Navigating Dyslexia, My Faith, and Road to Fish Biology


The Book

I had everything I needed for a perfect childhood, but something wasn’t quite right. Despite my advantages, school was too difficult for me – I had trouble reading and performing specific tasks in the classroom. At the age of seven, I was diagnosed with dyslexia. In my book, “Fish out of Water,” I offer readers a glimpse into my childhood and the challenges I faced on my journey. The book describes how I overcame the difficulties I faced in school and how the scars left by those experiences ultimately transformed me. 


Despite struggling to get into college, I persevered and eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree. I then continued my academic journey, pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Marine Biology. Along the way, I discovered a passion for fishery sciences, which became my career path. All the while, I continued to overcome the challenges of dyslexia.

I do my best to share my struggles and triumphs, emphasizing how my disability and faith helped me navigate the workplace in response to God’s call on my life. The book is a testament to resilience, faith, and triumph over adversity.

“Fish out of Water” is a book that chronicles my journey with dyslexia and how I overcame the challenges it posed. The book celebrates God’s love and how, through His guidance, I was able to turn my disability into an ability and find my true purpose in life.

At the end of the book, I provide recommendations to help people with disabilities cope.

Here is Why I Wrote about my Dyslexia

As a child, I struggled in the school classroom, to such an extent that I was required to attend a special class for several years. I was diagnosed with severe dyslexia and received help by the school district and by private medical professionals through my elementary, junior high, and high school years. Though I knew there was something wrong with me, to this day I can’t put my finger on it exactly, as the reading disorder is known as a hidden disability.

I found solace in sports, making school bearable, and I got into college through a special program for the disadvantaged and also through the Disability Department. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in aquatic biology and obtained my Master of Arts in aquatic biology from graduate school.

I wanted to share the perspective of a young dyslexic person’s journey and provide an example of how a disability can be overcome and even strengthen someone. When I was suffering from dyslexia as a child, I was unsure of my future and fearful I would not succeed. I had all the ingredients of a happy childhood, yet school was difficult. I experienced a significant list of reading and speaking problems.

Because of my difficulty in school, I developed scars that lasted a very long time. It is my hope that this book can be inspirational for those suffering from disabilities, whether it is your child or yourself. You may look different, be a poor test taker, or not fit with the normal classroom crowd, but read on and see how I survived. Know that many labeled as “disabled” compensate for the disability and develop unique skills and abilities as they overcome the struggles. There is a place in society for these novel and unique skills. Have hope!

The reader will learn I was removed from the neighborhood elementary school across the street from my house to a different school because I had been diagnosed with an auditory/visual-symbol processing deficit: specific learning disability. This condition was further identified as dyslexia and, in addition, was stated as a permanent learning disability. I know what you are thinking–“I have dyslexia. I switch my letters all the time.” Dyslexia is a processing issue and typically the victim has difficulties with words; however, switching letters does not mean one has the condition.

The main problem of dyslexics is the turning of print into sound. This issue can be seen in dyslexics when one listens to their reading and hears the faulty result, often mispronunciations, truncated words, etc. Modern research suggests dyslexic people show different structures and functions in their brains.

I had been enrolled in a special day class funded by the state of California Department of Education, within the district learning disabled population. I had likely been diagnosed prior to passage of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 (PL 94-142), which defined learning disability. It was prior to the development of neuroimaging technologies, leading to significant advances in understanding and treatment. It was also more than twenty years prior to passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act, adding reading disorders to the things you can’t discriminate against an employee for.

Furthermore, it took decades for me to understand that I was extremely fortunate to have been tested and diagnosed with dyslexia at an early age. The early testing of learning disorders enables early detection and care. In today’s current educational environment, there is no guarantee that every child will be tested or screened. In fact, as of early 2023, California still did not require all young students to be screened for learning disabilities.

The process of understanding the impact dyslexia had on me took a long time. It wasn’t until I researched the condition and looked back that I started to understand what was happening. For example, common symptoms in children include poor handwriting, poor spelling, poor performance on multiple-choice tests, as well as difficulty remembering certain facts and dates. I experienced all these symptoms as a child and young adult.

Conversely, an enhanced ability to get the big picture of things, to understand non-reading subjects well, to possess unusual resilience, and enhanced empathy for others and improvement in areas of a technical nature are some of the positive indicators of dyslexia which I experience. I do my best to pinpoint these problems and the benefits in this book as I share about my childhood and career.

