Logan’s Story-(class of 2017)

We often hear back from students and families who have participated in tutoring at the Center. In honor of Dyslexia Awareness Month, held each year in October, we are excited to share Logan’s story with you. Kelly Kuenzie, Center Director, and Logan, class of 2017, share more about his journey with dyslexia and time with the Children’s Dyslexia Center of the Madison Area.
I (Kelly) was in my office one summer day and Debra, Logan’s mother stepped in with a big smile to share that Logan just graduated from high school and is preparing to start college this fall. I remembered Logan as kind, thoughtful, and wise beyond his years. He was excellent and retelling stories and below is his story in his own words.
When I was young, I struggled with reading. I was born with dyslexia, a genetic and incurable reading disability; but my parents didn’t know it. I started showing signs in pre-school. My preschool teacher told my parents to ask the school to evaluate me. My parents did right away in kindergarten and then every year, but the school kept telling us to wait, saying it was too early to tell. I never caught up. I was always behind my friends in reading. I felt broken.
A horrible memory I have is one day I heard my teacher say, ‘‘Logan, would you mind reading aloud sections 1 through 4.” My head started going crazy, my whole body started to tingle, my hands started to sweat. I wanted to run away and hide. I couldn’t read the words like other kids. I tried; and then everyone then knew I couldn’t read.
In 3rd grade, the school gave me some extra reading work with an intern, but it didn’t help at all. It just made me more upset. I didn’t even want to try anymore.
Since the school wasn’t helping, my parents looked up how to help me and found the Children’s Dyslexia Center in Madison. They signed me up. However, there was a year or more waiting list. They didn’t care. They knew this was what I needed.
Then in 4th grade, my mom was trying to help me read one day, and I screamed, “I’d rather gouge my eyes out with hot swords than read this book!” She called the school crying and begging for the learning disability test. They finally said yes. After 3 months of testing, they said I had a reading learning disability. They wouldn’t call it dyslexia. They gave me an IEP for the next school year.
I knew I needed it, but I hated having my friends watch me get pulled out of class for my special reading instruction every other day from 5th grade through middle school. Even worse, in 5th grade, I would sit in the common area in the hallway right outside my class where all my friends could see me from the classroom. It did get a little better in middle school because they took me to a separate room, but all my friends knew where I was going, and I felt them looking at me. Even with this though, my reading still wasn’t getting better.
Then the call finally came in. I was next on the list for Children’s Dyslexia Center. My parents were so excited! I didn’t know what that meant. What I found out was that I would be getting free tutoring from teachers that specialize in dyslexia. I had to go 2 times a week for 2 years. If I missed sessions I could be kicked out, because there was a waiting list of others that needed this.
I knew I had to do it, but I hated going, even though my tutors were great, and it was working. I was missing out on sports practices and hanging out with my friends just to go learn how to read. My mom tried to make it better though. After every time I would go, my mom and I would go out to dinner downtown Madison, so that was cool.
To explain how bad I was, going into 6th grade, I had a 2nd grade reading level; at least that’s what the school said. But after the Children’s Dyslexia Center and using the skills they taught me through high school, as I entered 12thgrade, I was up to a 9th grade reading level, had a 3.8 GPA, and got into the National Honor Society. And through senior year, my reading got even better, rating sometimes up to an 11th grade reading level. I was shocked. This was huge for me. 
What overcoming dyslexia has taught me about myself is that when a challenge comes my way, I attack it head-on. Going through this has shown me that if I work hard, I can achieve the goals that I have.