come take a walk in the life of a dyslexic. have you ever wondered what was the big deal about people seeing “backwards”? dyslexia is so much more than that! come with me inside the life of isabella who will walk you through her challenges and show you how she conquers the fight of dyslexia. isabella is humorous and will tell you just what’s on her mind. sometimes she may even tell you things that she means to just think. are you dyslexic? this books for you. do you know a dyslexic? this books for you. does none of this apply to you? well, read it just because it’s a darn cute book. i know you’ll learn something and i promise you’ll laugh. isabella will have you laughing from the start, and you just may shed a tear for yourself or someone you know.
e x c e r p t
from the author’s heart, to the parents:……
i won’t throw in the towel for all the kid’s sake, for yours and mine
if taylor were reading this book, her eyes would be drawn to the white on the page instead of the neatly typed black letters. the black letters have been formed together so perfectly to make all these words. why does her brain see the white, when our eyes automatically go to the black? why is she different? what makes her brain do what it does? every time we asked her how she saw, it seemed pointless, because “how she sees” is how she has always seen. try to describe how you see, when you’ve never known any different. after all, she thought this was how everyone saw. when letters appear backwards, words or even lines fall off the page, letters appear “glowing”, “blurry” or “on-fire” – – is this normal? if it’s the only way you’ve ever seen, it is! when the white on the page fights the letters and chooses to divide the word “thought”
t hou gh t, it’s kind of hard to tell that’s “thought”, isn’t it? after all, she doesn’t get to decide where words are divided, her brain does. this is taylor’s cross to bear. when you get a bad headache and become nauseous every time you read, well welcome to scotopic sensitivity syndrome (sss) or, better known as irlen syndrome. helen irlen is who we have to thank for discovering that color truly does make a difference for some people. many with dyslexia also have irlen syndrome, however not everyone.
watching taylor get tested for irlen was horrible! i never knew that was how she saw until that day. frankly, i felt like she was lucky to have been able to read anything. i felt like i had failed her. i felt like we had failed her. i felt like the school had failed her. taylor now has purple glasses to help with her irlen syndrome. she’s known as “the girl in the cool purple glasses”. when she doesn’t have her glasses on, we can tell just how much the sun and light affect her eyes. colored filters on the lenses provide a much needed protection. in layman’s terms, irlen syndrome (sss) is where your brain is “allergic” to certain types of light and cannot filter certain types of light. when these types of light come into your brain, your brain “sneezes” as it would to an allergy. when she is not wearing her glasses, the glare is back, the “sneezing” begins and so on. sunny days wreak havoc on her eyes. the glasses have given her more confidence and tons more energy. i cannot begin to describe what a different child she is! a dyslexic brain has to work five times as hard as a non-dyslexic, and they’re typically exhausted at the end of the day. i’m sure, you have seen this in your own child. we have seen a huge difference since wearing the glasses and we hope it will only get better. i would like to stop and mention one thing, i do believe bad things happen to good people and we will all learn something from this. if it’s patience, then we’re not done! taylor will be a different person because of the trials that she has been through; i am sure of this! there are many, many famous dyslexics who have made a huge difference in this world! your child has a great chance out there, but they need your support! taylor already has so much compassion for others. i know she’s going to make it easier for the children that come after her. we are spreading the word and God knows neither taylor nor i meet a stranger. we’ll have the whole world informed regarding dyslexia and irlen syndrome soon, at our rate of talking. sometimes i do want to throw in the towel and say, “ok God, i’m tired today, ……i don’t want to play dyslexia or irlen syndrome.” but, guess what, i don’t have that choice. i won’t make that choice! as would any decent parent, i charge on and try to be an encourager through many, many tears. it would have been nice to have known all this in advance and we could have bought stock in kleenex. i don’t believe in coincidence, so therefore i believe taylor is dyslexic for a reason. i have been told that i have the gift of mercy, and while i don’t believe a lot of things, i believe this to be true. some days i think “why me”, “why her”, “why us”, “what did we do”, “what did we not do?” i don’t know, and probably never will know the answer to any of these, and i guess that’s ok. my hope is that we can make a difference for others through this–that not everyone will have to fall as many times as we have. and parents, please, please remember when you get that sword out to fight your child’s battle, if anyone has to fall on that sword, make sure it’s you and not your child. if we can help one person, and then they in turn can help one person, then hopefully these children will not have to think they are stupid. i will be so happy if i can just live to see taylor successful. whether that means doing something incredible in this world or just reading a book together, closing it at the end and looking at her face smile a proud smile and we cry together that we did it!! we will persevere, we will not give up, we were given this battle and we will fight! i will not throw in the towel for all the kid’s sake, for yours and mine. i will not give up!
this book is for the children!
