During his earliest years in school, Richard Engel showed no signs of having a learning disability, but in fourth grade he transferred to a very competitive elementary school where he began failing tests and struggling with school work.

He was diagnosed with dyslexia, and with his diagnosis came a huge drop in his self­-confidence.

He was constantly being told that he was different from other children, which was a demoralizing experience for Engel; he felt coddled, and as such, began to act out and perform even more poorly in school.

Engel’s life turned around when he attended a wilderness survival camp when he was thirteen. Given nothing more than a gun and a knife, the city­born Engel had to survive on his own.

Far from being coddled, he thrived and became the leader of this group of wilderness survivalists. The experience boosted Engel’s confidence and allowed him to distinguish himself from his peers.

From there, he continued to adventure by studying abroad and learning four new languages. Engel learned that he was passionate about being thrown into alien environments and learning to survive.

Today, Engel is a distinguished correspondent in the Middle East. He was the only American journalist to stay in Baghdad for the duration of the Iraq war and was even kidnapped in Syria. He tells parents of kids with learning disabilities that helping them find their confidence is the key to their success.

To read more of Engel’s remarkable story, visit the Child Mind Institute website.