LSE Teacher overcomes Learning Disability

Alyssa Allaire turns “weaknesses” into strengths upon becoming a teacher

LSE Teacher overcomes Learning Disability

Lilly Penner, Staff Writer

As students bustle into F220, they are greeted with posters of literature and shelves upon shelves of books. When walking into the classroom Alyssa Allaire is eager to greet everyone who enters her class. She takes the time to learn her students’ names and encourages them to always be timely. It is important for everyone in her class to feel included and be focused because she wants her students to succeed and gain passion for literature. 

English teacher Allaire has taught within the LPS district for eight years. 

Allaire suffers from dyslexia, which she describes as having both good and bad days.

“On the bad days, I struggle with letters and numbers jumbling themselves into unrecognizable sequences,” Allaire said. “This disorder also affects my speech when this happens, because I have issues identifying not just reading, but speech sounds and learning to decode.”

When living in southern California, Allaire was diagnosed during her elementary years. 

“I had a feeling of frustration, but also relief that I finally knew why I was struggling so hard with, specifically, my reading and writing and why I was so behind my peers in this skill set,” Allaire said. 

Previously, dyslexia was not acknowledged as a learning disability until it was included in the Disabilities Education Act. 

“I struggled to find help or accommodations until late into my high school years while attending the LPS District as a student myself,” Allaire said. “When I received those accommodations, I was provided methods to allow me to make many of my weaknesses with this disability into strengths.” 

However, when challenged with choosing a career path, Allaire’s own high school English teacher told her to choose something that would be challenging, yet rewarding. 

“I knew that students like myself could love reading too. I find it rewarding to motivate my students in ascertaining and confirming their inner strengths and abilities and discovering what truly inspires them through the reading and writing process,” Allaire said. 

Furthermore, her challenges with dyslexia, which include being a slow reader, struggling to skim the text and visually confusing letters and words, have turned into strengths upon becoming a teacher. 

“As a teacher, this has become a strength in ways that allow me to provide specific scaffolding and decoding knowledge to my students who also struggle with their reading and writing,” Allaire said. “This has provided a door for me and my students to fall in love with reading, instead of looking through the window wishing that we were ‘just like everyone else’.”

Instead of letting dyslexia hold her back, she pushed herself to accomplish being the first person in her family to receive higher education. 

“It was a difficult journey, no longer having the same support I did when attending the LPS District,” Allaire said. “I had to utilize my learned skills to become successful in all my classes, not just English.”

Reflecting on her earlier years she has seen how she has dramatically improved in the way she retains information and thinks. 

“It is all thanks to those who provided me with the skills I have now currently mastered,” Allaire said.