Chapter 1- we’re “living lexi” together, you and i, won’t you come along
it’s me isabella (pronounced ee sa bella). it’s important that you know how to pronounce my name, since i am the star of the book. well, you should also know that i’m dyslexic. you’ll see that we dyslexic kids are very special. wow! that was a shocker, bet you already knew that. what kind of a sick joke was someone playing on us dyslexics, …making that word so hard to say? i have trouble reading the words “a” and “the”, do you think i can read the word dyslexia? not! from here on out, let’s just call it “lexi”, that’s way easier to say, don’t you think? well, since we’re going there,… what was my mom thinking when she named me isabella, did she not know that i would have “lexi”? don’t parents know these things? she is always reminding me that she knows a lot more than i think. bet you heard that one before. all parents use that one. don’t go naming your kid something that says ee, but is spelled is, just in case, unless you can tell the future. what was wrong with kim or kay, or just something easy? after all, those are my aunts’ names. i thought you were supposed to name your kid after someone anyway. you know at school, when they give us spelling tests, they should give us our real names as bonus words. speaking of aunts and bonus words, my other aunt is courtney estelle; can you see me spelling that right? no way! that’s why i just call her “aunt honey.” hey, i do love spelling. i’m not good at it, but sometimes i just wanna throw it out the window. i’m a good guesser, most of the time, but they are so picky with their spelling words. speaking of words, guess what the 10 most used words in the english language are? (i sound like a teacher don’t i, but i won’t give you homework) the, of, and, a, to, in, is, you, that and it. well, while i have you guessing, what are the most difficult words for someone with “lexi” to read–? those same words. freaky, huh? that’s what this book is all about, the trials and difficulties someone with “lexi” goes through every day. “lexi” isn’t something that just comes and goes, it’s always with you. every morning, every day, every night, everywhere you go, no matter what you are doing. sometimes i just wish it would stay home when i go to school. there is no “magic” pill to take to make it go away. i want you to know that i’m just like you, and we’ll get through this together. even if you aren’t able to read this book alone, have someone read it with you. i want to teach you strategies (that’s a big word for things that have helped me). i’ve learned a lot since i found out that i have “lexi”, and i want you to know these things too. my mom said it was nice to share. just not colds and germs and stuff like that. she acts like she knows ‘cause she used to teach “charm school.” i hope she doesn’t make me take that, just what i need is more school. (lol) anyway… we’re living “lexi” together, you and i. won’t you come along?
Chapter 2- the taks test and other stupid things they make you do – that they know you can’t
me and my mom sat on the couch slowly tearing open what seemed to be such a small envelope compared to that huge taks test. after all, we had lived the taks test for days, weeks, even months. it seemed like that was all we did in school. well, except for the times we were practicing for the “benchmark” and the times we were practicing for the “practice benchmark”, i call it the “fake benchmark”. my mom had promised me a trip to six flags if i didn’t pass. yep, i said didn’t pass. finally, the envelope was open. six flags it was, i didn’t pass! tears flooded down my face, and my mom hugged me so tightly that nothing could come between us. good thing my “aunt honey” bought me a season’s pass to six flags, ‘cause it looks like i might be going a lot! i heard my mom and dad talk that night, how sad they were, that so many things seemed just out of their control. i’m smart enough to know that all children don’t learn the same way. – why do our schools want us to? we aren’t little robots. children are unique, (that’s one of my mom’s favorite words by the way), and so are our brains. we are all different and learn differently. what happened to individuals? hey, don’t we say that in the “pledge” every day…? you know, “…individual, with liberty and justice for all.” we’ll, it’s something like that! maybe the teachers at my school need to go back to school. has anyone checked their taks scores? i think i’m gonna ask for ‘em. Will someone please come get me out of iss (in school suspension) if they put me in there for asking that? (remember, we’re in this together.) can’t they focus on what works with me instead of what doesn’t? in the end will my taks score really matter, or will i be successful by what i do with my life? i believe success is for everyone and i want it! i know you want it too, that’s why i’m happy you’re reading my book. as long as we get to the finish line, does it matter how we got there? together we can make it! are y’all coming with me? let’s not let “lexi” stop us, let’s not let “lexi” win!
