Picture of Mary H.
Mary H.
Age: 53
Currently Residing: Dallas, Texas
Hometown: Lough Gur, Limerick, Ireland
LD: Dyslexia

Going to school in the 70's in Ireland and having a learning difference was a nightmare especially when there was no such thing as learning differences at that time. You were either smart or dumb. I was labeled dumb.

My teachers believed that you learned one way, the way the teacher instructed you. God forbid that you turned in a math problem with the correct answer but your work was not the way the teacher instructed you. Fridays were Test Day, the worst day of the week, first math then spelling. Math I could get through as I had worked out a system, that if I put dots beside the numbers. For example two dots for number two in the margin of my paper.

Spelling was so frustrating for me. I was able to spell correctly orally but was not able to write the correct spelling on paper. I would study my spelling and know every word the night before but by morning of the test I could not remember a single spelling word. I would often throw up before the test, and I often thought of running away from home and at times I wanted to end my life. The one thing that convinced me not to do that was my wonderful parents and family.

I was in third grade when my godfather, Timmy, came to my rescue. He noticed that I mixed my B's, D 's, and P's and I also mixed up my S's and C's. He instructed me to write these following words on my paper before the test – “Baby” for the B's, “Daddy” for the D's, “Pops” for the P's, “Cat” for the C’s, and “Sun” for the S's. I cannot explain the tremendous help this was to me. This trick got me through a very rough time in school. I got through high school working harder than my friends.

My parents were once told, by one of my teachers that “She will never amount to anything” and to stop wasting their money on sending me to school. That comment has stayed with me to this day. It has made me work harder because I wanted to prove to that teacher that she was so wrong…and I did. I did amount to be a very hard working person. I started in the biggest retail department store in the city where I lived. My position was in sales and I worked into management in a very short time. I started going to night school and received a business degree. I traveled all over Europe. Met my husband and moved to Dallas. We have two great children.

It was when our daughter was having problems in first grade and we had her tested it was then that I realized that I learned different too; I finally believed that I was not dumb. Our daughter and son both learn differently. Both are hard workers and so smart. Thankfully they were never told that they were dumb, this is a huge difference in our lives.

"With hard work and determination you can conquer anything and succeed in whatever you life throws at you."



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