Steve and I have been best friends for about twenty years now. Like most people, we've had our ups and downs over the years. Despite moving to different areas, we've still kept in touch. In fact, I really like that about our friendship. No matter what happens, we'll always keep in touch and support each other. We're not really the kind of best friends that contact each other every day or even every other day. On average it's probably about every two to three weeks.
--- Copyright © 2002 Peter Simmons
I suppose, like most people, we have tried to weave our way through life with what we have. Neither of us setting the world alight, when we left school with only minor school qualifications, and not really being good at anything in particular.
Steve had always considered himself impaired in some way. He discovered he was dyslexic sometime later and led a dyslexic life. He didn't read or write unless forced and this ultimately had a huge impact on his life.
He didn't learn much and he didn't know what was going on in the world because he didn't watch the news, read newspapers, books or sign up for any courses. Worst of all, he increasingly suffered from a lack of self-confidence that affected everything he did or thought about doing, negatively.
I noticed it more and more and it really got me down to see him like that. I tried to encourage him telling him he could do anything he wanted and giving examples of people who had achieved in their lives often against what seemed to be huge obstacles. It wasn't having much effect; he just saw the negative.
One day I saw one of those TV ads for a TV program that was just about to start. The program was apparently going to be investigating a new treatment for dyslexia sufferers. He might find it interesting, I thought, and sent him a phone text message, "Channel 3 now".
I watched the thirty minute program. Although it was still early in their research trials, their results were positive. I wondered if he had seen it and found it interesting. I didn't hear from him, so I made a mental note to ask him what he thought of it next time we spoke and thought no more about it.
The TV program had showed that so far in the trials, if sufferers did a series of eye and body coordination exercises daily, they significantly improved their learning abilities, reading and writing. This in-turn had a profound effect on their self-confidence and daily lives. They didn't consider themselves impaired or different anymore, they became new people and others saw that dramatic change in them instantly.
A few days later he phoned me. Something had changed in his voice; he sounded charged with excitement. As I sat stunned, he explained that his whole life had changed.
Everything that the dyslexia sufferers in the TV program had suffered, he had also suffered. They expressed feelings of being worthless, stupid, confused, lacking in concentration, severe frustration, and a lack of confidence. He identified with these people of all ages, who felt the same as he did. He wasn't the only one suffering with it. He wasn't alone anymore.
I remained stunned as he continued to talk and eventually he became conscious of the fact he hadn't stopped talking. I told him to carry on because it was good to hear him talking so positively and confidently. He'd also just landed a new job as a care support worker, which involves helping and supporting others with some kind of difficulty in their homes. I couldn't believe the transformation I was witnessing.
A few days later I spoke to him again by phone and was relieved to find that it hadn't been a dream. It was real and he was still the new Steve. He was still positive and motivated. He'd even started to read a book, something he hadn't done before.
As I write this article, Steve has sent off for more information on the trials and the oversubscribed course they are beginning to offer. He hasn't yet received any information or taken any courses, yet he feels as if he's benefited because he's been doing some of the simple daily exercises he saw being done by the sufferers on the program.
Steve, you inspired me!
I hope by writing this article it will inspire others to change their lives for the better too, whether you suffer with dyslexia or not. Always be on the lookout for that spark of opportunity that could change your life or someone close to you forever.