Surrounding Myself with People who Understood my Disability Changed my Life.

I was eight years old when I was diagnosed with dyslexia and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Dyslexia and ADD have affected every aspect of life. Dyslexia changes the physical structure of my brain. This made learning languages and processing information challenging.

During the early years of my life reading, writing and spelling was difficult. I dreaded the days when we were reading a chapter aloud in English or Hindi class. I would count the number of kids left till it was my turn. I could not bare the embarrassment of not being able to read in front of my class.

I hated submitting projects and giving exams. I knew that I would lose marks over my handwriting and there was nothing that I could do about it. I would get bullied constantly. My classmates would find new ways to make fun of me and exclude me out of group activities. I was their punching bag. To make things worse, my few friends who also join them from time to time.

As time passed by, bullying started affecting me less and less. My teachers supported me and give me extra attention in class. I could read and study a little by myself. I would always study for my paper at the last minute, my grade were good; fortunately. My school councilors recommended me to an educational therapist. I started attending remedial class with her around 5th grade.

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These were the only ’tuition’ classes that I was attending at that time. I loved going to these classes. Even though I was relearning English from the basic. The way I was being taught differed completely from school. Each class had a new and interesting topic about the English language. Since there were only 3 to 4 students at a time. Miss, as I used to call her, would ensure that we had learned the topic properly. There were also days where we would just goof off and play games like hangman.

My handwritting during 4th grade
My handwritting during 8th grade

I learned so much from these classes, right from the rules for spelling to sentence formation to reading properly. Finally, I could read loudly in front of my classmates during English class. Hindi was still a challenge, but I could at least read it slowly.

Having Dyslexia became my superpower. Even though I was not that great at math or language’s. I was amongst the best in my class for art, science, music, computer and even dancing. I was in the school choir. I made huge pieces of art and I performed several times at our founders day celebrations.

After finishing my 12th and joining engineering, I had became a different version of myself, Daksh 2.0. My technical skills had improved exponentially. I could speak in front of 500 people and not be afraid. I learned so many things that we never taught in school. While doing these activities, I found myself in a hyper-focus state where I would ignore everything until my task was complete.

It is estimated that between 5-10% of the population has dyslexia, but this number can also be as high as 17%.

During the first few weeks at the Enterprise Fellowship, I reflected on the things I was grateful for. Growing up in an environment where having a learning disability was celebrated made me the person I am today. My friends, teachers and my mentors took the time to talk to me. They accepted me with all of my flaws and guided me towards the right path.

Even though my friends teased me a lot, they never teased me for having dyslexia or ADD. They understood that I was different. That I might say or behave differently. They knew when to let me be myself and when to stop me from hurting myself. I could rely on them.

Especially during my first year of college. I had failed in one of my subject. Instead of my parents punishing me, they supported me. They encouraged to work harder and do better next time.

So, if one of your friends has a disability, what should you do?

First of all, reading this post is a good first step. Google about your friends disability. People with disabilities have some behavioural quarks that might seem odd. By understanding their behaviour not only will the two have a great time but also strengthen your friendship.

It is important to remember that each person deals with their disability differently. If one person is open about it the other might not. Start the conversation with them, but let them be one to continue it.

1 Comment
  • Rohini
    Posted at 12:54h, 10 July Reply

    It is so deep , the way you mentioned your struggles and connect that with your power. Really insightful !!!

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