Both a lawyer and consultant for disability accommodations in the academic world, Liz Ball has accomplished a lot for those with learning disabilities. Herself a dyslexic, she has helped create and implement student support services for colleges, high schools, and elementary schools all around the United States. Her own struggles with dyslexia began very early in her academic years. While she sat and witnessed her classmates’ journey to reading and writing, Ball continued to see a jumble of letters and numbers floating on the paper. She memorized practice sentences to recite in class rather than admit to her teachers she was struggling. By the time Liz Ball was nine years old, she had developed insomnia and frequent migraines due to her laborious and seemingly unsuccessful attempt to learn how to read. Luckily, Ball’s school believed in a multi-sensory approach to academics. The young dyslexic could work and learn through hands-on projects as well as visual and hands-on instruction. She eventually learned how to read by the end of elementary school, but Ball’s dyslexia remained undiagnosed until college. After graduating at the top of her class in high school, Ball attended Carleton College where she immediately took to literature and philosophy courses, and even pursued a graduate degree in Boston.

Now a teacher and regular advocate for students with disabilities, Liz Ball uses her dyslexia to both hers and her students’ advantage. She can view problems from a unique perspective and give instructions from multiple angles of approach. Her students are shown multiple ways to solve a problem, ways that Ball herself understand better because of her dyslexia. Ball credits her success as a teacher to her dyslexia- the disability that opened new perspectives and approaches to both her learning and teaching years.

Read Liz Ball’s article that addresses her experience as a student and teacher with dyslexia, From One Teacher to Another, here at the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity website.