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“GOD” and “DOG” sample essay

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Growing up, my summers were often spent at my uncle’s ranch. My mom would drive me up and leave me for about 2 to 3 weeks. Those were the most fruitful and fun-filled summers of my life. At the ranch, I would be far removed from city life and its hectic schedule. Instead, I would spend my mornings in bed, often waking up late to have a very fine breakfast prepared by my aunt. My cousins were very accommodating and my friendship with them remains to be part of my most-treasured memories. We still keep in touch by E-mail, and sometimes see each other when our schedules allow.

Idyllic and fun as it was, the most “haunting” and persistent memory I have of those summers at the ranch is that of Evan. Evan is one of my uncle’s farm hands’ son, and although he was only slightly older than we were, he had already started working at the farm since he was eight or nine. His friendship helped shape the way I am now, and made a positive impact in my life. His story and friendship became a personal cause for me, and I am hoping I could lay it down to make it into a more public advocacy. * * * At first I thought his name was Moe, because my cousins called him “Slow Moe.

” He was shy and kept to himself, and never went out of his way to talk to us. Mon, my eldest cousin, had another, and simpler, nickname for him: “Stupid. ” I felt sorry for him. And maybe that was why I tried my best to befriend him. It was not easy at first, but then he cracked a smile and the conversation went smoothly after that. One thing that struck me about “Moe” was that he was actually intelligent. He knew his work, and was really passionate about the horses he tended to. He knew a lot of things about their nature, how to keep them, and how to pacify them if they were agitated.

His knowledge also applied to other animals. We had a great time talking about a lot of other things: about his life, my life, current events, the news, and even the gossip around town. Just about anything and everything was up for discussion. Moreover, he had his own opinions about a lot of issues and I found that really admirable. Sometimes he taught me things like how to ride a horse, or how to jump into the lake without landing so painfully on my stomach. He also taught me about constellations, their names and how to identify them. I also found out his real name was Evan, but he had learned to live with “Moe”.

One night, I ventured asking why he was not in school. Evan just chuckled and said that those kids were “evil. ” I later found out that Evan attended up to the first grade and then refused to go back. His last day at school was an ugly episode wherein some kids in his class called him all kinds of names and beat him almost to death. My cousins initially resented the time I spent with Evan, and even the few times I brought him along with us. He was an outsider, they protested. And they were ashamed to be seen in town with the “farm hand” with “no lights on up there.

” But Evan eventually won them over, and with my cousins realizing that they have been wrong with the guy, they developed a better relationship with him. Soon, his nickname was rarely mentioned among us, and we started using his real name. Evan is a dyslexic. During that time, however, he was just plain “stupid. ” I doubt if his parents ever knew his condition or cared about it. Evan was taught at home by his mom, who used pictures and drawings to get herself understood. Evan was alright with verbal explanation, but not written ones. I learned about his condition when we ventured into town with my cousins and stopped by a bookstore.

He was looking at the sign outside the store and read the sign as “bokos”. I laughed and he immediately fell silent. I sensed something was wrong, but I kept quiet about it until we reached home. Because we were already close friends by that time, I asked him about it.. He admitted that he “couldn’t read,” and I told him I could not believe that. He seemed to be a smart and intelligent person, there is no way he was illiterate. He shook his head and insisted that he could not read. He explained that when he read, he always read it wrong. Evan explained that to him, E, M, and W all looked alike, as well as G, O and D.

So he reads “GOD” and “DOG” as “OOO”. He further said that there are times that he could see the letters, and know what they are, but that they “danced around”. Like if he sees the word CAT, he can identify the letters C, A and T, but he could not string it together. Sometimes he’d see it as C, A and T, sometimes it’s A, C, and T. * * * Dyslexia is a disability that affects an individual’s reading and writing skills, a condition that is present in 10% of the general population in various forms and degrees (Dyslexia Action, undated, online).

Today, an estimated 15% of American students suffer from dyslexia, and up to half of all Americans have some form of undetected learning disabilities. Other studies also report that as many as 2. 9 million school-aged American children have learning disabilities (Edwards, 2006, online. ) Heather Hardie, citing dyslexia expert Sylvia Moody, writes that dyslexia is simply difficulty with writing and reading, which may stem from short-term memory weakness, faulty information processing, and weak perceptual, spatial and motor skills. A dyslexic, therefore, can have problems with poor concentration and poor memory.

It may manifest subtly, like when a child is slow in reading certain words, but reads them correctly; or it may be severe and obvious like in Evan’s case. Dr. Moody adds that a dyslexic may exhibit other symptoms and problems like bouts of forgetfulness, difficulties in organization and in keeping time. (Hardie, 2006, p. 26). The overall effects are dramatic. To a child suffering from dyslexia, school work may suffer. Reading is such a basic skill that’s required in nearly all school subjects that a dyslexic child is put at a great disadvantage, and often leading to problems with learning. The child usually fails in school.

