REQUESTED: a summary of my previous article “Writing With Dyslexia”
The definition of dyslexia is: a condition of the brain that makes it difficult for an individual to read, write and spell. It's important to note, a trained psychologist should always be consulted if you do think you or your child is suffering from this disability. But if you've been dealing with this for a while, and are feeling the guilt and pressure of feeling you are different, or lesser than everyone else; these short points should help.
1. Don’t think about it. You are going to make mistakes, a lot of them. You’ll construct sentences so poor even you can’t get a grasp on what you were trying to say. You could be typing along without a bother and then you look up and everything is underlined in green and red. (I hate the green one more, it just doesn’t get me, you know?)
Don’t think of spell-check as your best friend, think of it as your rival. The Gary Oak to your Ash Ketchum. The guy running alongside you who is just that bit ahead. The one that pushes you to do better. However, if you stop mid-race to work out why he’s ahead; you lose. Just keep running until the race is over, then go back and look at what you could have done differently.
2. Read. Read. Read. This is my most important bit of advice for managing your dyslexia, any parents combing through should pay special attention to this if you’ve recently discovered your child is dyslexic. Reading is, in my opinion, one of the best and most engaging ways one can advance beyond it. Remember, reading is reading, no matter what form it takes. Don't let other people, especially teachers, try to define this for you. Reading isn't about school, homework, or tests. It is so much more than that.
3. Be honest about it, and laugh about it. The easiest way to be honest about something is to have a sense of humour about it. if you are able to laugh at your mistakes, (in knowing the cause of them) the others will find it funny as well. But remember, don't lie about it. People have enough trouble understanding dyslexia as it is. If you hide it from them, pretend it's not there, then you will suffer in the long run. Nearly all American colleges will not ask if your dyslexic, hey won;t even look for it. It's up to you to be honest about disability so that you are in control of it instead of letting it control you.
4. Spelling is Irrelevant. Don't get me wrong, if you’re trying to be an author or your applying for college, you can't submit something lathered in spelling mistakes. But, at the end of the day, it's only spelling, here’s a secret to all you kids out there, spelling is irrelevant to your adult life. How often when you’re having a conversation with someone do they say: “Sorry, how do you spell that word?” Never. Teachers all around the globe can call for my head for saying this, but spelling is exceptionally immaterial to everyday life.
Teachers will tell you that you have to work harder, push yourself more, otherwise you won't succeed. Flash forward to the end of your education, and you’ll find no one can spell properly. No one can use punctuation and grammar entirely correct. And most importantly, no one cares.
5. Dyslexia is one of the MOST COMMON Learning Disabilities. The number of famous people with dyslexia is staggering, the number of people who have changed the world irrevocably who suffered from dyslexia is astronomical. (Albert Einstein, WB Yeats, Agatha bloody Christie, to name but a few) It is the most common form of learning disability. You may be different to everyone in your class, but out there in the world, it’s the really awesome people that you have the most in common with. Screw the plebs, screws the norms, you’re weird, different and special, don’t forget that. Embrace it, use it, every time you succeed think about what an achievement it really is.
6. You have a Super Power. For all you dyslexic kids out there worried about your future, don’t be. You have a superpower. Your problem solving, spatial reasoning, hell your understanding of the world is more than likely superior to your peers, and they think you’re disabled. But in fact, you’re Daredevil, he lost his sight when he was a boy and so his hearing took on superhuman prowess. Dyslexia is the same, despite all your problems, you can use the skills you do have to a much higher degree.
This is the most important thing to remember:
7. Have Confidence. Not just kids, but parents, teachers, and anyone reading this, you have to understand this, you must give someone confidence in their work for them to succeed in any way. You must help them believe that because of this disability they can achieve so much more.
Everyone is good at some things and bad at others. And because you may be catastrophically bad at one thing, probably means you’re unbelievably good at another. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and a good employer/leader/teacher can identify that and help people work to their individual strengths. In the adult world, dyslexics are just like everyone else. Maybe even better, its all depends on YOUR point of view. It's your head, your “problem” and your life. So don't be afraid, and believe in yourself. Trust me.
I've suffered from Dyslexia my entire life, and even today I find myself re-editing previous posts removing some stupid grammar or spelling error. But I haven't let it stop me, and I sure as hell am not ever going to.
As I said a the start if you do think you or your child may be dyslexic don't hesitate to find a child psychologist. The earlier dyslexia is identified, the better. Just ask your GP or school guidance counsellor if you are unsure.
Also, if you have any questions or problems come up from reading this article don’t hesitate to contact me here and I will do my best to advise you.