We’re continuing on the topic of self-esteem today. As many of you pointed out yesterday, it is imperative that a child be given adequate time and opportunities to discover his or her talents and passions. As students who are struggling to read, we need something that makes us feel successful and special. We need something that makes us feel proud.

When I was young, my passion was Legos. I could spend hours building elaborate designs. My parents kept me well-supplied in those building blocks, and they even took me to Brickworld and other Lego conventions. Today, my passion is computers and other tech devices. I even built my own computer from scratch, and I design games for the XBox.

For my sister, also dyslexic, the passion was birds. It still is. At just 14 years old, she is an incredibly talented ornithologist who is well-known in the field and in high demand. She travels across the state teaching classes and giving presentations on behalf of several organizations, including the Audubon Society, Department of Natural Resources, Raptor Rehabilitation Centers and other organizations. She writes books, helps design apps, and so much more.

While we were pursuing our passions, we discovered that in order to learn more about them, we would have to learn to read, no matter how difficult that would be. Magazine articles, books and websites about our passions required us to go through the excruciating effort of reading, which gave us the necessary motivation to try to read better.

Yes, we could have spent more time on the reading assignments rather than spending time on what some would consider trivial pursuits. However, if your self-esteem is low, it is difficult to concentrate on your work, especially something as painful as reading. I would argue that pursuing a passion, developing talents, and building self-esteem are as important to a child with dyslexia as the reading exercises.

I would like to hear your thoughts. Have you, as a child or teen with dyslexia, discovered your talents and found your passions? Has it made a difference? Do you have enough time to pursue them? Or are the homework and tutoring assignments taking up all of your time?