A letter to dyslexic children

Jayne Black

I am dyslexic and have a son that is dyslexic. I have been through nearly every battle, obstacle, and situation I feel that any mother and person with dyslexia might have to go through.

My son is an adult now and our journey, although extremely difficult, is one neither he nor I would ever take back. I meet and hear from so many children and parents of children with dyslexia, and what I can tell you is that there is a need for a desperate and extremely loud voice to help these children.

I heard from a mother that said her child said to her "I hate you because you gave me dyslexia." I will not judge this child because at a very young age, a dyslexic child's self-esteem can be torn apart and the labels and phrases they have to hear like “stupid,” “slow,” and “just try harder,” to mention just a few, are ones they too take on and believe. They know they are NOT stupid but they do not know or understand WHY they cannot GET IT like other kids.

After being diagnosed, the perceived shame of having the disability causes a large percentage to hide it. Parents often ask, “Should I tell my child they are dyslexic?” My answer, an emphatic “YES!” Get rid of that shame, once and for all, so these children can stand proud with their brilliant and creative minds. This is my goal and my work.

It is for these children I write this letter...

Dyslexia… Yes, you have dyslexia! It is the reason you struggle to learn to read, have problems with sequence, right from left, top from bottom… yes, all that seemingly simple, yet taken for granted, fun and important stuff! It is neurological in origin and is characterized with difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. To dispel a common misconception, the problem is NOT the way YOUR eyes see things. Many dyslexics just do not hear sounds phonetically. It has absolutely nothing to do with your intelligence!

I am dyslexic too, and I want to welcome you to a group of rather famous people. Some of us have created and built phenomenal structures. Some have discovered and invented scientific theories. Some of us are famous movie stars and some have painted the world’s most famous paintings! Some of us are the richest people on earth, doing amazing things with our wealth and created some of the amazing technology of today that has changed our world.

If you were able to choose to be creative and have an artistic mind like those people, would you make that choice? I would make that choice, even if it meant I had to have dyslexia! In life, there are always struggles. No one is immune from them and most of your struggles will come from being dyslexic, just like I have struggled with dyslexia. But do you know what? Pretending you are not dyslexic or trying to hide your dyslexia will make it multiple times more difficult for you to overcome those struggles. It is like saying, “I do not love all of who I am and I am ashamed”. Yet, there is nothing of which to be ashamed.

Yes, if you have dyslexia you will be a slow reader. You will have to work much harder than your peers do. You have to learn at a very young age to advocate for yourself and to work creatively around your weaknesses. It will not be easy, but you can do it as so many before you have. If they can make it, you can to!

Now I want to share with you what I consider the positives of dyslexia and why I love being dyslexic. There are so many plusses, but I will shorten the list to a few favorites!

You will learn skills and coping tools that your peers will not have to learn. Because of this, you will inherently learn one of the most important skills in life: how to get past a failure. Too many people never learn how to do this. Learning to fail and pick yourself up time after time, will make you an amazing, strong, and victorious person. You will prove to yourself that no matter what you put your mind to YOU will be successful.

Because you are dyslexic, you are a creative thinker. You think outside the box, you see the whole picture. You can maybe even see solutions in different dimensions. You do not need every little detail explained to you. You can see it and know how to solve or create something with little detail needing to be provided. You can solve problems in so many creative ways and people will lean on you for that creativity! You challenge people to think not just in black and white but also in colors. You are never at a loss of creativity for anything. I love that about myself, it makes me happy and I am not me without all of that.

Being dyslexic, you will have special creative strengths. It might be dance, science, cooking, art, building things; the list of creativity goes on. Find that strength, do it, and grow it. That will be your "happy place", the place you get to feel the success, and the place that is easy for you and that you do not have to struggle. It will be your redeeming quality. You will find your place in this world while focusing on those strengths. That is why I love being dyslexic: for what I have learned from it and for who I have become from it. Dyslexia and I were destined for each other. Through all the struggles, I would not have it any other way. I hope you learn to feel the same way!

Love Yourself, Know You are Special and Treasure your Own Uniqueness!

Jayne Black
President & Co-Founder of Creative Kids Rock
www.creativekidsrock.org