People think reading is easy. For some people, reading is hard.
So says, Mia Hays, 10, a fourth grader at Stephenson Elementary in The Shadow Project, who recently chronicled her struggles with reading, due to ADHD and anxiety.
“It’s okay if people think you are weird,” writes Mia in an inspiring book she wrote and read out loud last school year, Differences, to help others with learning challenges. “It’s okay, because you are special for who you are.
“I have had problems, and I know how you feel,” Mia writes. “But people change. Your problem could get solved just like that!
“Everyone has problems,” writes Mia in Differences. “I have ADHD and anxiety. That means that sometimes reading is extra hard for me. The words don’t sit still on the page. Sometimes my stomach gets nervous and I don’t want to try things. But it usually works out, and I am okay after all.
“I have learned that if you try and try, and don’t give up, that many problems go away.”
Mia said she wrote a book about differences because she was having a tough time in school. “I felt like other people have hard times, too, and that maybe I should tell them about me, to help them know others have problems.”
Mia admits she was worried when she wrote her book and was asked to share it with the class. “The writing was easy, but I was afraid to read out loud,” said Mia, who also enjoys drawing, math, and soccer. “I was nervous to read my book to the class because I thought they might laugh at me because I think it’s hard to read and they think it’s so easy. But I decided to give it a chance.”
Her classmates didn’t laugh. They clapped. Her teacher cried. And best friends Olivia and Emma gave Mia a big hug. “I felt so good,” said Mia. “I feel like now people get me. They’ll think of me like a person, not like a person who makes mistakes and has problems.”
“After I try, try, try, I get it,” she said. “People need to know that with a little effort and courage, you can do it.”
Click here to watch a film snippet of Mia reading the introduction to her book.