The Curious Edge: Child With Dyslexia Found Self-Esteem Through Sports

DANAThe world lost a sports legend with the passing of Muhammad Ali. I knew of his many accomplishments in the ring, but I had not realized he was dyslexic like my son Andrew.

“As a high school student, many of my teachers labeled me as dumb,” Ali was quoted as saying. “I was lucky I had enough belief and self-esteem to carry me to greatness in other ways.”

When I read this quote it was like a kick in my stomach. It was my son Andrew.

From the time he could pick up a ball Andrew was kicking, tossing and throwing with great skill. He loved playing sports and I began to realize it was his safe place, that place where he was in control and felt accomplished.

It came to him easily, unlike his studies at school. His family, friends and teachers were always quick with a compliment about his latest games and he would beam with pride.

The self-esteem Andrew possessed in his sports was very different from the frustration and lack of confidence he experienced with his academics.

Despite the countless hours Andrew spent trying to learn to read, prepare for tests or write papers, it was always a struggle. His dyslexia (which wasn’t diagnosed until he was 15) was preventing him from believing in himself in the classroom.

Now that Andrew has been diagnosed and is receiving intervention services through The Curious Edge he is building his academic confidence.

While I am deeply grateful for this positive change, I will always be thankful that he had an area in his life where he felt accomplished. Sports were his saving grace when he was battling not having a dyslexia diagnosis.

Studies suggest accomplished athletes with dyslexia benefit from the compensatory skills they have honed while learning to navigate living with dyslexia.

Visualization, spatial awareness, creativity and memory are highly evolved skill sets commonly found in people with dyslexia.

Although there is little scientific proof to support the theory that dyslexia is an advantage in sports, the anecdotal stories are plentiful.

In Andrew’s case, I simply know he found his confidence on the ballfield and in the hockey rink and it was a blessing.


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