The main character in my debut novel, COUNTING TO D, is dyslexic. I am also dyslexic, and I based Sam’s character largely on my own experience growing up with a severe learning disability.
Dyslexia isn’t a cold; it’s not something that goes away. Even though I’m now a published author, I’m still a very slow reader and a horrible speller. Fortunately, I know what is and isn’t required to build a writing career. Knowing how to read fast and properly spell two-letter words is totally not necessary. I still misspell of all the time. Seriously, can somebody tell me when the letter f started making a va sound? Being an author does require an active imagination, and thankfully, that is something I have.
Now that I’m a published author, I’ve somehow made it onto the “successful dyslexics” list, and people keep asking me what advice I would give to young, not-yet-successful dyslexics. My answer is that you have two simple choices: you can either strive for average your entire life and fail miserably, or you can accept that you were born exceptional.
Every artistic masterpiece, every scientific discovery, every business innovation— every single thing that makes life on Earth worth living exists because an individual had an idea. We need people who think a little different. Sometimes we even need people who think a lot different.
I was seventeen years old when I learned how to spell my middle name. I still don’t know how to spell my mom’s maiden name, which makes online security checks really difficult. I know I’m not average, so I write books for a living.
I’m not alone. This world is practically overflowing with successful dyslexics: Walt Disney, Charles Schwab, Pablo Picasso, Woodrow Wilson, Agatha Christie, Thomas Edison, Kate Scott, you…
Growing up with a learning disability is never easy. Growing up period isn’t easy. But that’s okay. Because sometimes, children who can’t read grow up to be adults that invent light bulbs.