ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) — It’s estimated that one in 10 people have dyslexia, a language-based learning disability according to Austin Learning Solutions. Our Capitol Correspondent Amal Tlaige spoke with an MMA fighter who used his dyslexia to propel him to the ring.
“You don’t have to do the same things that everyone else does. Like that’s fine—a lot of the entrepreneurs in the world are dyslexic,” said MMA fighter Ryan Loder. Growing up, Loder struggled with dyslexia, but excelled in sports, including wrestling. He went to college for wrestling and eventually ended up coaching the sport at San Francisco State.
During the pandemic, Loder thought it was crucial to keep wrestling open for his students as a way to keep them out of trouble and on a schedule. Due to COVID restrictions, he ended up moving everything to a gym called Team Alpha Male in Sacramento. There, he rented out a spot for his students. Soon enough, Loder found himself in the ring, taking up MMA fighting.
“When I was there, I started coaching a lot of the fighters in the wrestling portion because I was already at the gym and I didn’t have all the extra stuff of coaching so I was like ‘Oh I’ll help out and coach the wrestling portion of the fighting’ and sooner or later they talked me into doing one amateur fight and then I kind of fell in love with it after that,” he said. Now Loder is 5 and 0, but the road to his success hasn’t always been easy.
Loder said he and his brothers have dyslexia, which made learning in school difficult. “But sports came a lot easier because of how we learn different,” he said. “Growing up, I did not know that, how I learn different—it’s not a disability as in, ‘I just learn a little different from people it’s not that I’m dumb or stupid. It’s like okay, he beats to a different drum than me, but I can still learn the same stuff. I just have to figure out different ways to do it.’”
Loder said schools are also behind when it comes to teaching students who have dyslexia. He wants them to know they aren’t inadequate and actually have strengths other people don’t have. “I see patterns in different ways like I can pick up a lot of different things, my body awareness is way better than everyone else’s just because of how it is and on top of all that, the struggle of being dyslexic I have learned to problem solve so much better than anyone else,” said Loder.