In the first part of this book, I describe my childhood, school difficulties, how I saw signs of dyslexia in grades, and the things I did to mitigate the tough school environment. In the second half of the book, I walk through my career as a federal government fish biologist to share real world examples to demonstrate work in the natural resources of a federal agency. I stumbled upon a job working for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and discovered I could become a valuable employee. I continued to work hard and receive promotions and new opportunities.

Other Parts of the Book

There are several other topics that are a part of this book, and it may appear they are not related, but they are. I was touched by God while traveling in Europe and started reading the Bible. I discovered my true purpose in life was to serve God through my job and through my local church. I gave my life to Jesus Christ, the son of God. This book goes into my struggle with faith and science—not only from an academic standpoint but in the workplace.


When it comes down to it, many of the stumbling blocks regarding this issue were in my head. Evolution and faith rarely came up at work. It is not as if I was an evolutionary biologist and people suddenly found out I was a Christian. Often whether one believes in God, creation, or full-blown evolution is unknown to one’s colleagues, unless these beliefs are expressed. There are excellent biologists who are atheists, and there are excellent biologists who are Christians. Faith in Christ is what defines me and helps me navigate life. It was and is the most important part of my life and should be shared.

I tell some fun stories in this book—however, there are a lot of things I didn’t include as I didn’t want to stray too much from the theme. Girlfriends, cars, and escapades of sorts are not included. I chose to be brief and to share the highlights of many things. All the stories I share are true. This doesn’t take away any of the significant people who were part of my life growing up and helped me become who I am. In addition, I made a good number of life-long friends at work, and I care deeply about them. I decided to respect their privacy and not include their names in this book.

Because some events are still relatively recent, and many of my former colleagues are still working, I am unable to go into a lot of detail in some work situations. I decided to summarize the basic facts. Names have been mentioned sparingly, and in some cases, they have been changed.

Like any large organization, there are good and bad parts; the federal government is no different. However, this book is not a review of the federal government; the federal government is and will always be an excellent place to work. This book is about my dyslexia journey and how I survived and thrived. All parts of this book are my own thoughts and perspectives, and the contents have not been approved or verified by the agencies I work or worked for.

For the dyslexics among us, I used a dyslexic-friendly font and enlarged text to help with readability. I hope you find this book inspirational and helpful. Please reach out to me and let me know. The best way to reach me is via the contact form of my author website,


Q: What causes dyslexia?

A: Dyslexia is a learning disorder that affects reading ability. It’s caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors, including differences in brain structure and function, difficulties with phonological processing, and early childhood experiences. While genetics play a significant role, environmental factors like limited exposure to reading and socio-economic disparities can also contribute. Dyslexia is not related to intelligence and can vary in severity, but with proper support and intervention, individuals can overcome challenges and thrive.

Q: What are dyslexia symptoms in preschoolers?

A: In preschoolers, symptoms of dyslexia might manifest as struggles with rhyming, recognizing letters or sounds, delayed speech, difficulty following instructions, and a reluctance to engage in reading-related activities. If you observe persistent challenges in these areas, seeking advice from a pediatrician or educator could be beneficial for early intervention and support, which can make a significant difference in a child’s development.

Q: Is ADHD and dyslexia related?

A: ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and dyslexia are separate conditions, but they can coexist in some individuals. While ADHD primarily involves challenges with attention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, the disorder primarily affects reading and language processing abilities. However, there can be overlapping symptoms between the two, such as difficulty with attention and organization, which can sometimes complicate diagnosis. Research suggests a higher prevalence of ADHD among dyslexic individuals and vice versa. It’s crucial for individuals exhibiting symptoms of both conditions to undergo thorough assessments by qualified professionals to ensure accurate diagnosis and appropriate interventions tailored to address their specific needs.


Explore a collection of stories from dyslexics around the world, shedding light on their unique journeys and triumphs over challenges associated with the condition. Embark on a transformative journey with stories, discovering the resilience, accomplishments, and unique perspectives of individuals navigating life with dyslexia! There are many online resources. For example, The Yale Center of Dyslexia and Creativity offers educational resources, advocacy materials, success stories, and even courses addressing the condition. Dr. Sally Shaywitz who is heavily involved in the Yale Center of Dyslexia and Creativity authored a book titled Overcoming Dyslexia which was one of the most influential resources for me. One other book I highly recommend is The Dyslexic Advantage by Brook and Fernette Eide.

The International Dyslexia Association is an excellent resource that addresses questions about dyslexia, including its causes, signs, and comorbidity with ADHD.

To learn about other books I published, see my Author Page and separate book pages about growing food and giant pumpkins in your backyard.

I would love to hear from you. Please send me a message.