When I was 8 years old I found out that I was Dyslexic. I had a lot of trouble reading and writing. This hurt my confidence and made it harder for me to fit in with groups of kids. In the United States, an estimated 5 to 17% of children are diagnosed with dyslexia, making it the most commonly diagnosed learning disability (Trudeau 2008). I started in soccer but I had trouble with team sports because of the pressure I put on myself and I felt from others. Once I started running I had a lot more confidence and allowed me to develop into my own person. It allowed me to develop my work ethic and understand that hard work pays off. From then on I worked just as hard in school as I did in running. There has been some research done suggesting that physical activity may have a positive impact on learning and memory. It also helps to improve self-esteem. Many studies have also linked school sport or Physical Activity programmes with other psychosocial outcomes, such as school satisfaction and school connectedness. I fell that running and triathlon helped me in all of these areas.
Once I was in High school I chose to go into the academic stream even though my grade school teacher advised against it. I feel that Triathlon had given me the confidence to take the risk and do the work hard needed to excel at my courses. I feel that Triathlon also helped me understand the value of delayed gratification. I was able to make it through high school and into McMaster University.
In University I continues to develope the skills I needed to do excel in the class room through my dedication to Triathlon. I chose one of the hardest fields to study for myself. I studied history that revolved around memorization and writing. But I loved the subject just as much as I love Triathlon. I was able to put all my skills I have developed into getting my degree. I had developed work ethic, time management and I understood myself all through rriathlon. I did not feel peer pressure because I had a larger goal in triathlon and something to focus my life around. Triathlon has helped me develop as a person, get my degree and over come dyslexia. It has been show that sport has a direct effect on balance, dexterity and eye movement control. Also the benefits of exercise transferred significantly to cognitive skills underlying literacy, to the reading process, and to standardized national literacy attainment tests (Reynolds 2003).
There has been tests and research done that shows hoe exercise helps to develop better learning habits. D. Reynolds, R. Nicolson and H. Hambly but together a paper outline how exercise helped children with reading difficulties. The article was called, Evaluation of an exercise-based treatment for children with reading difficulties. It stated that, ‘In children with reading disabilities, a school-based program of balance and coordination training, throwing, catching, and stretching produced significant improvements in both reading and semantics (Reynolds 2003).’ This research helps to out line how I feel about triathlons role in my life. Not only is it an amazing sport but it also helps me over come some of the largest obstacles in my life.
Sports and early detection of dyslexia has helped me develop as a person and get through school. With more technology like Eye Reader that will be able to detect learning disability earlier on children will be able to develop strategies to overcome their challenges. I am working with The Ontario Branch of the International Dyslexia Association (ONBIDA) to help spread awareness about dyslexia.
Trudeau, F., & Shephard, R. (2008). Physical education, school physical activity, school sports and academic performance. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 5(10). Retrieved from http://www.ijbnpa.org/content/5/1/10/
Reynolds, D., Nicolson, R., & Hambly, H. (2003). Evaluation of an exercise-based treatment for children with reading difficulties. Dyslexia An International Journal of Research and Practice, 9(1), 48-71