“….so don’t give me sympathy….just do your job.”

Dyslexia. It is a word that does not convey the far-reaching effects, just by hearing the sounds of those particular letters strung together. It is what some would call a “disability”; I say it is a difference.

Adults who experience dyslexia say:

The looks, the stares, the giggles . . . I wanted to show everybody that I could do better and also that I could read. — Magic Johnson, basketball legend

I had to train myself to focus my attention. I became very visual and learned how to create mental images in order to comprehend what I read. — Tom Cruise, actor

You should prefer a good scientist without literary abilities than a literate one without scientific skills. — Leonardo da Vinci

Having made a strenuous effort to understand the symbols he could make nothing of, he wept giant tears . . .– Caroline Commanville, on her uncle, Gustave FlaubertI, myself, was always recognized . . . as the “slow one” in the family.

I couldn’t read. I just scraped by. My solution back then was to read classic comic books because I could figure them out from the context of the pictures. Now I listen to books on tape. — Charles Schwab, founder of stock brokerage

I hated school . . . . One of the reasons was a learning disability, dyslexia, which no one understood at the time. I still can’t spell . . . — Loretta Young

I was one of the ‘puzzle children’ myself — a dyslexic . . . And I still have a hard time reading today. Accept the fact that you have a problem. Refuse to feel sorry for yourself. You have a challenge; never quit!– Nelson Rockefeller

I never read in school. I got really bad grades–D’s and F’s and C’s in some classes, and A’s and B’s in other classes. In the second week of the 11th grade, I just quit. When I was in school, it was really difficult. Almost everything I learned, I had to learn by listening. My report cards always said that I was not living up to my potential. — Cher

When I had dyslexia, they didn’t diagnose it as that. It was frustrating and embarrassing. I could tell you a lot of horror stories about what you feel like on the inside. — Nolan Ryan

I was, on the whole, considerably discouraged by my school days. It was not pleasant to feel oneself so completely outclassed and left behind at the beginning of the race. — Winston Churchill

It was quite true, and I knew it and accepted it. Writing and spelling were always terribly difficult for me. My letters were without originality. I was . . . an extraordinarily bad speller and have remained so until this day.– Agatha Christie

Willie was sent to lessons in spelling and grammar, but he never learned to spell. To the end of his life he produced highly idiosyncratic versions of words. — Biographer A. Norman Jeffares on William Butler Yeats

My father was an angry and impatient teacher and flung the reading book at my head. — W.B. Yeats

My teachers say I’m addled . . . my father thought I was stupid, and I almost decided I must be a dunce. — Thomas Edison

Since I was the stupidest kid in my class, it never occurred to me to try and be perfect, so I’ve always been happy as a writer just to entertain myself. That’s an easier place to start. — Stephen J. Cannell, screenwriter, producer, & director

He told me that his teachers reported that . . . he was mentally slow, unsociable, and adrift forever in his foolish dreams. — Hans Albert Einstein, on his father, Albert Einstein

Kids made fun of me because I was dark skinned, had a wide nose, and was dyslexic. Even as an actor, it took me a long time to realize why words and letters got jumbled in my mind and came out differently.– Danny Glover, actor

I grew up in a school system . . . where nobody understood the meaning of learning disorder. In the West Indies, I was constantly being physically abused because the whipping of students was permitted.– Harry Belafonte

I barely made it through school. I read real slow. But I like to find things that nobody else has found, like a dinosaur egg that has an embryo inside. Well, there are 36 of them in the world, and I found 35. — Dr. John R. Horner, American paleontologist

I just barely got through school. The problem was a learning disability, at a time when there was nowhere to get help. — Bruce Jenner, Olympic gold medalist

Young George . . . although he was bright and intelligent and bursting with energy, he was unable to read and write. Patton’s wife corrected his spelling, his punctuation, and his grammar. — Biographer Martin Blumenson on General George Patton

I am, myself, a very poor visualizer and find that I can seldom call to mind even a single letter of the alphabet in purely retinal terms. I must trace the letter by running my mental eye over its contour in order that the image of it shall leave any distinctness at all.– William James, psychologist and philosopher

My problem was reading very slowly. My parents said “Take as long as you need. As long as you’re going to read, just keep at it.” We didn’t know about learning disabilities back then. — Roger Wilkins, head of the Pulitzer Prize Board

As a child, I was called stupid and lazy. On the SAT I got 159 out of 800 in math. My parents had no idea that I had a learning disability. — Henry Winkler, actor

“I don’t feel sorry for myself. I don’t feel sorry for my friends. Feeling sorry is a disability. I don’t need another one. My friends don’t either. If I stopped to feel sorry…I have stopped. I can’t stop. I don’t have time. When you feel sorry for me, then you don’t make me work as hard as I need to. When I feel sorry for my friends, then I don’t expect as much from them…my sympathy makes them weaker. A friend does not do that. So, don’t feel sorry for me. Don’t give me any false cheeriness. I know what my life is, and I know what my friends’ lives are. We don’t stop and we don’t cry. I know I have a disability, but sympathy will not be it. I just learn to cope and go on. You have to make me, even when I don’t feel like it. So, don’t give me that wide-eyed head tilting sympathetic smile….just do your job,” —- excerpt from Copper Janus, part of her conversation with her new physical therapist.

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