Hi, I'm Cliff Weitzman.
I am dyslexic.
Reading a sentence takes me the same amount of energy and brain power as most people take to solve a long division math equation in their head.
I was diagnosed in 3rd grade. It was the best day of my life.
Before that, I would pretend to read in elementary school.
I’d sit with the book open in front of me and pass my finger under the words so that people (my parents, teachers, friends, siblings) wouldn’t think I was dumb, or lazy.
Reading circles were terrifying.
One by one kids would read. And it would get closer to me.
My hands would start to sweat.
So I timed it just right. And right before it was my turn…
I’d go hide in the bathroom.
I did this every time.
Luckily my Dad didn’t give up on me. He never gave up on me. Ever.
He’d sit on my bed; And In a slow, deep voice, he would read Harry Potter to me.
He’d record himself on a cassette tape. I’d fall asleep listening to it every night. Over and over, listening to my Dad’s voice.
I started pushing my listening speed, from 1x to 1.25x, 1.5x, 2x, then 2.5x speed. I started listening to 2 audiobooks a week. 100 audiobooks a year.
I was in special-ed class in high school. If there was no audiobook I was stuck.
I couldn’t finish my summer reading book for college – no audiobook for this one.
I had no other choice, I hacked an old text to speech computer system to read the remaining portion of the book over night into my iPhone and then listen to it on the plane.
I taught myself to code and improved the software further. I spent the next 4 years in college perfecting this system. Instead of slaving over a textbook while chained to my desk – I’d take 15 quick photos and then listen while eating breakfast or Longboarding to class.
I’d listen to the 100+ pages of reading assigned per week for my classes while on the train or on the bus.
Today, millions of people have been able to function in school and society because of Speechify.
Remember, that above all else, your mission is to be who you needed most when you were growing up. At least, it’s mine.
Much love ❤