Volume 9, Issue 2
By Jason Keeler
My name is Jason Keeler. I have dyslexia. Growing up I was homeschooled. During my high school years, I was never diagnosed as being dyslexic but had a dramatic difference in my cognitive abilities to read and spell versus all other academics. I continued throughout my high school years and went to tutoring for reading and spelling. My tutor constantly attempted to have me read more so that my spelling would improve. While reading more improved my reading ability, it did nothing for my spelling.
After high school, I did four-and-a-half years in the military and two tours in Iraq, where it was again painfully obvious that I lacked spelling ability, and reading was painfully arduous for me.
After I got out of the Army I went to college on the GI Bill. I got an A in my first English class, mostly through frequent visits to the Writing Center. I did well in most of my classes with either As or Bs. I had taken a history class, and the professor had written exams. I spoke with the professor, who said he did not grade for spelling. However, after the first two tests, in which he gave me a grade of A, he said that my spelling was especially bad for a college-level student. He recommended that I get tested for dyslexia. I got tested for dyslexia in college, and the college made certain accommodations for me. In addition to all this, I continued to receive tutoring and my tutors did their best; however, none of the tutors I got were experts in dyslexia.
After college, I became a police officer and again struggled with spelling and report writing. I was able this time to get more specialized help with my dyslexia, and this greatly improved my report writing. I often use specialized tools such as Google Docs and Grammarly. I am a big fan of this kind of technology. I have been told that these instruments are just a crutch. But I firmly believe that someone suffering from dyslexia should use these tools to enable them to be fully productive at their jobs.
I also would encourage parents that have kids who are struggling with reading or spelling to have their kids tested early for dyslexia. I definitely believe that it would have greatly helped and assisted me had I been diagnosed at a much younger age instead of being halfway through college.
Jason Keeler is the 2018 IDA Northern Ohio (NOBIDA) Hope and Aspirations scholarship winner.
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