Stories from the inside by Dear Dyslexic Community Member I am 55 and finally accepting that being dyslexic has made me who I am today. My background: I had older parents that escape from the horror of War World 2. My mother is German and my father was Hungarian. Both ended up in Canada, English is their second or third language. I am a middle child- brother 2years older and a younger sister 4 years younger. So my life struggles started the day I was born. My mum had a hard birth with me, they had to pull me out with forceps. My face was pinched in for about 10days. My mum told me that I was born ugly and that's is why l don't have a photo when I was born. A great start in life. My parents didn't know how to show love as their world was turned upside down. So bring this forward, I started Kindergarten. I failed, send me home to get more love. (did not happen) So now heading into grade one being older than the other kids. We moved a lot so it was hard for me to understand school. Teachers didn't have time to understand why I was having problems. I was pushed from grade to grade. So I found ways to skip school because I was so sad. I didn't understand why I was so dumb about things but yet I would find ways to be creative in raising money and enjoyed other people skills and listening to their stories. My best subject in school was PE drama, marketing and law. Fast forward to grade 6: I was struggling to not fail and repeat it again. I was even failing music – enjoyed it was but had no idea to spell the instruments and I was tone-deaf, the only way to pass the course was to beg the teacher to give me D. My English teacher had given up on me, there was a contest on memorizing a poem or speech and presenting to a crowd. I went up to my teacher and said that I wanted to give it ago. He laughed and said here is the list. I picked a poem and found away to memorize it. My neighbours took me to the contest, as my parents didn't care. Well, I proved that I could do it. I got 80 out of 100, I didn't win but I had the guts to stand in front of strangers reciting a poem. For me to remember it, I did with a bit of beat. (a bit of sing a song) I couldn't wait to show my teacher my results to show him that I wasn't dumb. I moved on to the next grade and so on. My grades would go up and down. Then grade 8, they saw that I was struggling, try to help, but unfortunately, it really didn't help and made me feel even worse. Off to High school (grade 10 to 12) only 3 more to go. Grade 10 averaging C’s and one D - full load of classes (10)did this while skipping most of my classes. I did as many classes to finish school quicker. I needed to get 103 credits to get my diploma. Completed 46 credits in year 10. Teachers asking my dad if I was retarded. He laughed it off with embarrassment on his face. Another hitting coming my way My dad was a teacher at the high school (welding) Grade 11 – I started to pick some classes that interest me. I did only 8 classes this time around. Credits (37) These are the classes that I enjoyed: Law,food science,marketing,driver ed and PE Well one day in my Law class, teacher asked me to read the board. I responded that I can see it but unable to read it, so she thought I was being funny and sent me to the principal office. I sat there wondering what I really did wrong. Well it turns out that I needed glasses, speech and hearing testing. So, I got glasses and not much that they can do for me about my speech or hearing. It was too late. Well, my grades now went from C’s to B’s and A's. Grade 12: Only needed 20 credits to go. So I only did 4 classes and my grades were still hitting B’s and A I worked few jobs from babysitting, MacDonald’s, banquet waitress,skating monitor. I then went to applied to work at IGA and did that for 4 years. Then I had a bad car accident that turned my life upside down. I was in a coma for 3 days, smashed my femur, arterial injury and grafts and many surgery to walk again. Many scars to deal with etc. But this is where I started to learn more about me and find my strengths. Ok,now is where I first heard the word Dyslexic. A psychic said to me: You struggle at school and you had very low self-esteem and thought you were dumb. Well I was in tears because how did you know that. She said that I wasn't dumb at all and I can do anything I put my mind to. This was when I was 20. Not understanding really what Dyslexic was, I just put it in back of my mind. But I decided to go for jobs that I thought that I was not smart enough to do. I just completed another surgery on my leg and was on crutches, sitting on the couch feeling sorry for myself, decided to look at jobs in the papers. I found a job for being a teller, After what the psychic said I went for it. It was just a block away from where I was living (all signs to go for it) I went to the bank and applied. Of course, I had an interview and that went great but then I had to do a test. My worse fears came true. I failed the test, but they thought that I was very gusty to applied to work when I was on crutches. So they asked how long would I be on crutches for, I told them the doctor said 6 months but I think I can get off in about 3 to 4 months. They hired me and gave me a chair to sit until I can stand. I did the train course for being a teller and moved up in bank. I just needed to believe in me and have someone to back me too. From there I ended up in the finance world next 30 years. I got my body right but now I needed to work on my mind set. I needed a fresh start to life, so I decided to travel and meet new people. I booked in 3 tours in Australia and New Zealand. Well my tour was full of Doctor, nurses ,teachers etc. I was panicking that I wasn’t smart like them, so I tended to stand back. I saw others that felt the same so I went forward them and we had our group. The first tour changed my life as I ended up meeting my husband. My second tour,I noticed that I seem to change my mindset and my personality came out and I decided to make sure that everyone on tour felt belong. Third tour: My personality even grew further. At the end of tour, I meet up with my husband to be . And decided to move to Australia. My first job in Australia was at NSW Land Title being a clerk and then moving into finance section. One of the best jobs, but it was a job that was for 3 months but they kept renewing for another 3months until I had to do a government test. I failed the test, so I had to find another job. It was funny that I could do my job well and they were nice to keep me until I could find another job. I found a teller job, and moved on. Then, I found another job that was a little bit more challenge and then moved to a higher position. Then moved to QLD. Failed many more test, and trying to get people to look pass that. I had long term jobs,8,10 years but then it got lot harder. Last 6 years or so no one wants to take a chance on me. I had to fight for my son as he is Dyslexic too, keep in mind I still don't know much about it. I was fighting blind but I wasn't going to let my son suffer like me. My son graduated from university with distinction. I made him to be fighter and stand tall. He has a full-time job in IT. I only really start to understand my dyslexic at the age of 49. I have many reports about me, and very interesting to read them. I really didn't understand the following about me: Easily distracted/annoyed by noises Zone out but not being aware of it. Miss speaks, miss uses, or miss pronounces words without realising it. Poor balance Difficulty remembering verbal instructions or directions. Poor recall of conversation or sequence of events. Difficulty will right and left and directions Can't read a map. Anxiety and stress when driving in unfamiliar places Need to be early at places (work) Avoid reading out loud and dislike public speaking Find ways to spell words and need to re-read a sentence in order to understand it. Gets tired or become bored quickly while reading Relies on others (husband, kids) Uncertainty with words, punctuation, and spelling when writing. Writes with all capital letters Easily frustrated Easily stressed and overwhelmed in certain situations Sticks to what I know, fear of new tasks or any situations where I am out of my comfort. Confusion, stress, physical health issues, time pressure and fatigue is significantly increased. I also have Auditory Processing Disorder. Short – term Auditory recall Poor Phonological Awareness But having all these problems has made me open my mind to others. To be patient and understanding and try to reach out and give them smile. I enjoyed listening to their stories and actually knowing who they are. I like to point out their strong skills and talents. I know that my strongest strength is customer services.