I look at the letters and have to make a word each time. To me it's everyday, it's normal, it's constant. When you see words, you see words, but I see letters. Every word is a new word.
I see the letters dancing across the page. “C A T, cat. D O G, dog. Sound it out Logan. C A T makes cat.” But it doesn't make sense, how could C A T make cat when its C A T? All the other children in the classroom seemed to understand. How could I be the only one? I look around at the bright colors with words all over the wall not knowing what they said or what they meant, I could barely spell my own name. I knew I had dyslexia, I knew it meant I was different and I knew it would be a struggle. I used to always ask my mom what it meant to be dyslexic; she always told me that it means I learn differently than other students, not any worse.
But it was worse, it was so much worse.
Most girls hate the way they look, but I hated my brain, the way I processed information. I was in 7th grade when I heard the word SPED slur out of a young boys mouth; he was quiet because a teacher was coming near and he didn’t want her to hear. But I heard and I felt that single word sprinting through my blood, my face felt hot from the anger this little word caused. He didn’t say it to me or even about me, but it still hurt because of the way he said it, like it was a swear, something dirty and gross.
English, that's where I struggled most, always had until I reached High School. Books, books, books. Read, read, read. But I wasn’t much of a reader back then because it hurt. It hurt me to read when it took two hours to read one chapter, meanwhile everyone else is on chapter ten and I’m back 74 pages. I looked at my MCAS scores that always seemed to say “Needs Improvement”, but how could that be when I took the whole day to complete that open response.
I always tried my very best, but my best didn’t seem to be good enough. It is said that it takes five times more energy to complete academic work when you have dyslexia. I believe it. There are so many times when all I want to do is give up, let go, not worry, maybe run away. My brain was under constant stress, learning is hard for everyone but learning to learn is even harder.
If good grades were determined by your effort, I would have gotten straight A’s in middle school, but it’s not. In elementary and middle school it's about how much information, words, books, math equations you can remember for the rest of the year.
People believe that children with dyslexia just don’t try, but they do try. I work twice as hard, only to get a worse grade. To me it's everyday, it's normal, it's constant.
About the author: Logan Keller is a seventeen year old student attending Hudson High School in Massachusetts. She has no past publications. Growing up as a dyslexic student, Logan struggled for most of her childhood to find content with her learning disability. "SPED" is one of Logan's favorite pieces because through it she was able to thoroughly express her feelings to the people around her.