Anya Wasko - Special Educator and Dyslexic

Photo of Anya Wasko, Headstrong Nation Fellow

I have known that I am dyslexic for as long as I remember. I was officially diagnosed when I was in the second grade. Although I could barely read until I attended high school, I have always been in a general education classroom. I was able to do this because of the tremendous support that I received from my parents, my amazing dyslexic mother and my supportive father. I also had dedicated teachers throughout grade school who were willing to work with me. I credit this early positive exposure to education, with my determination to get into, and succeed in, college. I had a rocky start, but I finally found the right school and got involved with EYE TO EYE, the LD/ADHD mentoring program. I also enrolled in a dual degree program so I could begin working on my teaching credential while finishing my BA. After I graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of San Francisco, I finished the dual degree program and received my General Education Teaching Credential. In June 2015 I graduated again from the University of San Francisco this time with my Special Education teaching credential as well as two masters in education. Currently, I am working full time as a Special Education Teacher with students in a combined fourth and fifth grade classroom.

Photo of 'Anya Wasko on beach

One of my passions has always been education. I never realized how unusual my school experience was. I enjoyed school. I felt supported not just by my parents and teachers, but also by all of my classmates who had known I was dyslexic since early on and had treated me the same as every other student. I had been reared with an awareness that I was smart and that I just learned differently. My school experience reinforced this belief. College was the first time I met other dyslexics except for my mother. I was horrified to hear their stories about their school experiences and how they were made to feel inferior and different in a bad way. This cemented my belief that there had to be a change in the education system whereby students are encouraged instead of marginalized. One of my primary goals is to change the general perception toward dyslexics as well as other students who learn differently. I want to work toward making my experience with school the norm rather than the exception.

Anya Wasko photo outdoors

Thank you Anya, for sharing your story with us.

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