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HomeVoicesMabel Gonzalez: A Journalist with Dyslexia

Mabel Gonzalez: A Journalist with Dyslexia

When I started college at Metropolitan State University of Denver and wanted to become a journalist many people around me questioned why I wanted to enter a field that exclusively has to with reading and writing.  I have dyslexia a learning disability that affects the areas of the brain that process language. It affects my reading, speech and writing skills.  So many of my friends and family thought it wasn’t the best decision for me to enter this field. But I believe that my past experiences have pushed me to help and share diverse stories to a bigger audience. 

When I was young it took a while for me to be diagnosed with dyslexia. Whenever I did any reading tests my comprehension skills and vocabulary where high but my oral reading skills where low. Teachers kept telling my mom I would outgrow it but my tests kept coming out with the same results. I soon felt like I was getting pushed to the sidelines by teachers and they continually told me I was lazy. I kept working and was trying my hardest to keep up. My self-esteem started to become low. I was way behind most of my friends in my oral reading skill and spelling. 

My mom told my pediatrician what was going on so she referred me to a specialist. I was tested and finally diagnosed with dyslexia. I was already in specialized therapy classes for speech and motor skills for other health issues. Once I was diagnosed, my specialized teachers where able help me, but sadly even after the diagnosis my classroom teacher would tell me dyslexia is just an excuse people use to be lazy. I was told by teachers that I wouldn’t amount to anything. Others around me treated me like I was unintelligent just because I wasn’t at the right reading level and was having trouble with spelling. One teacher even pulled me from spelling quizzes and oral reading assignments. My mother pulled me out of public school realizing these skills were crucial. I was put in home schooling that had a program called the Barton Reading program which specializes in learning disabilities, specifically dyslexia. Within the year my reading level was on track and helped me gain back the confidence I lost. I started to read books nonstop and found the love of writing. The bookstore became my favorite spot in the world.

I already had a passion for learning about different cultures and with my new passion for reading l was taking in a diverse amount of literature. When I read and saw interviews from artists around the world, I realized how American journalists would treat those from other cultures like children. The questions were ridiculous to the point of being callow. My feelings of inferiority would flood back. I wanted to be part of the generation that would change journalism and the way it brought the world to us and how we view people who are different. Working with Bucket List Community Cafe brought me the opportunity to meet others and share diverse stories within the Denver community.

My experience with dyslexia came full circle. It gave me empathy and I was angry seeing people with disparity being treated as though they were not intelligent because they didn’t fit a certain mold. I knew what I wanted to do. I want to bring stories form cultures around the world for what they really are, brilliant, elegant, and extraordinary. That’s the way I will view myself even if others don’t see me this way. 

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