“Help me! Do something. Help me!”- I had told my mom earlier that day. I sat there wondering what could possibly be wrong with me. My quarterly results had come and I had successfully managed to fail in all the subjects except English and Sanskrit. In Sanskrit, I had just scraped through. Half yearly and final exams were left and at this rate I was sure I wouldn’t be able to pass in those two as well. Impending fear of repeating the 9th grade or being a school dropout (which I thought was more likely) had set in and I was desperately looking out for solutions. No one was able to figure out what was happening. Tuitions after tuitions, sitting and trying hard to study, repeatedly reading the same paragraph again and again, solving the same problem ten times, nothing seemed to work. It didn’t make sense. And I didn’t know how to make my school teachers or classmates understand what was happening. I was crowned with all names like “Lazy”,” Slow”, “Dull” etc. Going to school was a big effort. Finding excuses to skip going to school was a bigger effort! Especially on days when some of the teachers had this amazing habit of reading out your marks to the whole class while distributing the exams sheets after correction. It was the peak of humiliation when a comment about my mark would follow resulting in the rest of the class gaping, commenting or either laughing at me. I would look at the questions in the exams and remember that I had learnt the answers but, everything was blank in my head. By the time I actually managed to remember something, time would be up. My handwriting was good but considering the speed at which I used to write, my answer papers would end up incomplete most of the time.
I felt enemies didn’t come in the form of human beings but subjects! And I felt Math was the worst of them all. Math was a real hard nut to crack. Chemistry was like Greek and Latin. Physics had formulas and a little bit of math so that was like my second worst enemy. I liked English and Biology. Biology mainly because the teacher was such a sweetheart and the whole school loved her. Since Hindi was too hard I had switched my second language to Sanskrit, giving me a tiny ray of hope there. Imagine tucking your glasses at the top of your head and then searching the whole house for them. Well history was just like that! Remembering all those dates and incidents! Phew! I was a pretty average student till 6th grade but, from 7th it all slowly started. First it was Hindi and then Math, and slowly the rest of the subjects. By the time I finished 8th, my report card was decorated with red ink. And you wouldn’t even want to know how my 9th grade report card looked! To cope with all this, my interest in Art grew and I started going for Art classes. Colouring, doodling, writing poems and making craft items were of great interest to me. Many of you must be wondering what I am trying to convey here but, I know that a few of you out there can relate to what I went through.
Dyslexia is not that difficult to handle. Being dyslexic and unaware about it is quite a thing to handle. Helplessness, guilt, frustration and low self esteem are big thorns pricking you for no fault of yours. Dyslexia is not a parameter for discrimination or a matter of worry. It has nothing to do with intelligence. In fact dyslexic people have amazingly high IQ (Give me a five, fellow friends!). Consider all these famous people- Einstein, Picasso, Da Vinci, Steven Spielberg, Agatha Christie, Tom Cruise, Abishek Bachan, Steve Jobs, Robin Williams and a lot more which I’m sure would result in a long list. All the misconceptions that especially parents and school teachers have about it should be dropped. Every teacher who joins a school should be trained to identify a dyslexic child. Okay, so coming back to my story, my parents were worried. My mom knew there was something more to it than just failing but couldn’t pin point what. Prayer and Faith worked for her. One day while reading the newspaper, an article about dyslexia caught her attention. She started making enquiries and got a few leads about MDA and Ananya. That moment is what I would call a big miracle that happened in my life! I soon found myself going to Ananya for an assessment. The minute I entered the school and saw other kids, I knew I was not alone. I knew it wasn’t my fault. There was Hope! When I joined Ananya I had a big smile on my face. The fear of either repeating a year again or dropping out of school had vanished. I spent just one year in Ananya but, I would say that it was easily the best and happiest in my school life. The teachers were so warm and friendly. Their amazing teaching methods (Key points were my favourite) and giving individual attention did magic. They showered us with such positivity and motivation and built up our confidence. My classmates turned out to be such good friends. It was so easy to relate to them since they went through similar issues in school. I looked forward to going to school. The best part was getting extra time and calculator for final exams. I passed my 10th std scoring 77%. For a kid who failed all the while in school, passing out with 77% was awesome! My life had changed. My classmates and I went ahead and joined regular school in 11th. Some of my friends took commerce and others, science. They later ended up graduating in B.Com and Engineering successfully. I took Home Science and Dress designing, and passed out with 92%, topping my course in school. Viscom followed in college after that. MDA helped me in getting extra time for exams in college as well. As I’m writing this, I feel very grateful and thankful. Thanks to my most supportive parents. Thanks to my best friends from Ananya for making this rollercoaster ride a fun one! And the Biggest thanks to Ananya, MDA and the teachers who were there for us. Not to just only teach but to make a big difference in our lives. Thank you!
If Children with dyslexia can't learn the way we teach, then we teach the way they learn