Two years ago, we interviewed Townsell Elementary student Sujash Tellem and his mother Preeti Patel-Tellem in honor of Dyslexia Awareness Month. Fast forward to today, we decided to check in with Tellem to get an update as he prepares to enter middle school. When Tellem first began classes with Dyslexia Interventionist Cathy Minks, the pandemic had just begun and Tellem struggled to even put two letters together at the time. Now, he’s a voracious reader with a passion for aeronautics and hopes to become a pilot someday with his own airline – Sujash Air.
“To see him from second grade to now is amazing,” says Minks. “He started this program over Zoom during the pandemic, and his parents have always been a huge support. They have always done everything they can to get Sujash the help he needed – in and out of the classroom.”
Tellem says he’s thankful for his parents’ support and credits them for being instrumental in his learning over the years.
“Before I entered the dyslexia program, my dad would teach me how to write in cursive, and helped me find my passion for aeronautics. We used to spend time building model aircrafts together, but now I’m at the point where I can make them on my own because of him,” adds Tellem. “My mom has always been there to help me with my grammar – always finding new ways to teach me at home.”
Next school year, Tellem will begin his middle school career at Crockett Middle School, which he’s very excited about. He’s looking forward to getting a jumpstart on his career in aviation – hoping to get his pilot’s license when he’s 16 years old. Tellem’s progress since being in the Irving ISD Dyslexia program is noteworthy. The program consists of 7 “kits”, or levels, and Tellem is already in kit 6, with the possibility that he’ll complete kit 7, and the program, before entering sixth grade next school year.
“Sujash has done very well. I’m so proud of him,” adds Minks. “It’s been great watching him grow over the years. I will miss him once he moves on to middle school, but I’m happy for him.”
Tellem wants others to know that having dyslexia isn’t a weakness or something to be ashamed of. He sees it as a strength.
“Because I have dyslexia, I’ve been able to learn more and go in-depth with English phonetics and learn how to write in cursive at an earlier age than my classmates,” says Tellem. “There’s so much training out there to help. Having dyslexia doesn’t mean you should give up – you work even harder.”
To learn more about Irving ISD’s Dyslexia Services, visit IrvingISD.net/DyslexiaServices.