“Ellen’s Story” is a testament of her persistent struggle for literacy, the crippling defeat Ellen personally suffered in her adult life due to this problem, and the ultimate steps she needed to take toward triumph.
Ellen Szita’s story begins in England as World War II breaks out. As a victim of the times and of a society unaware of learning disabilities, she fell further and further behind in a system focused on only achievers. At the age of 18, contemplating a dim future as an ill-educated factory worker and bearing thoughts of suicide, Ellen immigrated to Canada. But dreams of a new life of marriage, children and friendship never came to be; struggles with learning disabilities sabotaged every hope. Her marriage failed, she sunk into a deep depression, and tried to raise four children on welfare. Eventually, after intensive therapy, she was diagnosed with dyslexia and with only grade seven reading skills. Through the incredible support from the Victoria READ Society, a special school in British Columbia, Canada, Ellen came to believe she could learn, and learn, she did.
Ellen’s triumphs came with more pain. Literacy problems had devastated her life and her relationships; she felt an incredible fear knowing the lives she had hurt. But then she learned that she was far from alone; there were millions in Canada that were feeling the same shame and hopelessness that had. What was the true number of people–particularly children–suffering as a result of this issue?
The terrible effects of literacy and numeracy problems on human health, wealth and happiness are unseen. The victims face lifelong shame, guilt and failure. Her hope for Ellen’s Story will open eyes to real destruction of hidden epidemic and give courage to those willing to come forward and attend classes. But more importantly, since less than 5% of adults with learning difficulties seek help, Ellen hopes her story will give courage and hope to others.