Dyslexia Awareness Week

Dyslexia

When I first started primary school all those years ago, I was recognised as having a condition that my teachers loved to call 'word blindness', as though putting that label on me meant that the problem was solved and they could just carry on as normal, meaning that it sometimes took me a little while to actually take in what I was learning in the literary arena. 

You see, even though I found conventional problem solving to be incredibly easy (when I was 7 I fixed my father’s motorbike on the side of the road whilst he was waiting for the RAC), as soon as it came to something as simple as word play or writing short stories (and even blogs today), it felt like a Herculean task.

One such issue is that although I may read the same passage over and over, I still won’t see a really important part that changes the entire meaning of the statement (which can lead to some really funny responses to emails I can tell you!)

There are many facets to dyslexia for me and that may consist of missing words (like “I” or “not”), misinterpreting letters within words (R’s for P’s, A’s for E’s) or sometimes even adding extras in there (let’s not get into There, Their and They’re). I have problems like misunderstanding text or become incredibly tired by the task of reading for long periods (I place a piece of orange acetate over the text to make the it softer and easier to read).

 

At some point in my life, I realised that I don't read in a way that most people would call conventional anymore, much preferring to read as though I’m listening to a poem, with the peaks and troughs of the language usefully filling in the gaps of otherwise contextually lacking text. This stops me from reading and ending up with something a little like this:

Wheen you’re raeding, you mey not saa or avan sometimes add words words or lettters into what you went to wrote.

Not to worry however; I’ve found ways of solving or at least minimising the likelihood of these problems recurring. One is probably the most obvious… I use a spell check on my computer but that doesn’t always help (especially when it’s set to English US) and I personally find that it can lead to becoming too relaxed within the safety of your autocorrect.

Dyslexia

As such, I’ve always spent more time reading and writing so try and keep up those skills by hand writing notes for myself and making sure that they are perfectly legible. That has become a small point of pride (especially as I’m also a leftie) so my favourite pen as a child was a purple and green STABILO Easy (I actually still have it in one of the million drawers in my office). As well, I practice rewriting letters before I write them so that I can get the correct shapes and spelling down beforehand which means having mountains of notebooks and sticky pads.

I’m sure that this happens to the majority of us but I certainly find that “small tasks” can take me a lot longer to accomplish, as they invariably become larger and larger. This is generally because if I don't set the defined parameters of the task, the scope just keeps growing. Nowadays, I set time frames for periods of work and introduce breaks (countdown timers on my phone) to stop my mind from getting caught in the inevitable pitfalls!

6 October 2020


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