Sophia McGee C’23 – Under the Surface – Living with Dyslexia

At a young age, I was diagnosed with a learning disability but no one knew what type of learning disability it was. All my life I struggled with retaining information, spelling, and forming proper grammatical sentences. I knew my ability in academics were worth at least an A- or A but was always short with a B. It was not until my senior year of high school that I was officially diagnosed with dyslexia.

Dyslexia is a learning difficulty which involves having trouble with reading, interpreting words but does not affect general knowledge. For example, Sometimes I find myself having immense difficulty with sounding out words and interpreting words. A lot of the time if I hear something like “car” I will ask someone if they said “cat” even though the first word was in fact “cat”. Having to retain lots of
information is quite hard but specifically being given directions verbally on how to do something.

There are actually 6 different types of dyslexia which are phonological, surface, visual, primary, secondary and trauma dyslexia. When you have dyslexia you can have one or many segments from each one. By learning about the different types of dyslexia, I understand what is going on with me, why I feel frustrated about trying to pronounce something, or why I learn more visually, rather then reading materials and I am able to advocate for myself, better my academics at Drew, and hopefully find ways to make my learning experience one that I won’t forget. I often spend my time at the Center for Academic Excellence because I get a lot of benefit out of their guidance in writing papers. I have people check my papers to make sure I am saying what needs to be said but also to see if I go off track. With that, I did a lot of research on dyslexia like the symptoms and common mistakes that happen, who has dyslexia, and why is it powerful ? I learned to accept what I have as a gift rather than a disability and use it to my advantage to think differently and impact the world in a variety of different ways. At the end of the day, everyone has something unique about themselves but you need to accept what you have as a gift and use it to your advantage including advocating for yourself.

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