Dyslexia & Me
Merry Saturday one and all!!
I mentioned in my last post that I am ‘awesomely dyslexic’ and I just wanted to expand this out a bit and explain why it is a major factor in my life and in the way that I think.
Before I get into everything I just want to put out in the magical internet ether that using the word ‘Dyslexia’ for a condition that can impact spelling and reading abilities is just cruel…I have always thought this and it’s taken me forever to actually be able to spell the wretched word….OK I feel better now so on I go.
Everyone knows the word ‘dyslexia’ now and it is kind of used in a flippant way throughout the education system, even though most people don’t seem to know that much about it and certainly a lot of people don’t actually understand the impact it has on people’s lives. What people don’t understand is that dyslexia is actually a number of traits/symptoms and that although the outcome is the same, everyone has slightly different problems.
For example, the last post that I wrote which was about 600 words took me 3 hours to write and then when it was checked by my husband, he had to put words in and punctuate the whole thing. So this time, I am dictating to my long suffering typist, aka my mum (who also happens to be a teacher of dyslexics in a past life, handy hey?).Dictation is pretty much how I managed to write every essay through my degree and A levels however, I have never had a problem with reading, comprehension or talking, surprise!!
To try and give an explanation (in a far more succinct way than I could!) of what dyslexia is here is the definition from Dyslexia in Action –
“Dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty that primarily affects the ability to learn to read and spell. It often runs in families and stems from a difficulty in processing the sounds in words. Some 10% of the UK population are affected.
The definition’s main points are:
It affects the ability to learn to read and spell.
It involves difficulties in dealing with the sounds of words, which makes it especially hard to learn to use phonics to read words.
It can affect short-term memory and speed of recalling names.
Other kinds of difficulties, for example with maths or with co-ordination, sometimes go alongside dyslexia, but they do not always.
Dyslexia is not the same for everyone:
it can be mild or severe;
it varies depending on other strengths, or difficulties;
it varies depending on the kind of support and encouragement that is given at school, at home and at work.”
So that is the basics of what it is but it is difficult to get a summarised definition and no description can illustrate the frustration and exhaustion of this ‘learning difficulty’
I have the distinction of being on the 98th percentile for intelligence (who’d have thunk it!) and the 95th for dyslexia which made main stream school incredibly difficult and infuriating for me because I understood everything but everyone wanted everything written down to prove it. When I was really little at school, I used to come home and say that I was stupid and my mum banned the word ‘stupid’ from the house.
The same still applies – when I went for interviews for office temp jobs – yes, I got the job because I can talk the talk but because it was paperwork based I was so exhausted at the end of each day that, in the end, I just couldn’t do it. And if anyone corrected my spelling or grammar I was so self –conscious/highly strung about it that I worried that I hadn’t done it properly or just ignored anything I had to write for as long as was humanly possible.
Fortunately, I have always veered towards the artistic anyway (which many of us dyslexics do!) and I did have some good and understanding teachers in some of the schools I went to, there were also some *swear word* teachers who told me that I would never make it through school and definitely never do a degree, but as it happens THEY WERE WRONG! And, in a way, they are the reason that I am thick skinned, determined and writing this blog.
So I am writing this blog for me, to explain to you why I am the way I am and for anyone else who is going through what I went through and for their parents who also go through it and battle for their children all the way through the education system.
Don’t get me wrong, writing my experience down to post onto the internet does not exactly come naturally to me. Obviously the writing part, but also it seems an odd notion that I my life is/has been actually interesting or that my experiences could be useful to anyone. It just seems a peculiar concept but, my theory is, that if my doing this helps anyone for any reason then it has been worth doing.
I will say that in my opinion, the education system needs a bit of change. It needs to realise that we are all different and just because I can’t always put things down on paper does not mean that I, or anyone else like me, is unintelligent, because let me tell you, we will not be defeated!
Finally I just want to say that there is light at the end of the dyslexia tunnel – don’t get me wrong the tunnel is hard going but everything is possible. I mean if I can flippin’ do it, there is hope for everyone!
If you have any questions, comments or any information please feel free to message me!
See you next week!