It can also lead to low self-esteem, delinquency, aggression, behavioral problems, and social withdrawal (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2007, online). This was clearly seen in Evan’s case. He was extremely shy and preferred to work away from us and mostly kept to himself. This was unfortunate, because his friendship made my summers at my uncle’s farm more memorable. I hate to think how many friendships were not developed because of dyslexia. How many children had wanted to reach out and say hi, but was stumped by the fear of being laughed at. The moniker and label “dyslexic” is bad enough, but being thought of as “stupid” is a million times worse.

A child with dyslexia needs a supportive environment both at home and at school. A parent should explain to the child that it is not his or her fault, and patiently explain the condition to him or her, this will enable the child to cope and compensate for his or her disability. Parents of dyslexic children should also get in touch with teachers, and it might help if they find support groups that can provide both emotional support and good information (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2007, online). Dyslexic students grow up to be dyslexic adults, and in the workplace, dyslexia is not much kinder to those who suffer from it.

In fact, Linda Goldman and Joan Lewis (2007) writes that information processing disorders, like dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, are considered legal disabilities, giving the suffered adequate legal protection against discrimination and requires employers to ensure fairness by making “reasonable adjustments” in terms of recruiting, training, employing and promoting employees with dyslexia (p. 16). Often a dyslexic worker produces below par work output, manifests poor timekeeping, and often fails to remember instructions.

This puts him or her at greater risk to be terminated from work, especially if his or her condition goes undiagnosed and unrecognized (Goldman and Lewis, 2007, p. 16). Even so, most employees with dyslexia need only more time to do their work and to correct problems related to concentration and coordination. This is what “reasonable adjustments” are all about (Goldman and Lewis, 2007, p. 16). However, I take heart in the stories of a lot of people who have succeeded in spite of having dyslexia. Pamela Coyle (1996) chronicles the travails and successes of three of them: Sylvia Ann Law, David Glass and Jonathan Pazer.

All of them are noted dyslexics, yet each one succeeded in their fields. Sylvia Law became a professor of, appropriately, law. She also teaches medicine and psychiatry. She is the author of several books and has served as lecturer, as well as strong influence in the fields of civil rights and poverty law. David Glass and Jonathan Pazer are both practicing lawyers. (pp. 64-67). Heather Hardie (2006, p. 24) adds businessman Richard Branson, comedian Eddie Izzard and architect Richard Rogers to the list. Their lives are shining examples of how dyslexia could be overcome, if only one does not give in to low self-esteem and engage in self-pity.

More than that, a child with dyslexia should grow up in a supportive environment that would not only foster his development, but also instill in him or her the confidence needed to grow and live life. * * * The last time I saw Evan was more than two years ago. He had become a handsome and confident young man, and has a steady girlfriend who, along with Evan’s mother, is helping him study for a high school equivalency test. At the time, he was also working at a local fast food chain as a janitor, and at the local school doing odd jobs. But Evan still shies away from contact and conversation with strangers.

For my part, I am happy to have met him at a time when I was growing up. He made me think and realize that people have their own problems, and it is difficult to judge them by what we see. Moreover, he made me realize that what’s more important is what we do not see. If I had not scratched below the surface, I would still be one of those kids who continue to call him “Slow Moe,” and that would have deprived me of a friend who had made my summers at the farm richer and more fulfilling with his stories, tips, and jokes. In a sense, I know I could never thank Evan enough for the impact he had in my life.

But I know that I am thanking him with every child, dyslexic or not, that I tutor on reading and writing as a volunteer for our neighborhood pre-school. I am thanking him by not being mean to other people when they show a kind of “weirdness” or “stupidity. ” I am thanking him by not judging people I meet right away. I wish I could do more. I want to tell Evan the next time I see him all about Sylvia Law and other people whom I think would influence him to do better with his life despite his disability. In fact, I hope to be able to tell people just how wrong they are at labeling dyslexic people “stupid.

” What they need is love and support. They need all the leeway they can get to help them overcome their disability. They have all the potential to succeed in life, if we—friends, teachers, fellow students, employers, colleagues, and parents—only give them the chance. Acknowledgments: First of all, I want to thank (name of teacher) for giving us this assignment. This exercise has given me the opportunity to think about my life and appreciate a person who I never really thought much about before. Alvin John for proofreading all those drafts and giving suggestions that helped shape this paper.

And of course, Evan for the friendship and the insights.

References 2007. Dyslexia: Complications. Retrieved July 11, 2008, from Mayo Clinic, Web site: http://www. mayoclinic. com/health/dyslexia/DS00224/DSECTION=complications 2007. Dyslexia: Coping and Support. Retrieved July 11, 2008, from Mayo Clinic, Web site: http://www. mayoclinic. com/health/dyslexia/DS00224/DSECTION=coping Coyle, Pamela (1996). What Sylvia Law, Jonathan Pazer and David Glass confront when they read or write. ABA Journal, 82, 64. Retrieved July 10, 2008, from ABI/INFORM Global database. (Document ID: 10121349).