Through their eyes: mother and daughter share their struggles with dyslexia

Published: Oct. 27, 2016 at 8:25 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 28, 2016 at 10:24 AM EDT
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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Nicole Miller is a teacher and the parent of a daughter with dyslexia. She started a blog writing about dyslexia and how she and other parents can best help their children. But this journey, which is the case for many families, actually started years ago.

Miller's daughter, Everlee, is a typical 8-year-old who loves to sing, dance, and play outside. At 4 and a half years old, Everlee's teachers started noticing a disconnect between what she was hearing and the words she was learning.

It wasn't until she was 7 years old that doctors were able to test her and diagnose her with dyslexia.

"For me, the words are mixed up and look like another word," Everlee said.

Now, she and her mom are on a quest to show people what dyslexia looks like.

Miller spent years begging to get a diagnosis but knowing Everlee was dyslexic brought on another challenge. The realization that her little girl may struggle through school, which seems twice as tough for a parent who is also a teacher.

"I think the biggest thing for me was just beginning to talk about it," Miller said. "Because the more I talked about it, and even Everlee talked about it, the more comfortable she became."

As she talked about it more Miller learned about the Hill School in Wilmington. The teachers use a methodology that teaches words and sounds in chunks.

"We break and spell words before they do written spelling so they are front loaded with the way they should be breaking and spelling that word in their mind before they write it down," Hill School teacher Nikki Whitley explained.

Now that Everlee is on track and excelling in school, Miller decided she could do more.

"I decided after long deliberation and eliminating shark diving that I was eager to become and advocate for my dyslexic daughter, all her friends, her future friends and those friends she will never meet," said Miller, explaining that was the driving force behind starting a blog called Dyslexia Life:  a journey thru.

After the struggles, questions and frustration of not knowing where to go for help, this journey has taken a new turn.

"I think dyslexia is hard to work with but once you have it for a long time, then you get used to it a little bit and it starts to get easier and easier," said Everlee.

"Walt Disney was dyslexic," Miller said. "[He] built and empire on a mouse, so I think we have a pretty good shot."

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