Once again this week high school student and Yellow Parachute Learning Partners client Bernie Whitely is serving as our guest blogger. Here is part 2 of her blog:

Having been diagnosed with dyslexia at a young age, I know I’ll be dealing with it for the rest of my life. It won’t ever be super-easy or a walk in the park, but I don’t ask “why me?” If I didn’t have dyslexia, my school career and many things would be easier and, perhaps, I wouldn’t have to work as hard. But I think that  because of my dyslexia, I have gained skills and a lot of resiliency that I would otherwise not have.

I always like talking about this. It can be really difficult to share the things that have been hard for me, but I also think it’s cool to talk about because especially if parents or kids who are younger and have dyslexia will see this, my story can help them see someone else’s experiences and know that it won’t always be so hard and scary.

A lot of times, assignments take me twice as long as my peers, or they’re much harder for whatever reason… but I’ve gained a lot of skills which were born out of the struggles caused by my dyslexia. Other people that I talk to who have learning disabilities, are like “this really sucks!” I’m like “I know, but imagine when you get to college or when you get further on in life, imagine how prepared you’re going to be because of the skills you’re learning to adjust to, and accommodate for your learning disability!”

I think that a lot of times people think of dyslexia as only affecting classroom work, but it really carries through all of life. For me, it’s more than just switching letters around. My dyslexia is really woven throughout my life. In a classroom setting, I’d switch lines in a book, skip a line, switch letters… Especially on a test, that can be pretty difficult. On a test, that changes everything you’re working on! Memorization is hard for me. It’s hard to put something into my long-term memory and on a test grab that, all the information, and spit it back out.

Advice to Others

If asked to give advice to people my age I would say, first of all that I understand how hard this is… Being older and having so much to do like sports and other extracurriculars, plus having and having dyslexia is really difficult. I would say that you have made it this far already and you’ve made it through your young years not really knowing what dyslexia is, (or ADD, ADHD, or dysgraphia) but you did it and now you’re older, you know more, you have more tools, so just look at how well you’re able to do now!

If younger kids are struggling, I feel like I just want to give them a hug and be like “I get it.” I was literally that kid in the back of the classroom who was like “I don’t know what I’m doing.” It’s different for everyone. My teachers were always so supportive. Tell your teacher if you’re struggling, because especially when you’re young, it’s really hard to go through that alone. It gets better.

It may seem like a cheesy quote you’d put on the wall, but I feel very strongly that anything you struggle with is a blessing in disguise. When you’re really going through it, it’s not fun. Maybe that struggle will come back in your life… Whether it’s a struggle with mental health or a learning disability, it’s not like one and done. I think that if I didn’t have dyslexia I definitely wouldn’t have done as well as I have. I really learned how to fail, which I think is super important. I was forced to learn how to fail because of dyslexia which wasn’t fun, but now I’m like “okay, it’s okay.”

Yellow Parachute Learning Partners