Don't be afraid to share story


To the editor:

I live in the Bronx and work in Riverdale as a home health aide — a job I’ve had for 22 years. I am also a mother for three kids, and a grandmother.

I was born on the Lower East Side, and when I was 7 or 8, I was put into a special education class. In junior high, I was diagnosed as dyslexic. I remember being in third grade when I could not read a book in front of kids — It was the most embarrassing thing to me in my life.

I dealt with that all through my life, even being a mother to my own kids. I struggled throughout my life trying to make do with my dyslexia.

It’s embarrassing to tell people about my dyslexia. But as I got older, I realized that I’m not in this by myself. So I began to share my story with people.

My kids were the first ones to know about my dyslexia and could not read. They encouraged me and helped me out through the years, reading my mail and spelling words. They would show me different things on the computer.

That was a hard thing to swallow because, me as a mother, it’s supposed to be me doing that for them. But they understood their mother needed help, so I decided to write a book about my secret. It’s called “Mommy’s Secret,” and I successfully got it on Amazon.

Once my secret was out, I decided to write another book, “Mommy Teaches About Dyslexia,” sharing my secret.

I went to different schools and shared my story with students, and also adults. I also have the opportunity to do my book on stage as a play. People were very impressed. They were coming to me telling me about their family members, and just like them, would always be embarrassed to talk about it.

I always wanted to start a group about dyslexia where people could come and share their stories and not be embarrassed. To be comfortable in the same room with people that suffer with a learning disability. It is not the easiest thing to do in your life because reading should be the first thing in your life as you are coming up in age.

We should be able to fill applications and get jobs. I was lucky to be able to work my job. I learned how to be on my job by memory, and learning how to do things on the job.

That’s how I’ve been able to keep my job all these years.

I still struggle with certain things on the job, but memory has helped me over the years. It became a routine, so it was easy for me to know what to do next.

Here I am. Once you share my story with the world, people will know that they are not by themselves. I sure appreciate you taking my story and sharing it with others. It will be a blessing to help others knowing that they’re not the only ones and won’t be ashamed to share who they are, even with their family members or their friends.

Kim Johnson

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Kim Johnson,