8.14.2018

Micah shares his story with Jordan.

Dennis writes:
Today Micah and I had the opportunity to speak about the topic of inclusion of all students at the Inclusion Forum in Amman, Jordan hosted by Alliance Academy Jordan (Carol Jadoun). HRH Prince Mired Ra'ad Zaid Al-Hussein was in attendance. Micah was animated and articulate during his speech. It's not about us. This was a Proverbs 31:8-9 opportunity. Super proud moment today!

I was not there to hear him, but the tears flowed freely as I read his speech, remembering, and praising God for how far He has brought our son. So far, in fact, that today, Micah stood in front of influential government officials and royalty - and shared his story. Not in shame, but with honesty and joy. He can rejoice because as difficult as school was for him, he DID IT. He didn't have gold tassels hanging around his neck on graduation day, but he had confidence and peace in the knowledge that he persevered and pushed through tremendous obstacles to earn his high school diploma.
I echo Dennis, "Super proud moment today!"
Well done, Micah! I am proud of you, but my love for you far outweighs my pride. ❤ Mom

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Dyslexia Speech - Jordan 2018
Micah Eastman

Good morning!
My name is Micah Eastman, and when I was nine years old I was diagnosed with dyslexia and mild
ADHD.
In the days of my youth, it took an hour to read the simplest of books and the aggravation that math produced was cruel and unusual punishment. Writing offered similar challenges for the duration of my elementary years. I dreaded the very idea of picking up a pencil. A one-page writing assignment would take me twice as long to complete as other students. It was not uncommon for a session of tears to commence at the beginning of each paper.
Interestingly, though I was struggling with school, my loquaciousness led many to believe I was a decent student. So much so, my mother was convinced I was being lazy in my studies when really, I was trying my best.
I became aware of how academically incapable I was when around the age of eight when I spent a week with some friends from another school. Since we were in the same grade, I joined his class for the duration of my stay.
I consider the time spent in that class one of the more humiliating experiences of my life. The teacher was discussing things that I had not yet learned and even though the concepts were repeatedly explained to me, I could not comprehend them. What the teacher was asking of me seemed impossible. It wasn’t a matter of effort, I simply couldn’t do it.
As I blankly stared at the pages, tears of frustration welled in my eyes. I came to accept the fact that I could not do the work. I now sat completely defeated, bouncing my knees to the ticking of the clock in hope that the day would soon come to an end.
Unfortunately, my self-confidence was dealt another blow when I was handed a video game and told to sit off to the side as my participation was not needed. However, the video game was not a reward by any means, this action by the teacher only cemented my frustration more firmly into place. All I could think was, “What am I missing?” “Why is this making sense to everyone but me?”
For the majority of my elementary and high school years, nearly all subjects caused frustration, anxiety, and tension. Embarrassment and low self-confidence plagued me throughout my high school career, specifically, during my junior and senior years of high school where each day felt like a constant reminder that I was neither smart nor able to make a meaningful contribution in my classes.
After all, it did not help that I was a senior attending classes designated for freshman and sophomore students.
In many subjects my grades did not mirror the effort I was giving. This constant mental punishment in and out of the classroom led me into significant depression. I am convinced that it is only by God’s
grace that I am standing before you today. Though I have some painful experiences, it is my hope that they will be useful to assist others who have struggled like I have.
It was my parents and a small collection of teachers that changed everything by offering compassion and understanding regarding my areas of educational and emotional needs. This group of patient educators chose to encourage my strengths rather than emphasize my weaknesses, especially in the area of music.
For as long as I can remember, my favorite outlet has been music. My dad owned an extensive collection of music and quite frankly I could not get enough of it. As a young boy, I recall lying on the floor eating sliced apples and humming along to classic rock and roll. My love and passion for music steadily grew as my dad educated me in music history and trivia. Learning how to play guitar and drums allowed me to thrive creatively. Finally, I had found something I was naturally good at. Music is a safe place for me and I realized I could be really good at something that I really enjoyed. For the first time in my life, I discovered something in which I excelled and was not afraid to share with others. Personally, I believe everybody has an area in which they can excel but it often goes unnoticed.
Many children believe that they have nothing to offer because no one came alongside them to capitalize on their strengths and help them navigate their weaknesses. If there is anything I’d tell my younger self I would say, “Your contribution matters, don’t let the book break your brain. Just because you learn differently does not make you lazy or dumb.” 
This reminds of something my dad frequently says, “The question asked of students should not be, ‘How smart are you?’ but ‘How are you smart?'"
The Lord has used the gift of dyslexia for good in my life even when I thought it was a curse. 
I am grateful for the opportunity to share my story with you today and hope it will inspire you.
Thank you.


Micah's hero and model - Dennis.
From the time he was a boy he said, "I want to be just like Dad."
And now, they are serving and ministering TOGETHER.
The Lord took what was frustrating, difficult, and disheartening, and turned it into something AMAZING. And Dennis and I will always be grateful for the gift of our son - and - the gift of dyslexia.



Micah - HRH Prince Mired Ra'ad Zaid Al-Hussein - Dennis
The Prince possesses a passion for serving students with special needs and learning needs, so his presence at the conference was a tremendous encouragement to the educators in Jordan.
(And he was quite gracious to take a photo with the Eastman men!)


Dennis - Carol Jadoun (Alliance Academy Jordan) - Micah
Carol is the one who started all of this! And we are so thankful she did. ♥

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