What a bitch to spell…
I, like many people, was diagnosed with this thing called dyslexia. 1 in 10 are diagnosed with it in the UK and whilst its referred to as a disability in society, particularly the law, I dont consider myself to be disabled. Its a difficulty, but that also doesnt make it a hinderance.
The NHS defines dyslexia as; a common learning difficulty that can cause problems with reading, writing and spelling.
What do you think of when you read the word or even hear the word dyslexia? Perhaps you think of it as a disability? Maybe you think of someone struggling to read because the words on a page move? Possibly you think of someone with a lower intelligence than average? Maybe you think of someone who doesnt go on to further education?
Would you be surprised to hear that these are all myths?
The ideas surrounding what is normal in society is constantly being challenged. You can see it in the media on a daily basis. Social norms are being challenged right here on this very page. Yet these are myths that consistently prevail due to a lack of discussion on this topic.
So what does dyslexia look like? Personally, I dont struggle with spelling but I read slower than most and I loathe reading aloud. I struggle with following along the lines in a book and missing out sentences. I skip over words when reading and writing. My eyes are more sensitive to light; on a white page with black writing, the white of the background becomes brighter and bolder to the point that I see more white than I do any of the black. (I had, and still do, have a personal vendetta against interactive whiteboards) These are all common difficulties associated with dyselxia but there are more, different individuals have specific difficulties.
But dyslexia is more than just a difficulty in education, it can affect my daily life as well. Individuals with dyslexia require more sleep than the average person as we use ten times more energy battling day to day life. I forget things so easily because my short term memory recall is so low. Similarly to interactive white boards, I also struggle with night driving due to a higher sensitivity. (Vendetta #2: White headlights) We are more likely to suffer from a mental health condition.
Yet it has been found that the majority of individuals with specific learning difficulties excel in the creative arts. So yes I have a particular love of all types of art but I also love creative writing. Would it also surprise you to know that I am a Law graduate?
If you google ‘dyslexia’ it will provide you with an explanation of the difficulties surrounding this disorder, but what it neglects to explain is this; my brain is hardwired differently, we are naturally problem solvers that does not fit the linear way of thinking, particularly in education. Visual thinking, our unconscious method of processing information, is much like having a mind map inside your brain that constantly spouts off different branches of thought. It can be chaotic to someone who doesn’t process information in the same way.
If you know someone with dyslexia, chances are they did not pursue further education because the system does not support our unconventional way of thinking. The system has be structured and rigid in its approach, so if you dont fit in…good luck. In my two years of college I was told to not pursue my goal of studying law at University, to think of alternatives to what I might like to do for the rest of my life. It was only out of pure stubbornness that I applied and was accepted to my first choice University.
Now I am a law graduate with 1st class assignments to my name. Yet so many people are put off by the lack of understanding towards our natural way of processing.
Dyslexia; defined as a specific learning disability or disorder, that is often described as a hinderance towards those that have it. Yet the only hinderance I have is other people.
When I first started University I refused to believe that dyslexia would make my life any harder than it already was. Turns out I was just in daniel…..
But you know, when life hands you melons……
Okay, I’ll stop now.
Cheers to editors and sub-editors everywhere!