My name is Lee, I am 21 years old, have dyslexia, and am senior at East Carolina University. My major is Family and Community Services with a concentration in Early Intervention, and I hope to someday go to graduate school to become a social worker. After growing up in Washington, DC, I am a city girl at heart!
I was diagnosed with dyslexia in second grade. I faked my way through elementary and middle school. By “faked,” I mean copping other people’s work, making things up, or driving a teacher crazy until he or she just told me the answers I didn’t know. Though I realized just how much my learning difference really affected me in my freshman year of high school when I could no longer fake my way through my classes. I struggled substantially during my freshman and sophomore year. To make matters worse, my high school was not providing me with any of the accommodations on my IEP. I loved the school I was at socially, but academically it was not cutting it for me.
At the time, I was not ready to admit there was an issue, so I am glad my parent realized there was one when they did. I would not be where I am today without them! They had become pretty convinced that I needed to be in a different school that would better fit my needs, so I started attending The Lab School of Washington my junior year. This is a school for college bound students with learning differences and ADHD.
The transition to the new school was difficult, but it was honestly the best thing for me. It was really hard because I knew absolutely no one, and for the first time everyone around me knew I had a learning difference. This all took time to get used to, but I met with a speech and language pathologist twice a week, and we became really close. Later she even became my cheerleading coach. The new school helped me understand that my learning difference does affect what I do, but that there are strategies that I can use to get around my struggles.
Alyx, my speech and language pathologist, is still someone that I look up to the most in life. Whenever I go home, I make sure to visit Alyx. She has made such a positive difference in the way that I view what I am capable of. She taught me how to self-advocate and how to identify my strengths rather than my weaknesses.
Now I am a senior at East Carolina University, and see graduation rapidly approaching! I am an active part of Project STEPP at ECU, and I love every minute of the time I get to spend in the office. I am also the coordinator of ECU’s chapter of Eye-to-Eye, which is a mentoring program for middle school students with learning differences and ADHD. With all of these opportunities I have been given at ECU, I have realized that working to make a difference in people’s lives is really what I would like to do with my life. I hope to continue to work helping people like myself with learning differences throughout my entire life.
Some things that I enjoy outside of school are spending time by the water, whether it is a pool, lake, or the beach! It is hard to get me away from water, especially if I am with my sister. We will do anything together and enjoy ourselves. Traveling is something that my family has always done, and I hope to keep exploring the world.