The following is by William Manzanares IV, author of I Can’t Read.
The world is full of individuals with dyslexia or other reading struggles, but most people would never know it. We see those who have the most trouble, but the majority of successful people with dyslexia tend to hide their struggles. Some adults may have dyslexia and not even know it.
For many adults my age and older, dyslexia went unnoticed and undiagnosed throughout our school years. Growing up, my teachers didn’t talk to me about my reading struggles. Instead, I came up with strategies to compensate for my weaknesses.
If you’re an adult who struggles with reading, you might be wondering if you have dyslexia. The hints lie in your past, and if you look back on your school years, some of these tactics will likely sound familiar.
Strategies in School
In school, I loathed public reading. When we had to read aloud in class, I’d count the number of desks ahead of me and find the exact paragraph I’d need to read. I’d then spend the whole class preparing to read that one paragraph instead of listening to the information being presented. I worked harder than my peers and was at a disadvantage, but with these strategies, I managed to hide my struggles for a long time.
I spent more hours than my peers searching through library catalogs and browsing encyclopedias and dictionaries. I constantly asked teachers and classmates, “What’s that word?” Once I had an answer, I’d memorize the new word. I couldn’t sound the words out letter by letter, but I could remember them. Even to this day, I can’t spell certain words, like entrepreneur, which ironically, I am! Yet I’ve found success by building up a lifetime of strengths to counteract my weaknesses.
Today, technology has caught up to the point where most kids with dyslexia don’t need to develop these old-school techniques. They can work around their difficulties using software and services like Grammarly and Audible, and can access nearly the same amount of information as their reading peers. The good news is that adults benefit from these services, too.
If you’re an adult who struggles to read, embrace the strengths you’ve developed over the years, whether they’re memory skills, research savvy, or conversational prowess. You’ve succeeded despite having to work harder than your peers, and that’s worth celebrating.
To learn more about William’s struggles with reading, check out I Can’t Read. If you’re more of an audiobook lover, you can find that version of the book at rebrand.ly/icantread. The ebook is available on Amazon.
William Manzanares IV was born and raised in the Tacoma area of Washington State and is an active member of the Puyallup Tribe. He is a serial entrepreneur, having owned and operated successful smoke shops, convenience stores, and restaurants since 2005. William is passionate about helping small business owners as well as struggling readers. To that end, he spends much of his time speaking with students about career planning and goal setting. Having grown up unable to read and struggling with dyslexia, William hopes his new book will equip kids to improve their literacy and inspire them to pursue their dreams.