by Glen Kapostas
Survivor I see that dyslexia has many forms. The worst ones for me is not being able to remember names two seconds after hearing or reading them. Next would be saying things wrong or not being understood, at 59 I have gotten much better at not saying the first thing that comes into my head but I still do it. I read at a 5th grade level. Write and spell at a 4th grade level. I am fine with numbers most of the time. I get lost I my thoughts, I could be having a conversation with someone, start thinking of what they said and then I realize I have not been listening for 2 minutes. Not being able to write a note for your child that missed a day of school is disheartening. My Story I blocked out much of my childhood and I prefer not to even go to deep there but you do need some back ground. I remember my mom telling me how she thought I was going to do so well in school because at a young age I love looking at picture books. Well it didn't happen; growing up in a working class city (Bridgeport, CT), was a nightmare. My mother and father were no better then anyone else in making sure I know I was stupid. I was small as a child but I would not take the insults, I got in fights and beat up almost daily. I always thought out of the box and that was not cool in the 60's. I always tell the story when in 6th grade; the class was talking about history. The question was, were did lamp oil in the Middle East come from. I looked at the map and know they didn't drill at the time so I raised my hand and after much moving and shaking the reluctant teacher called on me. My answer was perfect, whales. Everyone including the teacher laughed at me. To this day If I see someone from that class, the first thing they would say is whale oil?. I don’t know when I decided to give up and except I was stupid but I did. The school system passed me along and I got out of high school at 18. The only classes I did excel in were drafting and geometry. We had on art classes. What do I do with my life? School was not an option so I went into the Marine Corps, by this time I was good at fighting. One day in basic training changed my life. I was told to go to a meeting there were maybe ten others from our group of 600. The man in dress uniform started with talking about how we are over achievers and top grade earners in high school. They want to send us to prepatory school to make us ready for Annapolis. I looked around and was thinking to myself (what the ____ am I doing here). Turns out I have a very high IQ. I could not take their offer since they were talking about four hours of reading a night and I think all of you can translate that for us. From then on I have done my best to make it in a world that does not understand my way of thinking. I have missed many opportunities because I did not see them for what were. I did get tested at 42 and the results were I am highly dyslexic. Out of four children I was the only one to graduate collage and the only one to pay for it myself. My father said they did not help me pay for collage because I never finished anything. I have a B.A. in graphic design and photography. I was a product photographer for 12 years until the digital camera killed the business. I went back to school for computer graphics and I always blow the young kids minds with what I can do visually. But employers in the art world only want youth; I managed to get into high end Photoshop work. Then the print industry took a nose dive and I had to reinvent myself again. I went back into carpentry at 42. I had done some while working through school. Over the next 12 years I worked my way up to doing and then being the lead of crews installing high end finish work in over the top houses. This work let me be very creative. But it was always as a sub contractor. Five years ago I finally got a full time job in the trade show industry as a carpenter. My boss know of my graphics background and tree years ago I was made graphic manager.
There are so many jobs I cannot do but I always seem to find work. Many people when they hear all the different things I can do call me a Renaissance man and I tell them, if only I didn’t missed the 15th century it would be great. I truly feel the most for the people out there that are as dyslexic as I but are of average or less IQ, If that was I, I would be homeless, God bless them. I may not be able to visualizes letters but I blur out my eyes and see almost anything else like it was there. I actually don't do it to much anymore, because people make comments it looks like I am in a trance. I have enlarged optic nerves that the doctor keeps an eye on. Is this common in dyslexics? I also think that not to long ago, before literacy was wide spread, we were the town tinkers, the people who solved the daily problems. I would love if there was a group nearby so I could share my thoughts with likeminded people. I live 12 miles from New Haven, I am sure there are many like me who did not get parental support and some that never found their way. If I could help anyone in any way you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank God for the people that helped some of us. AND thank God for spellcheck.
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