When I told people I was dyslexic, I could breathe. I felt OK...like I'm normal.

“I’ve been tested for dyslexia 5 times…3 times in elementary for private tutoring and a 504 Plan, and twice for an IEP in middle school. In 7th grade, I went to my first IEP Eligibility meeting. It was so scary. My mom was in tears. I held her hand. She told the people in the room that I wasn’t reading at the same level as my classmates and asked them for help. They said I didn’t need an IEP. It was hard because I knew there was something happening in my brain and it’s hard to show it without doing really bad in school. We were never prepared for what they said in those meetings. They were so nice about it, but they’d say, ‘Looking at the data, we just can’t give you these accommodations.’ And I’d think, ‘But why not?’ I guess schools can’t give IEPs to everyone. I don’t know why the process is so hard, but I finally got an IEP in 8th grade.

I used to be embarrassed to tell anyone that I’m dyslexic. I thought something was wrong with me. I wasn’t comfortable with people thinking I was different. I looked the same, I did the same in school, and I’ve always been a good student. But I didn’t want people to think I’m not as smart as I am because I can’t do certain things. Now, all of my friends know I’m dyslexic. When I told people, I could breathe. I felt OK…like I’m normal. I should have just told people forever ago.

Getting older has made it easier to talk to teachers instead of feeling so small and afraid. I would never say, ‘I can’t read this.’ Now, I can say, ‘I don’t have the energy to read today.’ I’m not worried because I know they are just a person and they’re not going to tell me, ‘No, you have to read this or it will affect your grade.’ I’ve become less nervous probably because I’ve been going to more meetings now about dyslexia.

I really like the way my teacher this year is letting us read the play “Taming of the Shrew” aloud in class. Each day, everyone picks a random card and reads that character’s part. My teacher lets me pick my part ahead of time, so I can look it over before class. This way feels like I have a choice rather than my teacher forcing me to read. It’s kinda fun because I’m still participating, but choosing how much I want to be part of it.”