From reading roadblocks to listening triumphs: The gift of a dyslexia diagnosis

Text To Speech written with colored magnetic letters.Learning I had dyslexia in 2012 was one of the best things that happened in my life. I love information; I cherished spending time at the library growing up.
I would skim and search for keywords related to my interests. However, if I opted to read every word, the process was painstakingly slow, and I couldn’t retain much of the information I read.
The first person to bring this issue to light was my wife. I remember struggling to make sense of a letter, and in frustration, I asked her, “I’m reading this but it doesn’t make any sense to me, can you read this and tell me what it says?”
Upon hearing this, she asked, “Are you dyslexic?” I initially dismissed her question because my understanding of dyslexia was stereotypical and limited to letter reversal.
However, I later learned that letter reversal is just a characteristic of one form of dyslexia out of twelve. The doctor who diagnosed me identified my issue as comprehension dyslexia.
Subsequently, he suggested I use text-to-speech technology. I promptly purchased a Kindle and the first book I downloaded was “Socrates Way” – a book I’d been trying to read for years.
I found reading it physically draining as I could barely manage ten pages or less before needing to rest. Despite efforts to highlight and underline important sections, my retention wasn’t improving.
The experience of using text-to-speech for the first time was transformative. As I listened to “Socrates Way”, I nearly cried with relief. I comprehended everything and retained the information far better, simply by using my ears instead of my eyes.
Suddenly, the world of information was accessible to me. Today, I use text-to-speech for almost everything, including Facebook posts, emails, books, and articles. It’s been nothing short of miraculous; I am now a veritable listening machine.
Despite my astonishment at how far I’ve managed to come academically with this hurdle, it’s a testament to my resourcefulness and to others facing similar challenges. However, understanding the precise nature of my dyslexia and learning how to adjust to it has been invaluable.
The knowledge and tools I now have enable me to engage with the world of written information with joy, rather than with struggle. This newfound ease has opened up a world that was always a little out of reach and made my lifelong love of learning that much sweeter.

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