A Dyslexic's Journey
A student has created a film describing her journey with dyslexia - read more about her experience in her own words:
Throughout my life, dyslexia was the name of an invisible force that held me back. I was intent on developing an animation to help the viewer understand what it feels like to have dyslexia.
When I was younger, I was aware I was different. It was apparently so easy for my classmates to understand reading and spelling. But no matter how hard I tried, the gap between me and my classmates grew larger.
Dyslexia was an obstacle course in my childhood that I had to navigate every day. I remember wondering why I needed extra support, why words were black sticks on white paper to me, why everything was so hard. I had all these ideas in my head for stories and I couldn’t get them on paper. Maths was beyond me; no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t understand the basics.
My family and teachers were very aware of my challenges and it became their biggest fear and concern for me. I saw an Educational Psychologist (EP), who gave me tests which led to a diagnosis of Dyslexia. Giving my challenges a name helped me and my teachers find a path through my problems. But having the name also affected the way I saw myself. It took so much effort to decode the letters that the meaning of the words would escape me. I had so much focus on decoding and extra help that the joy of reading was lost on me and it’s something I struggle with still.
I fell behind with my schoolwork no matter how hard I tried. I would give it everything I could and fail. One of my teachers said she didn’t worry about dyslexia as much as the legacy of comparing yourself to others at a young age and finding you are less.
The animation is based on a moment that had a huge impact on me. It made me understand that everything will be ok: I’ll be ok. My grandparents came to visit with a present: a vibrant red kite. My siblings and I raced out into the garden, and I watched my father and grandfather try to make it fly. One hour passed, and then two. Although they were doing the right things, the kite kept falling. They decided to save it for another day.
I asked my grandfather if I could try one last time. Everyone thought it would be hard for me. But he said: “Sure, let’s give it a go.” My grandfather held the kite steady, I took a deep breath, and I ran with all my heart. It struggled at first but I didn’t stop. I didn’t look back; only forward. I heard everyone cheering around me and looked up. The kite floated in the air perfectly.
Now, it’s easier for me to navigate my dyslexia. I’ve learned how to manage it and even make it into an advantage which I never thought could happen. Dyslexia gives me a different point of view. I have a lot of empathy for people who struggle in any way, not just because of dyslexia, but because I know what that’s like. I feel I see the world creatively because my dyslexia gives me a different perspective. A good eye for filming, photography and a passion for design are the result of how I see the world, and I have to give some of the credit for that to dyslexia, too. I also find it easy to collaborate and ask for help because that is the only way I powered through my problems.
Throughout my whole life, dyslexia held me back, but the older I have gotten I’ve realised that dyslexia does not stop me. I’ve learned it’s people’s opinions of my dyslexia that have stopped me.
When I look back on the day when I flew the kite and no one thought I could, I realise that there is a cure for dyslexia: your drive. If I run fast enough and try hard enough, I can make everything fly. I wanted to create an animation that takes a viewer on that journey.
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25 June 2021