“Just to be in control, out on my own, don’t have to listen to anyone,” Wilson said. “I had confidence to just be my own person. I knew from an early age this is what I wanted to do. It’s the one thing that came easier to me than anything else. Sure, you’ve still got to work at everything in life. But this thing came easy, whereas everything else, all my schoolwork, even soccer at school, it just wasn’t easy. And racing always was. You just naturally go towards it. I knew from the first day I drove a go-kart that was my calling.”
Since then, Wilson has met several other drivers who have dyslexia _ including Formula One racing great Jackie Stewart, a high-profile advocate for awareness. Actor Patrick Dempsey, who races sports cars, also has spoken publicly about his struggles with dyslexia.
Wilson’s brother has it, too.
“Because of my struggles, my parents got him tested when he was about 6,” Wilson said. “He was really young and had a few extra lessons early on. He seemed to deal with life a lot better, school life.”
Wilson said an early diagnosis is critical to getting kids the help they need.
“There’s different forms of dyslexia, understanding where your strengths and weaknesses are can help you deal with it,” Wilson said. “Until that point, you really struggle. Like I said, I was told I was stupid. For kids who have got dyslexia _ there’s many successful people around the world that have this, and in some ways it makes you more determined to prove yourself. And you can do what you want to do. You can fulfill your dreams, no matter what it is.”
Connect with AP Sports Writer Chris Jenkins: http://www.twitter.com/ByChrisJenkins