Sami's Story

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Sami's Story

Postby parnassus » Sun Jul 18, 2004 3:39 pm

My name is Sami ibn Uthman. My father is from Saudi Arabia and my mother is Portuguese. When I was six years old, I started at a well-known primary school called "My Little Home". My parents chose the school carefully because I had difficulty concentrating and they wanted me to have an understanding teacher, and My Little Home was very popular. All the students had good grades and seemed happy. But for me, the place was "My Little Hell".

On my third day at the school, I was hit by my teacher for talking out of turn and for fidgeting too much in my seat. When my father came in to complain, the teacher lied and said she had done nothing. By the time I was ten years old, the other children could read and write well and they were beginning to learn the very complicated kind of Arabic that we use for our holy book the Qu'ran. I still could not spell even simple words. My Arabic handwriting was so messy that no one could read it. I could not make friends and I did not like the games the other children played at break time, for example soccer and running races. My teachers often made me stand on a table in the middle of the room with a sign pinned to my back. I do not know what the sign said. I couldn't read it.

Then we started to learn English. This was even more difficult as the spelling is not phonetic. Luckily this teacher understood. Her name is Mrs Al-Buraydi. She knew a little about dyslexia and suggested that I take a special test. My parents paid for me to have the test when we visited England on our holiday. The Dyslexia Institute gave it to me. I found that I have severe dyslexia and AD/HD and mild dyspraxia. But when we came back to Saudi Arabia, the principal of my new secondary school was ignorant of these disorders.

So my parents have made the hard decision to send me to a boarding school in Jordan, which is another country quite close by. This school has a special teacher for students like me. I am happy here. My Arabic writing has improved and I can speak a little English but not write it yet. Maybe one day I will also learn French. For the first time ever I have friends.

Sami's story has been translated from the original Arabic.
"This above all, to thine own self be true." - Polonius, Hamlet.
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