When Wellington resident Frank LaCosta was a boy, he wanted to write the number 25, but the paper reflected the number 52. He would tell himself to write the letter D, but the paper reflected the letter B. While minor mistakes like this may be common for some children, for LaCosta it was a sign of a larger challenge — dyslexia, a condition that makes it difficult for a person to read, write and spell, yet does not affect their general intelligence.
Diagnosed at the age of four, LaCosta was one student among the 15 to 20 percent of the U.S. population who has a language-based learning disability, according to the Dyslexia Center of Utah. Dyslexia is the most common of the language-based learning disabilities, but many people aren’t aware that they have it.
LaCosta spent most of his childhood working to overcome this challenge.
“While in the first grade, a teacher’s assistant at Saint Luke’s Catholic School in Lake Worth would spend hours with me working on techniques and exercises that really shaped me into who I am today,” he said.
These days, LaCosta still finds himself double-checking his work, considering his job relies heavily on his accuracy with numbers. A banking executive with Bank of America for 14 years, LaCosta currently serves as a corporate wealth specialist, working closely with corporate and business banking partners to provide financial literacy training for employees.
While LaCosta has dedicated his career to helping employees live better financial lives, he still finds himself having to implement processes and techniques to keep errors and challenges associated with his dyslexia at bay.
“It’s a detail-oriented job that doesn’t have much room for error, so I have to be mindful every day of what I do, being deliberate to move at a steady pace,” LaCosta explained. “Even though I have overcome a lot of the challenges that come with dyslexia, I still need to remain aware of it.”
There is no cure for dyslexia, but many suffering from it can learn techniques to manage it through special instruction and support.
“I have become accustomed to creating structure when there is none,” he said. “Many of the positions I have taken in with my job have been new roles for the company with no path blazed. This has allowed me to set a plan in place to adapt to a role, something that I learned at a very young age.”
LaCosta doesn’t consider his disability a setback. Instead, he said he owes his professional success to how this has differentiated him and is hopeful that it inspires others.
“I like to see it as having a different perspective on things. I look at everything I do from a unique angle,” he added. “I don’t want others suffering with this condition to think that there are certain careers you cannot pursue. With what I do, numbers are very important — and that was always one of my main challenges — but I made a promise to myself to not let it stop me from being successful.”
ABOVE: LaCosta at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.