Sitting in a room alone. It is clean, brightly lit but peaceful. A cup filled with water sitting upright on the table to my right. A stack of papers rests in front of myself. The sun shining brightly through the window, refracting off of the glass of water creating beautiful dancing lights across the paper. Glancing at the top page reads “Report of Psychological Evaluation” in ******* letters. An ominous feeling in the pit of my stomach imitating a thunderstorm is on the rise. The heading continues to cite my name, age, birthdate, dates of the evaluation, Psychologist’s name, and acronyms that are unfamiliar. Grasping the paper it feels smooth, sliding my hand across feeling the ink slightly raised off the page. Following the words as they describe myself at eighteen years of age.
Intelligence is complex. Some are off the charts brilliant, some are average, and others are below the standard of society. People live their entire lives obsessed about their IQ score because humankind accepts this as a universal standard of intelligence. Not everyone’s IQ can be measured accurately as it does not conclude someone’s motivation, creativity, curiosity, innovation and kindness are all key components of character traits that are admired and desired. Unfortunately people, like myself who are dyslexic, have a different method to measure our intellect as we must sit and talk with a psychologist for hours in order for them to determine how our brain works. This system consumed twenty-one hours of my life thus far. Repeating the same test throughout my life with various puzzles, a complete biographical timeline and questionnaires all to be summed up into thirteen pages. Strapped to my ankle like a ball in chain, my thirteen pages are forever in mind.
Looking at my evaluation form my name is written on the top of the page dismissing any doubt. Gazing at the pages on the table with a combination of anxiety and annoyance running through my mind. Reaching out to grasp the pages feeling the significant weight that it holds over me. At first glace the text blurs together. Reading closer the text becomes words but the language is different. The tone of the paper is distant and disconnected. Descriptions of my life begin to form, mapping out every milestone. Since the age of seven, my life has been a roller-coaster from changing school every two-three years, being bullied for being different, to finding salvation within myself leading into proactive accountability to finally rise above all odds. Growing up was not easy. Especially before the No Child Left Behind Act, children with dyslexia were over looked, as many teachers did not know how to teach them. Even now many teachers in public school are not equipped to recognize when students are struggling. Imagining a life where I am not dyslexic, how different it would be.
Turn over the page to expose more information. Written in the text is a comprehensive account of my life. Plainly scripted describing one milestone at a time. Reading a biographical novel, one familiar yet no emotional attachment. As though I am reading my life through the eyes of someone else’s words. The formality of the writing is distant and concise. Leading the viewer to see me as unremarkable.
Reading on, the narrative of my life changes into graphs and floating numbers that are meant to define my intellectual abilities. Staring at the numbers pondering what it means. Acronyms appearing left and right like popcorns. Confusion starts to set in as the suspended numbers start to dance. I was diagnosed at the age of seven in 2000. Nearing the end of first grade, a year I barley remember as I hardly learned anything substantial. My teacher never showed that they cared even after I told them that I was dyslexic. Looking back, I feel that my teacher never understood what I was trying to tell her; instead my teacher brushed me aside not even thinking twice of the ramification that she caused.
Lifting and flipping the next page, but the weight feels heavier than the last. Pressure on my chest begins to build with my anxious mind. Acronyms begin to pop up out of nowhere like popcorn. Like setting sun the words and uses of language slowly start to become unfamiliar as the biographical aspects starts to fade. The terminology shifts to a different standard that is foreign. Lacking the understanding language that is formal academic style.
Remembering when my mother told me that I needed to change schools because the public school I was currently attending refused to help me. She continues to explain that I would not get the proper guidance unless I was behind four grade levels. As any rational person would think it was unacceptable. Over the next five years I attended two different schools still skating by, making little to no progress. Glancing back at the evaluation form it does not show the hardship and suffering that I endured trying to get an education that everyone has a right to. Reading the form, seeing my life plainly written with little to no emotion. Remembering, how I cried everyday, because I did not want to go to school. Daily kids would call me dumb and stupid because they could not understand how someone like myself existed. Ostracized by my peers I never felt so alone yet surrounded by so many people.
