Harnessing dyslexia: How one woman embraces differences, conquers challenges

By Ghadeer Ghloum

In 2nd grade, Kasia Kayat was diagnosed with dyslexia, which was picked up by her mother while reading a book. One day, Kasia’s mother brought a book they usually read together and opened a random page. This is where Kasia could not continue reading, because she used to memorize the words rather than actually read them. “You normally pick it up between grades 1, 2 and 3. This the most evident time, and mine was picked up in grade 2 by my mother, not by my teachers. My teachers thought I was fine, but I had a very good memory and was able to memorize everything and fake my way through it,” said Kayat.

Dyslexia is a neurological condition that affects one’s ability to read and write. It affects individuals in different ways and can vary in severity. Some individuals may struggle with phonetic awareness, making it difficult to recognize letter sounds and blend them together to form words, whereas others may have difficulty with fluency, which means they struggle to read smoothly and quickly. Additionally, some may face issues with comprehension, where they struggle to understand the meaning of what is being read.

Kasia Kayat

However, it is important to note that dyslexia does not affect intelligence or potential. “I don’t like the term, as it makes it seem like a learning disability. It actually helped me become a really good problem solver. A person with dyslexia has to understand their brain with dyslexia. I have learned to view this condition as my brain functions differently. Before that, when I was trying to study like everyone else, I was not succeeding, because my brain does not function in that way,” Kayat told Kuwait Times. Unlike others, Kayat could not just sit down to read a book and memorize the information. She needed pictures, videos, music and songs.

She also needed to make big colorful spider diagrams to draw the information. “This is how information sticks in my brain. I cannot just read something; I have to make notes. It is a very long process as I have to go over and over and over because repetition is very important,” she explained. Kayat advises people with dyslexia to figure out how their brain functions and what works better with their brain and stick with that, rather than trying to do what everyone else does. “Even though I am dyslexic, this does not mean that every dyslexic person studies the same way I do. You have to learn your method.

Some people can just sit down and read a book even with dyslexia — they might take long to understand the information because they struggle with reading, but they can still get by. When I was still learning how to use my brain, I had to walk up and down. I needed movement; I needed a bouncy ball because I needed to move; I could not just sit still for hours to study. I always needed movement, I needed sounds, I used to click my fingers while studying, I would rhyme, I would use acronyms,” she recalled. When Kayat was first diagnosed, she was severely dyslexic, but now she is able to read. “It definitely affected public speaking skills.

It definitely affected my academics. I was usually an average student. But after I learnt how to use my brain, I do not think I faced issues at university. Another thing was that I was always mixing up colors and numbers, reading them the wrong way around because your brain functions from right to left and not left to right. So, when I see the number 37, my brain would think 73. I had to train my brain that it is the opposite way around,” she said.

Ultimately, Kayat said the best thing for a person with dyslexia is to accept it, because there is no medication that one can take to make it better. Therefore, one has to deal with their dyslexic brain. She further emphasized on the necessity of figuring out how a dyslexic brain functions. “Sometimes I feel really angry at my brain, as it gets real foggy and I have short attention spans, and I cannot force it to focus. So, basically you need to learn your brain, learn what works for it, and learn when you need to stop and when you need to take a break.”

The post Harnessing dyslexia: How one woman embraces differences, conquers challenges appeared first on Kuwait Times.

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