Accepting Dyslexia

I love getting emails from successful Barton students – who want to give hope and encouragement to others who are just starting this journey. Here’s one from Kate. 

My name is Kate Schaefer, and I am dyslexic. I have been through the Barton System and let me tell you, it has done wonders.

I wrote this about the wonders of fighting, and eventually accepting, dyslexia. If I had read this when I was first diagnosed, it would have helped me so much emotionally along the way. Feel free to share it with anyone.

Dyslexia, defined by Webster’s dictionary, is a variable often familial learning disability involving difficulties in acquiring and processing language that is typically manifested by a lack of proficiency in reading, spelling, and writing.

This definition is undeniably verifiable and familiar to most people. However, roughly 15% of Americans have an understanding a bit beyond Webster’s description. They better comprehend, and are more comfortable with this word, because they have been at war with this genetic mutation their whole life. And I am one of the 15%.

Why did this happen? How come me and not my siblings? I don’t know. But I do know one thing. Although at times mind shatteringly challenging, it is one of the best things that has ever happened to me.

As I consider my personality, the obstacles I have had to overcome, and the immense amount of effort I have had to put forward, I know that something that has instilled this much strength, creativity, and determination in me could never be a bad thing.

Dyslexia has made me into the strong independent trooper I am today, and I hope that the other 15% of Americans see it this way as well.

My countless hours of tutoring, my recurring feeling of loss, and my constant need to put my best foot forward in order to succeed finally paid off. I went from a fourth grader unable to read the word “supply” to the winner of the Modern Woodmen Oration Contest.

I didn’t just start to succeed in academic classes, but in the Fine Arts as well. My dyslexia drove a passion for crafts, sewing, music, and decorating – like it has in many other dyslexics.

I am changed completely because of this, and I have made a decision to allow myself to fall in love with that fact.

I could be singing the same old “Why me?” song 5 years later.

But instead I am saying, “Why am I so lucky that I am a stronger, more creative woman than I would have been?”

Kate Schaefer

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