Monday, September 28, 2009

A 12-year-old chronicles her life with dyslexia in new book


DEWITT, Mich. -- Written by 12-year-old Jennifer Smith (pictured), Dyslexia Wonders reveals the daily struggles of a child plagued by dyslexia.

Happy-go-lucky until she entered Kindergarten, Jennifer seemed like the other bright children her age. She was energetic, curious and talkative. But when it came time to learn the ABCs, to read or to tie her shoes, Jennifer couldn’t comprehend and her world began to slowly collapse.

As time passed, it became clear to her that she was indeed different from her classmates. She felt alone, afraid and stupid; but most of all, she was ashamed of herself for not being able to learn.

All her family members, as well as her teachers and other school professionals, were perplexed and at a loss as to how to help this child. Life was passing by and it seemed that Jennifer was being left behind.

But one day when Jennifer was eight years old, one of her teachers had an idea that might shed light onto this dark mystery. Tests were performed and a prognosis given: Jennifer was dyslexic. The term was new to Jennifer and her family, but it didn’t take long before her mother, Anita, dug into books and online information to learn all she could about dyslexia. Anita and Jennifer began using new methods of learning and soon Jennifer was learning and catching up with her classmates.

Today she is a 16 year old high school junior and carrying a 3.75 GPA. Although she still struggles in school, she is determined to live life as normal as possible and to help others do the same.

To achieve her goal of helping others not feel the shame she felt for so long, Jennifer has established the Jenny’s Wish Foundation. Proceeds from the sale of her book, Dyslexia Wonders, will go toward scholarships for students who struggle with learning challenges, as well as grants to organizations specializing in education and youth development.