Celebrating My Dyslexia
When I was 17 I was diagnosed with Dyslexia. I self-assessed myself and it wasn’t until I began my teacher training I realised I might be dyslexic. It was never picked up on when I was in school, however looking back it makes lots of sense.
The main reason it wasn’t picked up was because I was achieving, I was a smart kid and I was passing. Now I’ve had IQ tests and spoken to an Educational Psychologist, I probably should have done a lot better at school. The other reason why I don’t think it was picked up was because of my introverted nature. Instead of talking about problems I was having I just came up with my own coping strategies.
One thing that majorly annoys me about Dyslexia is its major misunderstanding. It’s got a reputation of being an excuse for people who are bad at spelling. As a teacher I hear the excuse on the daily basis – I can’t do this ‘cos I’m Dyslexic. People who are dyslexic will but themselves down and so in a way I’m glad I went through school without the proper diagnosis as I feel I may have let myself fall into this category. I have also come across teachers who think they can cure dyslexia – ‘if you just make kids with dyslexia continually do something they will eventually remember it!”
How I approach my Dyslexia
Dyslexia comes in different forms, but it comes down to how we process information. This image sort of shows you how it can have effects on people. For me, the main set backs are I don’t know my left from my right – despite trying to remember them my whole life. I still do that thing where you put your finger and thumb up to see what one makes an L. Saying that I have an awesome sense of direction. I never really get lost and always find my way places.
I cannot do my times tables. Again trying to memorize them does not work. Same with Dates. I am a history teacher and I have no concept of dates, years and even centuries. This can prove difficult at times- especially when I was in History exams at university. I just avoided ever having to mention the date. I knew all the knowledge, the reasons why something happened and the effects it had. I still managed to get really good results in exams.
I love reading books but do struggle with concentration. That’s why I love my kindle – you can change the font and the text to make it user-friendly. The Kindle has the OpenDyslexie font, this makes it much easier to read although for many the font looks strange.
I think the biggest challenge I have is with sounds and processing of information I’ve heard. This can mean I mishear things, don’t hear people at all or hear the words but take a few seconds to process what I have heard. This really annoys my husband and I do ignore him a lot, not on purpose. It means I watch TV Shows and Movies with subtitles on to help me understand the plot. If I don’t, I often miss major plot! I do get irritated easily by background noise and struggle to concentrate on 2 things at once. However I know this, I just apologise for not hearing, ask for things to be repeated and that seems to work.
Dyslexia is something that should be celebrated – We think totally differently, we have spent our whole lives problem solving and so can tackle problems from a different angle. We might not be able to write down our thinking or be able to fully explain why we think something. Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Steven Spielberg, Richard Branson, Winston Churchill all had dyslexia. They were revolutionaries.
So what I am saying is please stop making dyslexia jokes, stop thinking because you or someone you know is dyslexic they are stupid or can’t do something. They will find a way and they are brilliant. Dyslexia is only a barrier to learning when we think everyone learns in the same way. Final Thought . . . why did they make the word dyslexia such a hard word to spell!
If you want more advice or information – http://www.dyslexiascotland.org.uk