Learning to Live with Dyslexia

written by: Eagle Hill School
Dyslexia is the most notorious of all the learning disabilitiesperhaps because of how frustrating it can be to live with it. That isn’t to say that other learning disabilities, such as ADD, aren’t equally challenging, but dyslexia presents a unique set of challenges.

This article will talk not only about how dyslexia can pose difficulties on a day-to-day basis, but how to cope with them and learn to live more fully despite what may seem like an impossible disability.

Keeping Up with Conversation

It’s largely incorrect to think of dyslexia as just a “reading problem.” People with dyslexia suffer in a variety of different ways due to the way their brains process information. As people who suffer with this learning difference get older, it is often reading and writing that are least frustrating. Instead, because of issues with short-term memory and processing speed, everyday activities such as following conversations, following instructions, or effectively articulating a point become extremely taxing.
A few things that may help students who suffer with dyslexia are:
  • Keeping Notes on ConversationsWhile it’s not practical 100 percent of the time, there are very few instances in which a person, especially a student, can’t jot down notes. Doing this will help them remember all the information they are presented with so they can later synthesize it to form a response or an opinion.
  • Rewriting InstructionsThis doesn’t mean changing the order or the terms, but rather writing instructions in a way that makes sense to that person. It’s often useful to then verify that the instructions are correctboth at school and beyond this is looked at as being conscientious, not “weird” or “unusual.”
Playing Your Strengths

While people with dyslexia might not be the strongest readers or writers, they typically possess other strengths, such as creative or “big picture” thinking. For students who might not be able to contribute by writing the most impeccable essays, there is a chance to shine in the classroom, participating through sharing their unique understanding of the material.  
Students should speak up about what they feel are their strengths and share them both with teachers and classmates.

Telling Your Story

Telling other people, especially those who might not be able to relate directly, about a learning disability can be extremely difficult. Aside from fear of judgement, there is also the risk of not being understood completely. People who struggle with dyslexia often feel this more poignantly because they otherwise seem “normal.” However, talking about your disability can be an immense relief.
Students who feel uncomfortable sharing this information randomly (and who wouldn’t?) might find it easier to seek out peers who they know experience similar challenges, or even look for groups in their areas that provide this sort of support.
There is no shame in having and admitting you have dyslexia. Some of the greatest thinkers in history, several world leaders, and important executives have suffered with this exact disorder. Those who have been able to embrace their (dis)ability and grow from it, even using it to their advantage, have accomplished truly amazing things.

What is Learning Diversity About?

Learning Diversity is a blog hosted by Eagle Hill School where educators, students, and other members of the LD community regularly contribute posts and critical essays about learning and living in spaces that privilege the inevitability of human diversity.

The contributors of Learning Diversity come together to engage our readers from a variety of disciplines, including the humanities, social sciences, biological sciences and mathematics, athletics, and residential life. Embracing learning diversity means understanding and respecting our students as whole persons.

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An innovative approach to LD education in a classic New England boarding school environment, where diverse learners achieve success.