Recircuiting This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

February 13, 2012
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The teacher calls on me to read. It is my turn. I can feel all the eyes glued on me, watching and waiting for me. I take a deep breath, looking at the page. All the words mush together. It appears to be one big blob of ink. I can hear my heart beating in my ears. I say in the weakest voice, “I don’t know what those words say.”

As I walked out of class that day, no one said anything to me about not being able to read our class book, but I could tell by the way they looked at me they thought I was stupid. The kids treated me like I was lower than them.

I was in 4th grade when my parents decided I needed to get tested for dyslexia. I remember that day vividly. It was a sunny day and the snow made the sun seem even brighter so I had to squint. As I walked in to the building where I would be tested, I heard my boots squeaking on the wet floor from the snow being tracked in. The hallway was empty and that made me feel even more alone. No one I knew ever struggled so much with reading or things as simple as spelling two-syllable words. I clenched my hands together so hard that my knuckles went white.

When I got to the office, I saw a man. His head was so bald, I could practically see the reflection of the light over him in his head. His face was tight and when he saw me, he smiled, showing his tiny teeth. He stood up to greet me. He was three times the size of me so I took a step back, holding my breath. I hoped he wouldn’t get frustrated with me like most other teachers did when I did something wrong.
The man motioned for me to take a seat in a chair directly in front of his desk. I sat immediately, not wanting to upset him. He started to tell a little about himself and I looked around the room. I saw a giant dark brown book shelf behind me. It had all sorts of books, gadgets and toys. There were pictures all over the walls, no color. It smelled musty and there was a faint smell of coffee. There was one window to the left of me. I swung my legs back and forth because I was not tall enough to touch the ground.

The man handed me the first test to read and as I finished it, he handed me the second and then test after test was handed my way. It is a blur in my memory now. As I was handed tests, I could see the man writing things down in his notebook, keeping a watchful eye on me. I hated not knowing what he was writing. I wanted to snatch his notebook away from him and climb up in a tree where I would never have to read and no one would judge me. Of course I didn’t do that. I forced myself to stay even though I felt like a science experiment. At the time, I didn’t realize he would help me immensely.

After the testing was over, my mom and brother came in and the doctor told us that I may have dyslexia. To be sure, I would need more testing.

“More?” I thought. My heart sank.

I sat quietly for the rest of the time. He talked to my mom, giving her the next diagnostic appointment, with another learning specialist. I didn’t say much on the way home.

A few weeks later, we drove out to see the woman who would give me my final test. Her name was Mrs. Carter. When I walked up the steps to her house, she opened the door with a warm smile. She seemed much nicer than the last tester and she was. Although there can only be so much fun in testing, she made it more enjoyable. By the end of the testing, I felt exhausted. She told us that she would need a few days to go over the results.

I imagine those few days were quite nerve-wracking for my parents, but at that point, I was too young to understand what was going on exactly. The call came and it turned out I was dyslexic. Mrs. Carter offered to tutor me. She tutored other kids with learning disabilities, too.

Dyslexia is when your brain comprehends letters differently, making it hard for dyslexic people to learn a certain way. Mrs. Carter knew a way that worked for me. It made sense. Even though going to tutoring wasn’t my favorite thing to do, I went every week for four hours.
I really have come a long way since then! If someone told me four years ago that I would be reading at the same level as the other kids in my grade, I would not have believed it. Being dyslexic has taught me so much and I wouldn’t change it for anything. One of the most important things I learned is to believe in myself. I felt stupid because everyone treated me like I was. They called me names, but now I look back on it and I believe in myself. It’s made me stronger and more sympathetic towards people who are hurting on the inside, a hurt that can’t always be seen.

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