new friend because all of my friends from elementary school had moved on. I was failing classes and constantly not feeling good. I would crumple up my work and throw it across the classroom. I would look at my neighbor’s work and then look back at mine. I had written 2 sentences or a paragraph and they had written 4 pages. I hated looking at all my peers who were being raised up while I was just in the depths.

But last year in 8th grade, I really stepped it up. A’s and B’s. I think something just snapped in me and I decided I was going to get good grades. I have a goal to speak up for myself and use my accommodations. My teachers are being more responsive. Now, my Mom has more time to focus on studying to become a nurse.”