Have you ever related to a movie so much that you cried for hours after watching it? Well, I have. The film in question? ‘Taare Zameen Par.’
This movie felt like a replica of my life. For all those who don’t know what dyslexia is, it is a learning disorder that involves difficulty reading due to problems identifying speech sounds and learning how they relate to letters and words (decoding). Also called reading disability, dyslexia affects areas of the brain that process language.
I still remember I was in the 2nd grade when this movie released, and when my parents saw it, they were determined to put me into a boarding school. I remember sitting on their bed while they kept searching for the same boarding school that “Ishaan Awasthi” went to (“New Era High School”). At that time, I thought of myself as an antagonist in my parents’ life and believed that I deserved this punishment. My parents ended up not sending me to any boarding school and taught me how to write correctly, from scratch, at home.
I wrote in a mirror image format until the 3rd grade and couldn’t write well in a manner that was understandable until at least the 5th grade. Most of my notebooks were always incomplete, my parents were fed up of me, and my teachers were never supportive of my condition. One of my teachers in 3rd grade called me out in front of the class and said: “You deserve to be in a school for special children, this is not a school for you.”
I was an 8-year-old child who believed that it was true. Due to the few unsupportive teachers, all the students in the school thought that I was good for nothing, I was often bullied, I struggled with my academic curriculum, my grasping power wasn’t similar to that of my other classmates. I needed comparatively more time to understand and learn concepts. I often mispronounced words for which people made fun of me a lot, until recently.
My mother is of massive support for me through all this. I remember how she taught me the alphabet. I had 26 different books for each letter; She made me write one huge letter ‘A’ on one side of the paper in that notebook until I got it right. Once I got that right, I had to write 2 ‘A’s’ on one sheet of the notebook and so on until I thoroughly learned how to write a particular letter at a reasonable size.
I had a lot of ‘friends’ around me who made me believe that I was incapable and unworthy of anything. These toxic people made me think that I wouldn’t ever have a good future. I never told anyone about my dyslexia until very recently.
These are just a few incidents that I faced while growing up with dyslexia, but I am not here to whine or tell you how much I have been through. No, the reason for telling my story is for people who are facing similar issues or know people who had to go through it.
Dyslexia is one of the most common learning disabilities in the world. It affects around 1 million people in India alone, so I am pretty sure at least some of the people reading this might have dyslexia and might’ve had similar experiences. I am here to tell you, having dyslexia can’t stop you from achieving anything. There were times when I thought that I couldn’t possibly achieve anything because of dyslexia and I blamed all my failures on it because blaming dyslexia was a lot easier than taking responsibility.
I can write this today; I can pronounce most of the words correctly now. Dyslexia is not something curable; it stays with you always; it is you who can learn how to fight it. Stop asking “Why me?” and start saying ” This is who I am and I can fight it” because if dyslexia decides what your future is going to be, then I wouldn’t be at Manipal Institute of communication, one of the leading communication colleges in the country.
I learned this the hard way, but you cannot blame all your failures on dyslexia or any other learning disability for that matter, because that disability is just a part of you are, and it certainly does not define you.
Featured Photo credit: PlusLexia.