Chapter 3- an elective is something you elect, unless you’re me.… i can’t catch a break.
i had waited all through elementary school to get to the 5th grade so i could have an elective. i wanted so badly to be in theatre arts (i think that used to be called drama when our moms were little). i thought theatre sounded like so much fun. after all, i love the movies and i am known as a drama queen. could you really be at school and act like you’re a movie star? hollywood, here i come! hannah montana you don’t have anything on me. hey, this theatre thing sounds lots better than reading to me, how ‘bout you? Let’s see, “be in a movie” or read……”…be in a movie” or read…? well, here’s the kicker, you better sit down for this one. i get to school to pick up my schedule and there’s no elective! i’m going to math enrichment instead. i’m maybe not the brightest star in the sky, but someone tell me, please…, isn’t an elective something you, well, elect? i know i didn’t elect a math class. duh! what were they thinking? something went wrong, real wrong. i’m not even sure what enrichment means, but i don’t think i like it. i’m thinking maybe if it didn’t have math in front of it, it might be ok. has this ever happened to you? they said i didn’t pass the math taks, and so i guess this is my punishment. well, i just want to know one thing. do i at least get recess this year? they love to make me stay in at recess if i don’t finish my work on time. they call it “rethink it”. do they think i haven’t “thought” about it? i’ve “thought” and “thought” and “thunk” about it all i know! i’ve even had to eat my lunch in the classroom to finish up my work. this school thing is about to get on my last nerve!
Chapter 4- maybe I’’m how you’re suppose to be and everyone else is different
i started a new school this year, and to a kid, that means all new friends. i could have gone to another school with all my regular friends – but it seemed like i needed a change. “lexi” and i were on the move. i have always felt “different”, well, less than “normal”. what is “normal” anyway? is the person who defined “normal” “normal?” maybe i’m how you’re supposed to be and everyone else is different. well, about this school, you know how it feels to be at home? – that’s how it feels at my new school. everyone is not, …yep, i’m gonna have to say it…“not all that!” everyone here is special though, even the teachers. no, ‘specially the teachers! no matter if you have “lexi” or not, you have friends that love you! this is my first year with my purple lenses in my glasses, and i’m known as the “girl in the cool purple glasses.” one teacher calls me “hollywood”, i don’t know his name, but i sure do like him. he makes me feel special. everytime he sees me, he says it and it makes my face smile. another girl, in my science class, wore sunglasses one day. she told our teacher that they made her read better. i saw it as she wanted to look like me! how cool is that! donna shepard rocks! no matter how “special” you are, “special olympics”, “lexi”, “A.D.D.” “A.D.H.D”, “special k”, it’s all ok. you are special! i’ve made so many new friends, real friends this time! i have friends that have had heart surgery, ones that can’t walk, can’t write, and they are all special to me. i am special to them, even though i can’t read! i don’t treat them “different” and they don’t treat me “different” either. one boy who can’t walk or write helps me read, and i help him write. we make a good team. my mom calls it, “we compliment each other.” there’s that “charm school” thing again. i think she means it as a good thing though. after all, everyone does like a compliment. i know so many of you reading this book (or even if you are just trying to read this book) feel the same way. ok, say you do. did you say it? now doesn’t that feel better? doesn’t it feel better to know you are not alone? i’m just like you!
Chapter 5- is the 4th of july always on the 4th and other things that go bonkers in my head
i can’t always remember the right word to say. sound familiar? like, i’ll call “english muffins” “london bridges”. hey, i’m not making this stuff up. sometimes it’s hard for my mom to figure out what i mean, but she always does. i think she practices when i’m asleep. something else that is so hard for me to remember is the difference between “tomorrow” and “yesterday.” i might say, “what are we gonna do yesterday?” or, “remember what we did tomorrow?” many, many times for me tomorrow is yesterday, and yesterday is tomorrow. it gets really confusing when you are talking about yesterday and calling it tomorrow. someone without “lexi” might get really confused and not be able to keep up!. mom normally knows what i’m talking about though. i’m really bad at my friend’s names. yep, i said friends. that’s embarrassing! you probably do these same things, too. we’re probably lucky to have friends when we call them by somebody else’s name. i can remember though; my brain loves to remember at least the “fun” stuff. i am training it to remember everything else, you know the “not so fun stuff.” i’ll be talking to my mom about something fun we did years ago, and she’ll say, “how did you remember that, i can’t remember yesterday?” i think that’s when my mom says, “i’ve slept since then.” what’s that suppose to mean? what’s my mom sleeping every night have to do with the fun things we did when i was little that i can remember and she can’t? oh, sometimes i just get so confused! hitting close to home huh? i think that means that you get confused too? do they come up with these sayings just to confuse us? my dad told me the other day, “you’re barking up the wrong tree.” what tree? i didn’t know we were talking ‘bout a tree. good grief! that’s another thing, my mom says, “good grief charlie brown”…what’s charlie brown got to do with it? does she think that’s my name? didn’t she name me? hello? isabella, remember? here’s another thing. you know when your mom says, “go put the clothes in the dryer,” i never know if that’s the washer or the dryer. you would think it sounds so easy, but not for me. i’m not sure which one washes and which one dries. those wires just love to cross in my brain when we start talking about doing the laundry. guess what, she still makes me help with the laundry. what about learning the “hot” and “cold” water? get burned a few times and you’ll wish that one was easy. some things i’ll just never figure out. whew! see how “lexi” affects your whole life, everything you do? and people just think we see backwards. i wish!