How an Eighteen Year Old Inspired a Crowd of Parents, Teachers, Legislators, and Advocates

July 16, 2019

Noah is eighteen years old and graduated high school with an advanced diploma on June 10, 2019. Below is the speech he gave at the #SayDyslexia rally on Capitol Hill on July 9, 2019. 

I was eight years old when I was diagnosed with dyslexia. In my third grade class, I was leagues behind other students in reading, comprehending, and writing. It wasn’t until the end of third grade that I finally learned how to read. Growing up behind my peers has been a struggle, but not until high school did I truly realize there were opportunities for me to excel. Regardless of the hours I spent practicing to read and write, I always wanted to meet the same standards that my peers were accomplishing.

Stepping through the doors of Rock Ridge High School was a challenge all in itself knowing I was already far behind my peers. Up until about third grade, your objective is to learn to read. Following the third grade, the objective is reading to learn. This mission is at its peak in high school. I was well aware of the challenges ahead of me as I took that step through those doors, and I was ready to improve. 

It is hard to fathom the amount of hours I spent before and after school working with countless teachers and staff working to improve my reading and writing capabilities. This effort wasn’t just simply to learn to read and write, there was always a part of me that wanted to prove anyone who doubted me wrong. 

I owe a debt of gratitude to countless adults who mentored, taught, and accommodated me throughout my learning experience. There are not enough hours in a day to list all of the wonderful people I have encountered through this disability.

I am now eighteen years old and ten years since my diagnosis I can proudly say I have come as far as I have because of my mom. The hours I spent working and preparing to become the reader I am today do not compare to the years my mom has dedicated to me and my disability. She has gone to lengths no one has ever gone for me. She has tirelessly advocated for me in times of injustice for my disability and for the injustice of others in similar cases. 

I speak now as a developed reader not only to share my story but to be the voice of the millions of others with stories like mine.

I speak now to inform everyone that is faced with any type of hardship or disadvantage that there will always be lending hands, like my teachers, there will always be fighters against injustice like my mom, and there will always be kids who understand, like me. 

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