The dyslexia dilemma


Morraina Tuzinsky

Neva Siers smiles at her friend while they tell her a joke. They sat in a booth waiting for their fries and milkshakes to arrive in Bennys Diner on a chilly day. “I love spending time with my friends,” Siers said. “They always make light of every situation and they make me laugh a lot.”

From a very young age, Neva Siers knew something was wrong. Something was wrong with the way her brain processed written words, but she could not explain it and did not have a name. It was not until at age fifteen, it finally got one.


The fight with dyslexia was always around but became very prominent in Siers’ life starting early in elementary school. It began with memory retention issues and turned into words shifting on her paper, forcing Siers to work twice as hard as her peers on assignments to get similar grades.  

“I worked my butt off to get the same results as everyone else,” Siers said. “I would study for five hours a night just to get an average grade while everyone else I knew would barely study and ace it.”

Siers’ parents were aware her reading scores were behind her peers, but they believed she was a slow reader and did not suspect anything else going on. They hired tutors to help but that did not decrease the amount of effort Siers put into school. Siers became embarrassed that she needed to put so much effort into mediocre grades and worked extremely hard to hide that she was different, which lead to even more shame, frustration and ultimately isolation because her struggle was not taken seriously.

“I was embarrassed to be different so I hid it as well as I could,” Siers said. “I didn’t let others see my pain and frustration and I acted like everything was fine, but on the inside, I was screaming for help.”

The constant struggle continued until one day in a tenth grade English class, Siers decided she had enough of not being taken seriously. She was willing to voice to her parents that something was still wrong. After years of wrestling to muster the courage to tell her parents and she finally did, and this time they brought her to specialist, finally giving her a name for the thing she had been fighting for so long.

“The moment I got diagnosed with dyslexia everything just clicked,” Siers said. “It made so much sense for why I couldn’t read aloud in class and why I had trouble with reading in general. I just wish I hadn’t focused so much on what other people would think of me and pushed my parents to pay attention earlier.”