• The Dyslexia Initiative

It’s great to be different things!

by Titan Gabrielse


Editor's Note: This article is so special. As Dyslexia Awareness Month begins we'd like to introduce Titan Gabrielse. At only 8 years old he is already a proud voice for the dyslexia movement. Diagnosed formally in first grade, Tiffanie Gabrielse has said numerous times that acknowledging the learning difference by its name and "owning it" has helped Titan become unafraid and most importantly unashamed.


Together, Mrs. Gabrielse and I decided it would be a very positive benefit for the community at large if we published two versions of Titan's article. Why? Simply put, it's important for the world to see the effort that goes into writing for the dyslexic child. That being said we present both the unedited and the edited versions. Titan worked very hard on this article, and his mother honestly put it best with the following words used on her Facebook page to describe the process:


"There were the notorious headaches that come with dyslexia. So, we packed some ice, placed it on our head, and kept it moving. If nothing else, it served as a good distraction.


There were deep sighs, groans, and loud cries of irritation, because the thought of all the words, Words, WORDS we wanted to say versus those we could muster out made us lose our place several, several times. And that irritation turned into anger. We had to step away more than a few times. We had to play a video game for a break, shoot up a few zombies, gain some points to upgrade our character, and when we were finally ready to acknowledge our anger we were also ready to take a deep breath, let it go, and return to the screen.


So, to curb it a little we made a pact to only do a few lines a day. Mostly in the morning over breakfast and some fresh coffee together.


Eventually, though, excitement overshadowed it all! One line became two. Two lines gradually became 4. And then 4 somehow grew into 12, 18, 24, and 30! We saw the slow yet steady creep of progress! Then there was pride in our selection of words. We learned

simpler is better.


There was the hunt for the proper spelling of items by going on scavenger hunts to find those items in the house. Finally, there was a sudden bolt out the front door to get our friends, bring them back to the breakfast nook, and read it aloud happily! And, finally, there was a decision to do some awesome collaboration for the most perfect title (or as I have otherwise called it, Asking For Help).


At eight years old his voice will reach so many to read, love, and absorb. And with it the original copy without all the spelling edits, because Dyslexia is not something that can be cured. Titan is not cured. Dyslexia is complicated. Hard. There are good days and bad days. It is a giant pain in the rear. Together we struggle. But together we persevere.


This is what writing with dyslexia looks like. Actually, this is what dyslexia should look like."


So, without further ado, here is Titan's first article.

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The Edited Version


Hi boys and girls! My name is Titan. I have something important to say to you. We are more than Dyslexic.


One day in my class I was getting really upset, because math was so hard. I started to cry. And then I said I was sorry and that I’m just dyslexic. Then my teacher, Mrs. Klaus said that I am more than just dyslexic. And it was important that I remember Dyslexia is just a small part of me. It’s not everything I am.


At first, I didn’t get it. I was confused. Then when I got home my mom helped me think of all the things I can do and the things I like. We made a list together.


I love to build LEGOS. I’m proud of everything that I build. I put a lot of detail into my creations, like my spiked snake. I put white and tan rectangles with three points on the end. He has one blue eye and one yellow eye. I took an entire day to build it. This makes me a builder. Then my baby brother took my LEGO snake upstairs and hid it under the pillows. He is always playing tricks. I had to teach him how to play nicely with LEGOS, so we don’t lose them. That makes me a big brother, too.


I love to play Minecraft and Fortnite in creative mode. I know how the game works. I like to play a lot. One of the best things I like to do is play with my dad. We play on the Internet as a team in Battle Royale. We win trophies by doing challenges and we unlock special characters, like baby Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy. This makes me a gamer! And because I am playing with my daddy this makes me a son.


When my friend’s come over, we play games together. I share. We take turns. I never want to leave my friends out. We play Plants vs. Zombies--Garden Warfare. And if I lose, I still say, “Good job, bro!” This makes me a good friend and a good sportsman.


My mom needs help in the kitchen making lunch sometimes. She needs help getting things from the refrigerator. Reaching things like ketchup or Coke Cola on the top shelf is hard, because she is short. Sometimes getting big things like clean pots and pans in the dishwasher is hard for her, because she uses crutches to walk. So, I get those to. This makes me a perfect helper for my mom.


Speaking of a dishwasher, one day I want to build a see-through dishwasher, because I saw a see-through fridge and it looked awesome! If I build a see-through dishwasher we can see all the bubbles going around and around cleaning the dishes. That makes me an inventor.

And now that I wrote this, my mom said I am a writer!


I really am more than dyslexic.


Now, it is your turn. You are many different things.


Think of all the things you love to do. Think of all your favorite things. I want you to make a list. Right away you are a thinker! And if your family or friend is reading this to you and you are listening that makes you a good listener. Already you are more than dyslexic, too!

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The Unedited Version


It is graet to be difrint things!!!!!!!!!!!!


Hi boys and girls! My name is Titan. I have somthing emportnt to say to you. We are more than Dyslexic.


One day in my class I was relee upset beecus math was so hard. I startd to cry and then I sed I was soree and that I am just dyslexic.


Then my teechr Mrs. klaus sed that I am more than just dyslexic and it was emportnt that I reembr dyslexia is just a small part of me. It is not evorething I am.


At first I did not get it I was confussd. then when I got home my mom helped me think of all the things I can do and the things I like. We made a list.


I love to bild LEGOS. I m prowd of evorething that I biled. I put a lot of detal in to my creetns like my spikd snake. I put wit and tan rektangls with 3 ponts on the end. he has one blue eye and one yellow eye. I took an tiyr day to biled it. this makes me a biledr. then my baby brothr took my LEGO snake upstars and hid it undr the pilos. he is alwas playing triks. I had to teech him how to play nice with LEGOS so we don’t loos them. that makes me a big brothr to.


I love to play Minecraft and Fortnite in creetiv mod. I no how the game works.

I like to play a lot.


One of the best things I like to do is play with my dad. We play on the entrnet as a teem in Battle Royale. We win trofees by doing chalngs and we unlok spesal kariktrs like baby Groot from Gaurdians of the Galaxy. This makes me a gamr. And beecus I am playing with my daddy this makes me a son.


When my frends comes over we play games togethr. I shar.


We take turns.


I nevr want to leev my frends out. We play Plants VS Zombies Garden WII and if I loos I say good job bro! This make s me a goood frend and a good sport man.


My mom needs help in the kichin making loch somtims She needs help geting things from the refrigror. Reeching things like cechup or Coke Cola on the top is hard beekos she is short.


Sometims geting big things like cleen pots and pans in the dish washr is hard for her too beecus she uses cruches to walk. So I get that too. This makes me a prfic helpr for my mom.


Speeking of a dish washr one day I want to bild a see thro dish washr beecus I saw a see thro refrigro and it lokd awsom!


If I bild a see thro dish washr we can see all the bubls going a rond and a rond cleening the dishs. That maks me a invntr.

And now that I rit this my mom sed I am a ritr.


I reele am more than dyslexic.


Now it is your turn.


Think of all the things you love to do.


Think of all your faforit things.


I want you to make a list.


Rit away you are a thinkr.


If your famlee or frend is reeding this to you and you are lisning that makes you a good lisnr. All redee you are more than dyslexic too.

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You can follow the inspirational Titan on Facebook at @TitanReads. He shares his story, his efforts to raise awareness with not just his school but children everywhere.

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