Students Speak: School Was Always a Struggle for Me, Part 1

ResearchILD intern, Acadia Connor, is a recent high school graduate who has dyslexia and is a college-bound honors student. Acadia recently addressed a State of Massachusetts Education Committee on dyslexia advocacy through Learning Ally. Here is part one of her inspiring talk:



Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life thinking it’s stupid. — Albert Einstein

“My journey with dyslexia started in elementary school. Many teachers knew I had difficulty reading, but with my expansive vocabulary I went undiagnosed for years. In middle school, I was called stupid and laughed at by my peers for not reading aloud correctly. For example, I might read the word ‘car’ and then say, ‘automobile.’

In 6th grade, my English teacher luckily recognized my dyslexia and spoke to my parents. I met with a neuropsychologist, who concluded I had moderate dyslexia — two of the three types.

I was stunned. I thought that dyslexics were unintelligent and saw everything backwards, both attributes with which I did not identify. I felt mislabeled, but actively learned about dyslexia. I do not read backwards. I might be thinking ‘b’ and then write ‘d,’ but I don’t see ‘b’ and ‘d’ as each other. My brain manipulates information differently and that is what makes the letters seem backwards.

I was told by many to ‘work harder,’ and I do. Sometimes I go home and watch videos, such as Crash Course US History, to support in-class lessons. I just need the information presented in a different way.

The school provided me with an Independent Education Program, which levels the academic playing field. For example, the school gives me extra time because my brain takes longer to process questions. Open responses are always the hardest for me. Taking languages as a dyslexic is horrible! I had a hard enough time understanding English without learning how to conjugate irregular verbs in French.”

  • Stay tuned for part 2 and check out the video below!

  • Michael Greschler, M.Ed., SMARTS Director