Sydney Houghton, 11, has a different lens on the world than other kids. But having dyslexia doesn’t hold her back; she sees it as a strength.
“I’m not mad that I am it, I am very proud that I am it,” says the Plymouth sixth-grader, who was named Metro Parent’s 2019 CoverKids grand prize winner. “I see things a lot differently with my dyslexia. Like math problems – I can solve them a lot faster than my mom in a different way.”
In fact, it’s her favorite subject. “I love math,” says Sydney, who is homeschooled and enjoys hobbies like archery, swimming, Legos and crafts.
Though her diagnosis can also come with challenges – like being anxious about new situations and people – she shined during her photoshoot for this month’s magazine cover.
“She was beaming. She didn’t want it to end,” says her mom, Deanna Houghton. “She was very proud of herself and had a lot of fun. She actually said, ‘I’m sad I can’t do it again.'”
“I loved it,” Sydney says of the photo session. She’s also the recipient of $2,529 from the Michigan Education Savings Program to use toward her future college tuition.
Being open about dyslexia gives Sydney a chance to help support other kids, her mom explains. “To have other kids not be worried or ashamed, that makes her feel good,” she says.
And it’s fitting that the photoshoot had a Little House on the Prairie theme, since Houghton herself was compared to Laura Ingalls as a child – and people often make the same comment about Sydney and her 16-year-old sister.
“I think it’s the freckles,” she says. “If I put them in braids, with those freckles, that’s the first thing people think of.”
People also notice Sydney’s bright blue eyes, her mom adds. “She has these blue eyes, which radiate to people. So many strangers have said her eyes are so mesmerizing.”
Wonder who the other luck CoverKids winners are? Visit MetroParent.com/CoverKids for more. And don’t forget to watch out for them on future Metro Parent covers.