Patrice's Story - I've come this far...
A graphic challenging us to change our perspective on dyslexia - © Patrice Steele
Patrice Steele, Graphic Designer, contacted Headstrong Nation to share her story as a young adult dyslexic. As a child, Patrice had much difficulty in school and couldn't figure out why she struggled in reading, writing and mathematics. In the 10th grade she was held back and needed to take evening classes to make up for lost time. She credits her mother for doing things for her, but acknowledges that both her parents and others close to her did not truly understand her struggles with dyslexia and dyscalculia. Her teachers would tell her parents that she was not paying attention or trying hard enough, and like so many adults with dyslexia, she was a child whose learning issues weren't properly identified and she therefore "Fell through the cracks" and didn't get the assistance and support that she needed. In school, Patrice felt like an "Outsider". She felt her teachers were judgmental and not supportive. They assumed that Patrice didn't want to go to school, that school wasn't for her and her struggles were her problem.
A graphic about Peace - © Patrice Steele
Patrice had viewed some episodes of the TV shows 20/20 and Nightline which featured other individuals with the issues that she was experiencing, including difficulties with reading and writing, poor memory, difficulty telling time and counting money. She wondered if she too, might have dyslexia, but since she wasn't getting much support at home or in school she felt alone and was scared to bring up the subject. It took Patrice an additional two years to pass the standardized testing needed for her to obtain her high school diploma. She experienced great difficulty and had to re-test many times before passing the ACT and finally obtaining her diploma in 2007.
Despite her struggles with school, Patrice applied to and attended the CBT College for Graphic Design. At CBT, she experienced success in her art courses, receiving A's and B's. She still obtained C's and D's in Math and English, however. Patrice persevered, worked hard, and graduated. She's currently dealing with student loan debt and continues to seek employment, but it has so far been difficult for her to find a job in her chosen field of graphic design.
Patrice recently obtained a formal evaluation to confirm her dyslexia in Fall, 2015 at age 28. Evaluation results indicated that her reading had improved but continues to be low for her age, and that her performance in math is low. Patrice is tired of feeling embarrassed over not reading on a higher level that she feels an adult of her age should be reading. She’s worked to understand basic information, but she still mixes up words and describes her math skills as "horrible". She feels lucky that she has found other ways to obtain higher education, but acknowledges that it wasn't easy to do so and feels that no one should have to struggle like this. She's come this far, but has other challenges ahead of her, and she hopes that she'll have the strength to tackle these challenges and find her true place in life, pursuing her passion as a graphic designer.
A graphic telling others to be creative - © Patrice Steele
Patrice has created a website of her creative graphic design work here: http://steelepatricegd.wix.com/minimal-designer-por
She's also filmed and uploaded a series of videos to her YouTube channel to describe her experiences of feeling fed up from being "jerked around" by the school system where she felt she was unfairly judged and misunderstood during most of her schooling. She also shares some beautiful examples of her art and design work. Below we’ll share the first of Patrice’s videos on her dyslexia, and you are welcome to view the others at the YouTube channel link above.
My Talk About Dyslexia. Learning to Have No Shame 1
Many thanks to Patrice for sharing her story and beautiful, inspirational art work with us!