Before transferring to another school I never met anyone else with dyslexia. My salvation was around the corner; before I knew it I was attending a school in a different state in the middle of nowhere. Once more, I needed to update my evaluation, six more hours of my life to prove that I needed all the help I could get. This school on my evaluation form should get more credit to my success. My time there is summed up into one paragraph but the effect will last a lifetime. The three years I attended this school was difficult but absolutely necessary.
Imagine yourself at twelve years of age but you only have the capacity of reading at a third grade reading level. I was so far behind it did not seem possible to catch up to where I was supposed to be. Spelling was broken down into phonics in my first year. I was encouraged to read and test my comprehension daily. Math was the only other class that wasn’t reading. Later I was introduced to science and writing. In my last year I took a history class and proceeded to complete high school level classes, as I was technically a freshmen. After attending this school I gained six grade levels within three years, ready to transfer once more as a sophomore entering into officially as high school student.
Once again turning the page, unable to resist the temptation of reading just a little more. Despite the paper feeling light to the touch the information generates the feeling of a lead weight. The popcorn of acronyms begins to intensify as the biographical section comes to an end. Test results are the next section of the evolution. The psychologist also examines my personality in detailed written notes. The movie of “Stranger Than Fiction” comes to mind as a “big brother” feeling psychoanalyzed.
High school was no different as I was still surrounded by my fellow peers all in a similar boat trying to survive. Three years pass once more, sitting in a small room with a different psychologist recounting my life. Explaining my story, completing puzzles hopefully for the last time. Graduation is around the corner, I feel different. Six years ago I was at the bottom of my class. Now, I am at the top of my class, graduating with high honors, straight-A student accepted into college. I’m on top of the world. It’s amazing what can happen in in six years.
Flipping to the next page, the lead weight transitions into a dumbbell. Dancing numbers mimicking the illuminating refraction of the glass of water. The numbers seem random at first glance, as there seems to be no pattern to correlate it. The acronym popcorn begins to explode with every other word with no end insight. Words begin to merge and brake down. The written text transitions into gibberish. I recognize my name in a sea of unrecognizable babble. A pain of needle ****** start to add pressure onto my chest.
The dancing numbers suddenly vibrate as the insanity of the acronym start to multiply. The splattered numbers represent what is inside my mind. A roadmap filled with blockade and detours constantly shifting in my head. Breathing becomes difficult as it feels someone has placed a cinder block on my chest. The acronyms start to plateau nearing the end. The text becomes legible once more.
Jolting up, I close my eyes and rest my hand against my forehead. Looking up at the window at the peaceful beautiful day. My brain starts to hurt and becomes numb. Mentally taking a step back from the stack of paper I push it across the table unable to finish. My brain is about to explode with the new information that I am still processing. My name is attached to this document as its littered throughout the evaluation. My academic life is detailed out for anyone to read at my school. Realizing this document defines me as a person. Ball and chain strapped to my ankle forever defining my intelligence.
I am incapable of escaping this documentation process to only be confirmed as someone with average intellect. The education system only documents ones ability on English and mathematical skills as deems more important in our growing society. The problem is people like myself rely on other forms of intelligence to compensate. Forever in our back pocket our evaluations sit there until it become irrelevant. After pondering this notion the bell rang and it was time to leave.
The evaluation form that I hold today was completed when I was eighteen years old, still ringing true, pointing out my flaws, and exposing my weaknesses to anyone willing to read. After all of this time, I often wonder do these thirteen pages still define my intelligence? Having risen above my challenges and surpassing anyone’s expectations, who holds the key to the ball chained to my ankle? It is debilitating having a physical reminder of my limitations after I have accomplished so much. Struggling constantly, as I continue to fight battles even into adulthood. Graduating from college is the greatest accomplishment thus far. Imagining my next graduation is next year is unbelievable. No one knows where your life will take you but one day my evaluation form will wither away into oblivion as I stride everyday to not let it define me.
This is a creative story that is a combination of 2 short essays that both related around the same idea. it is long