Tracy Johnson' Dyslexic Story
by Tracy Johnson
(Philadelphia, PA )
By Tracy Johnson
In my early school years, I was an average student. Then, as a sixth grader and in the midst of unbearable teasing, I was placed in a special education class and remained there throughout middle and high school. I thought it was the worst day of my life, but it was topped when one of my special education teachers decided to tell our class that we would not be capable of going to college. When I graduated, I decided that the only thing to do would be to prove the teacher wrong.
Thus began a new nightmare. I was accepted into a local community college and began an adult literacy class. After I had shown little improvement, a counselor said, “Who told you that you could go to college? You won’t make it here.” I decided to give up; I took a temporary job as a custodial aide for the Philadelphia school system. Soon, however, my “temporary” job had become a career.
I knew that I was capable of greater accomplishments. I had seen an episode about dyslexia on The Cosby Show and wondered if a reading disability was the cause of my trouble in school. I contacted the International Dyslexia Association and was tested. I did, in fact, have dyslexia. Soon, I began work in the Wilson Reading System with Judith Mazer.
Later, I was accepted at Harcum College in Bryn Mawr, PA. With the help of recorded textbooks and special accommodations, I earned a 4.0 GPA and an associate’s degree. Learning the Wilson Reading System opened up a whole new world for me and gave me the self-confidence to realize my dream of entering college and proving my high school teacher’s prediction wrong.
Editor’s Note: Tracy Johnson was inducted into Kappa Delta Pi, the International Honor Society in Education, on February 8, 2013. Tracy holds a Bachelors Degree in Psychology from Cabrini College, in Radnor, PA, and teaches psychology at Eastern University and Harcum College, both located in Philadelphia. She is also working toward her WRS Level I certification, fulfilling her goal to teach reading to students with disabilities. Tracy’s story demonstrates the importance of providing instruction to students while they are still in school. Wilson Language Training has a well-established model that supports districts who would like to include multisensory structured language instruction in their schools.