June 4, 2001
On this week, we launched eleven stories written by students from The Victoria READ Society. You can read their stories as well as hear them.
Shirley Champion was born in Edmonton Alberta and has lived in BC for 24 years. She is married and has two children, a son and a daughter. She enjoys playing darts, gardening and camping. Shirley's attending Victoria READ Society.
Play an audio version of this story
"Dyslexia" is a word. To some it is. To other it isn't. To some people it is a hurtful word because they know what it means. To others it isn't because they don't know what it means.
People say that Dyslexia means you are crazy, stupid, dumb, idiot or mentally-retarded. I should know. I've been called all these things in my life, from the time I can remember. School was a place at first that I really enjoyed. Later it was a place were I dreaded to go. Teachers would pick on me to read aloud knowing I couldn't read it, or understand it. Classmates would make fun of me. They would call me the names like stupid, dumb or mentally-retarded. For me it was hard. I always tried very hard when I had homework. After a while I would tell my mother, "I wish I was six feet under."
She would say "No you don't," and then try to help me figure it out. She would try and find a way for me to understand it. Well, I failed school twice, grade two and three. By the time I reached grade ten I really felt bad.
One of my teachers realized that I was having problems reading. He asked my dad if he could have me tested, so I was tested for the third time. Again I was told that I'm a Dyslexic. I'm slow with reading, writing and math. I'm not slow with doing things with my hands, like fixing things, making things and putting things together. I was put in a class that would help me. I didn't finish because I came out here to live, so I went to work. The jobs I had were "OK" but not what I would like for the rest of my life. Then I married, had kids and again just had jobs that were just "OK".
Then I found out that my son has problems also. It took me a long time before someone would listen to what I was saying. Now he is getting the help he needs. Still there are times when he feels that he can't do something and I tell him he can.
In some of the jobs I've had, people couldn't understand what I wrote, or understand what I was trying to say. They would make me feel very inadequate. I know I can do the job, so I made mistakes. That's why I'm here.
I feel that my children are being looked after now. Now it is my turn. Hopefully I can continue here for some time and then take a course in something I really would like to do for the rest of my life.