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My Husband’s Journey with Dyslexia

Diagnosing Dyslexia at Age 33

Dyslexia can be a fatal affliction.  Part of the problem is that it often goes undiagnosed until adulthood.  Because of this, many who suffer from it are left inexplicably wounded by the criticism and abuse that they take throughout their lifetime because they believe that these symptoms are their fault.

When society can’t find an outlying cause, the burden falls squarely on their shoulders. Being the wife of a Dyslexic, I know all too well how often these issues can go undiscovered and unresolved.  In my husband’s case, he wasn’t diagnosed until the age of 33, and with much prodding.  Here is a grown man, one who’s bright and interesting…hilariously funny, but hesitant and painfully afraid to hear the news of what his “problem” is.  I’d been goading him for years, hoping that he would feel compelled to find some answers and finally be able to put all his questions to rest…but it’s not that simple.

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It’s not that simple for a boy who’s been beaten and tied to chairs by his teachers, it’s not that simple for a boy who was taunted and bullied by his peers, it’s not that simple for a boy who was called a “retard” by his father and labelled as “mentally slow” and “borderline retarded” by various counselors over the course of his life.  

Things are just not that simple.

But then, something amazing happened.  I was studying for an English course and reading a fabulous book by a new author, one that I hadn’t read before.  I had to write an essay about his life and so I did a lot of research in preparation.  I watched videos on YouTube, read more books, consumed every word of his bios and the more I learned, the more I connected with this man.  Through my research, I realized that I wasn’t just reading his story…I was reading my husband’s story.

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This man…Victor Villaseñor…maybe my husband could identify with him…maybe he could see their mutual similarities and realize that his problems in education weren’t his fault.  So, we read his books together…each taking turns, and it was beautiful to hear his voice perk with confidence over the parts that reminded him of himself.  He had hope.  Maybe this isn’t my fault,” he said, “Maybe I do have dyslexia.” Wow!  Those were inspiring thoughts.

For my husband, just saying it could be something other than his fault was a huge accomplishment.  Over time he had learned to blame himself for anything and everything.  He had learned to take all the blame and all the abuse from his parents, sister, peers, teachers…but now he was finding ganas to admit that it wasn’t his fault.  I couldn’t be prouder!

It still took a lot of talking and some heated arguments to get him to see a specialist.  He was so afraid of what they might tell him and that he might be proved a “retard” or worse.  I don’t think he could bear to hear that word one more time.  It brought tears to my eyes though…to think about him going on this way.

I wanted him to have answers, I wanted him to realize how amazing he was, I really wanted him to love himself…and his differences. It’s so hard to write this right now…{deep breaths}…but I’m taking inspiration from the strength of others who are sharing their stories.  I watched my husband break down like a fragile little boy with crippling fear about the outcomes that he may face, but his bravery is inspiring.

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I can’t tell you how much I’ve wanted to wrap him up in my arms and protect him or how much I wanted to go back and fight all his abusers or how much more I love him for being strong in the face of adversity.  Most don’t realize how much Dyslexia can bring someone down, but one of the beauties of Dyslexics is their amazing resilience.

Now that it’s over, my husband can reclaim his life, put blame aside and just live with a heart full of hope for the future.  ♥

I’ll leave you with this inspirational video: “The Power of Dyslexia”

This post was originally published in April, 2011.

 

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  • Me and the Mexican
    April 22, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Awesome video!  Thanks for sharing your husband's story.  I'm sure it will help others out there.   I'm glad he has found answers.  Abrazos!

    • biculturalmom
      April 22, 2012 at 4:17 pm

       @Me and the Mexican Thanks Tara!  I know!  I love this video!  :)