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“Wake up, Arusha” yelled mom as she shook Arusha hard. Arusha startled awake from her bizarre dream. Everyday she didn’t wake up on time and her mother had to force her out of bed. Poor Arusha! Her mom left immediately after she woke up. This was their daily routine. Both her parents were bankers in Bangalore and were living a pretty standard life.

Arusha was homeschooled until fourth grade. But she was not able to understand anything and she could hardly manage the 4th grade studies. Her parents were really dispirited that their daughter could not study like the other kids of her age. Thus, her parents associated her problem with her slothfulness. Till then her mother had enough. She said, “Arusha never pays attention to her studies. She is always frolicking around and trying stupid dance moves. Onlywhen she goes in a properschool and learns with the help of experienced teachers along with other students, then only she will be able to understand the value of Education.”

At the start of the new school year, her parents dropped little Arusha in front of the huge school gate and bid their farewell. She nervously entered the school building and a woman most probably the school receptionist asked her kindly, “Are you Arusha?” Arusha nodded. She continued, “ Please follow me, dear. Your class is 5B. The woman leaded the way into a neatly furnished classroom with 4 rows apart from each other. The class was filled with students and a short haired woman, with her broad, kind smile appeared from behind the door. “Hi Arusha! I am your new class teacher, Ms. Suman.” Arusha seated next to a girl with brown eyes and curly black hair.

Soon, the lesson started. Ms. Suman asked Arusha to read a small paragraph from the English textbook. But, she couldn’t even read a single word. All the words seemed to be fighting with each other as if it was a fully fledged war. She told Ms. Suman, “Ma’am, the letters are fighting! Please make them stop.” Ms. Suman replied, “No, dear. The letters are not fighting. Arusha sat down, embarrassed. Her partner, Myra tried comforting her, but all her efforts were in vain.

Next, was Maths period. Now, Maths was taught by a very strict teacher, Ms. Nandini. She wrote a simple addition sum on the board. Instantly, almost the entire class’s hands shot up except Arusha's. Ms. Nandini noticed this and hand picked Arusha to solve the sum. But to her, the numbers on the board seemed to be dancing and waving frantically at her. Finally, Arusha petrified of Ms. Nandini’s cold, unblinking stare murmured, “I don’t know miss.” Ms. Nandini shouted at her and told her to stand outside the class. Arusha felt very abashed but obeyed Ms. Nandini. Ms. Varsha, the dance teacher was passing by and saw all this. She felt very sad for the poor girl and thought of knowing her better.

So, during the next dance lecture, Ms. Varsha asked Arusha to perform on an unknown song. But to her surprise, Arusha’s dance was flawless. The entire class applauded her. Ms. Varsha was impressed and talked to her after class. She questioned her, “Arusha, you dance really well. Tell me more about yourself.” Arusha replied sadly, “Ma’am, I don’t know why, but every time I see letters and numbers, they wobble and fly here and there. It’s like they are playing mind games on me.” The teacher was very disheartened after hearing this.

Ms. Varsha told Ms. Suman what Arusha had said. Ms. Suman realized that Arusha was not like normal children and needed a helping hand in her studies. So, from that day onwards Ms. Suman taught Arusha using creative methods. From what Ms. Suman observed in Arusha, she searched about it on the internet and after weeks of hard work, she identified that Arusha had a learning disorder that primarily affected the skills required for fluent reading and speaking called Dyslexia. Ms. Varsha also trained her for the upcoming dance competition.

5 months later

Arusha’s handwriting has improved a lot since the extra classes with Ms. Suman. She has become more attentive and sincere. The good news is – she also won the dance competition. Now, she has a lot of friends and all her teachers adore her.

Ananya Ambrit


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