WENTZVILLE, Mo. — Aiden Harr is a 10-year-old boy who loves building with Legos, being a big brother to his sister, and the national pastime.
“I like to play baseball,” said Harr.
Last Monday he had on his baseball uniform, preparing for his Little League game. But first he stopped at the Wentzville Board of Education meeting to share his battle with dyslexia and ask the school district to begin screening children in kindergarten.
“Most people will probably be great at talking about what they're good at, bragging about stuff, but I was up there talking about disability and not many people want to talk about what they're not good at,” said Harr.
Kindergarten is when Aiden said he started feeling anxious about reading and writing.
“It made me feel like I wasn’t normal,” said the fifth grader. “Not like everybody else.”
The Dyslexia Center of Utah said 70 to 80 percent of people with poor reading skills are likely dyslexic, with one in five students having a language-based learning disability. Signs of dyslexia include difficulty reading single words, difficulty learning the connection between letters and sounds, and making consistent reading and spelling errors.
Three years ago when Aiden was about to enter second grade, he wanted his teachers and reading specialists to understand his dyslexia. He and his mother made of video with Aiden sharing his frustration.
“Writing and reading, I feel left out,” Aiden said in the video. “All the other kids are like writing that and writing that, and I’m just stuck on one word.”
The video went viral, shared around the world according to Maggie Harr, Aiden’s mom.
“It was shared all the way from, from Scotland to Taiwan, South Africa and across the United States and Canada,” said Maggie Harr. “I think he's a pretty special kid and again, I think we found his gift and so giving him the opportunity to continue to share his gift and be a voice for other children that may not know quite going on with them or may not be able to speak up about it or own their struggles at this point is pretty powerful.”
Now that he’s older Aiden said he understands much more about his learning disability and wants to share his insight with adults and kids.
“After a couple of years of actually learning what it was, knowing its effects and everything, it's not a disability, it's just a different way of learning,” said Aiden Harr.