By Alex Jones
As most children do, junior Drake Olson began learning how to read and write in kindergarten. The children around him began excelling and reading novels with ease, however, despite tremendous hard work and frustration, Olson wasn’t growing at the same pace.
“I couldn’t understand how or why all of the other kids my age were able to read so effortlessly and I was struggling so much, I felt so angry and embarrassed. It made me think I was always the dumbest kid in the room,” said Olson, when asked about his experiences as a child.
Around age 8, Olson and his family were approached by his third grade teacher, Amy Richmond. She brought it to his parents attention that he was having trouble with reading and suggested that there may be an underlying issue. Olson later came to the realization that he suffers from dyslexia, like 43.5 million other Americans, according to an article by the “Society for Neuroscience.”
Dyslexia is defined by the International Dyslexia Association, as a disorder that causes difficulty in word recognition, fluent reading and spelling. Unfortunately, most cases go undiagnosed or are simply dismissed. The disorder can make mindless everyday tasks, like reading a menu, seem daunting.
“It has made everyday life very difficult at times. I can’t read aloud in class without going over the text in my head a thousand times. I can’t skim read a book and get the basic idea like other people can,” said Olson.
Most people are unaware of dyslexia and how it can affect learning and growth. About 70-80 percent of children who are placed in special education for learning disabilities are dyslexic, according to the Online Learning Center for Dyslexia. The disorder impacts the lives of many individuals and appears in many different severities.
Olson has had to work much harder than most children. He has had to practice reading at home constantly, rewrite papers multiple times and resort to audiobooks when trying to understand material. Through repetitive work, determination and a drive for success, he has learned to overcome the adversity.
“It is important that people with dyslexia aren’t viewed as any different than anyone else. I just have to work a little harder than everyone else does, and it has taught me so much about working hard to achieve the things that I want to, regardless of the setbacks,” said Olson.