I couldn’t spell the word “CAT” and was terrified of school. It seemed like everyone but me knew how to spell and read. I remember thinking “we never learned this, am I stupid” the teachers seemed to think so. I mean they were nice about it but I was always put with the kids who had a real disability, I just couldn’t read or write, so why was I lumped in with those kids? I quickly felt smaller than the smallest bug and my fragile self-esteem was almost none existent. Kids picked on me and the playground became a battlefield. I got beat up a few times and would come home crying. Telling my mom I never wanted to go to school again. The part that broke her heart was I was quite smart and I believe that most Dyslexics are.
I would spend hours building houses and structures from blocks or lego. Not just following the instructions but building creative and original things. I even built my own off-road Baja Pro truck with working suspension. I still have a dream of owning a real one someday… Despite the pressure to keep me in the normal school system my Mom and Dad persevered. I have no idea how in a time when Dyslexia wasn’t even known they found someone who could test me. I was about to go into grade one and I remember meeting with the man who would change my life forever.
I walked into his office just a little boy. I was scared and terrified of the test I was going to receive. I had been tested so many times and failed every one. I couldn’t read or write, I knew that so why did I have to humiliate myself here? There were blocks on the ground so I set to work building a structure. Some time had passed and I was called into this mans office. He asked me some questions and got me to read from a small book. I remember the fear. I stumbled over my words and tried to figure out what to say. I couldn’t. He then asked me to spell something. I broke down into tears and for the first time someone put an arm around me and said it would be ok.
He came out to talk to my parents. I was waiting for him to deliver the results of the test. But instead, he said how smart I was. He pointed to the structure I had built and said many kids his age could never do that. He never mentioned the spelling test or how poorly I had done at the reading. Instead, he gave them a list of two schools in my area and I started grade one a James Cameron School shortly after.
If it wasn’t for my mom I don’t know where I would be today. I finished high school with honors and went on to become a certified millwright. I joined the Candian Forces in 2009 and qualified as a paratrooper completing10 jumps. After completing my terms of service three years later I became a machinist and was quickly promoted to lead hand. After improving two departments and securing a contract from a major car maker I left to start my own business. After two years of struggling, I purchased Adventure Marine and haven’t looked back.
I wanted to create this resource for others who didn’t get the help when I did. Dyslexia can be crippling to the self-esteem but in the modern world, it doesn’t have to be. The world needs Dyslexics. We are creative, born leaders, problem solvers, and natural entrepreneurs but the school system are still failing us. GregEpp.com is a place we can raise awareness, provide resources and help you find your own Dyslexic Advantage.