My daughter is smart, hard-working, artistic, and compassionate . . . and she has dyslexia. 

Our society has created a stigma when it comes to disabilities. Whether it’s a visible disability or one that’s hidden, we don’t talk about it. We are forced to feel shame and keep our struggles to ourselves, and that’s just all kinds of wrong. My daughter’s dyslexia has made her who she is today, someone I am so unbelievably proud of.

And I’m choosing to celebrate it as a gift. 

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In her nine years on this earth, my daughter has faced more hardships than most adults will experience in a lifetime. There are times when she has felt different. There are days when she asks, “Why me?”

But every single time she doubts herself, I remind her of these things . . . 

If school came easy to her, would she have developed the strong work ethic she continues to display? Would she be the successful student that teachers praise for being the hardest worker with the best attitude, year after year? 

If her brain processed things the same as everyone else’s, would she create the vivid, colorful, and unique pieces of art that are posted all over our walls? Would she have the same dreams to be a fashion designer or would her view of the world be different with a little less sparkle?

If she hadn’t experienced some adversity growing up, would she have developed into the resilient and determined athlete that she is? Would she still keep going when it gets hard or would she give up instead? Would she have missed out on the chance to be part of a team where she will make lifelong friendships and memories? 

If she never felt like she didn’t belong, would she go out of her way to include others?

Would she still try to place herself in other people’s shoes and show kindness and understanding instead of judgment?

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If my daughter didn’t have dyslexia, I am certain her path would have been different, but I am so grateful we get to travel this path that we are on.

When this world tries to dull her sparkle, I will shine the biggest spotlight to help her find her glow. When an obstacle in life knocks her down, I will raise the tallest ladder so she can climb out of the darkness. And when I’m no longer here to remind her of her worth, I hope she realizes she can do anything and that this world is better because she is in it. 

My daughter has dyslexia, and she is my hero.

Rachel Steigerwald

I am a teacher, a mother of two, and am "running" my way through the chaos of life, one mile at a time. I hope that by sharing my personal experiences of being a busy, working mother to a child with dyslexia, I can promote kindness, acceptance, and understanding for those who may be struggling.