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Being Dyslexic is the Coolest

Well not really… It’s actually kind of annoying.

I’ve been dyslexic all of my life (obviously), but didn’t know it until several years ago. It was never severe enough for it to be blatently obvious. Plus when you’re a kid who doesn’t know any better, you don’t realise that what you’re going through isn’t normal, and you don’t know to tug on your mother’s skirt and say “HEY LADY, TAKE ME TO A SHRINK FOR SOME TESTING, I THINK I’VE GOT A FEW LEARNING DISABILITIES HERE!” I think kids just assume they stink at school.

So for the first 19 or so years of my life my brain just learned to compensate for the dyslexia on its own for the most part without me even realising it. Usually if I write/type a mistake due to dyslexia I automatically fix it immediately, or sometimes even catch myself quickly enough to correct it in my head just before I write it.  By now it’s my brain’s unconscious, involuntary reaction.

I’m guilty of a lot of Spoonerisms, though most of my issues are with numbers rather than letters. It’s strange looking at a number, for instance 1:15, and seeing 1:15 but saying in my head 1:51. I’ll see it correctly. But register it wrong. But since I know I so often register it wrong, I know to go by what I’ve seen and not what I think. Does that make any sense at all?? Probably not… but it’s really hard to put into words for people what it is exactly that really happens… I also often have to consciously think when trying to distinguish between directions (as in Left and Right, not geographical directions like North and South, etc.) which I chalk up to the dyslexia… And I’m pretty rubbish at talking. Especially when I get excited or upset. I’m just really clumsy at getting the words out properly. You have no idea how frustrating that can be. That’s one of the reasons I love to write so much. So much easier than talking; I’m actually able to take my time and express what it is I’m trying to explain or describe instead of just getting frustrated and giving up or not even trying to begin with. I have have a whole slew of various other manifestations of the disability, like issues with physical orientation and clumsiness and memory, etc. but I think you get the idea.

I have a few other issues with my noggin as well, like A.D.D. and various other learning disabilities, most of which have to do with math. I didn’t know about any of those until I was 19 either. I finally figured out why my entire school career was such a miserable, frustrating, hair-pulling, tear-inducing experience for me and my parents. I didn’t go undiagnosed and untreated for so many years because my parents are horrible, unattentive, or inept at raising children. My parents are pretty incredible, actually. But they were baffled by me as a child. This was back in the 80’s and early 90’s when learning disabilities and A.D.D. weren’t household concepts, so they were pretty clueless about the whole thing. I tested extremely well but daily school was abysmal… they had no idea what to do with me.

I realise this is kind of a downer subject, and not a particularly exciting story, but I wanted to write about it in the hopes that maybe some frazzled parent who’s just learned their child has a learning disability, or is just having trouble in school, might stumble across my little post, and perhaps gain a little insight from it. I’m always more than willing to talk to people about it [and my life as an adoptee, for the record–in case anyone ever wants to know anything about adoption] and give them any information that may help. So please; feel free to contact me if you would like to know more, as I’ve kind of given you the tip o’ the iceberg version here…

It is my firm belief that because I am, in fact, adopted and neither of my adoptive parents have any of these issues…. they were pretty much blindsided by this. I know my birth mother has A.D.D., and who knows what else, and I believe these types of things are very much genetic. When I have kids, I’m extremely grateful for the fact that I pretty much know to anticipate this. I’m going to watch them like a hawk for any and every sign of learning disabilities and take the necessary actions with them in school as soon as possible.

You can’t begin to imagine how frustrated my parents were with me on a nightly basis when it was homework time (or, if you’re one of those frazzled parents, you probably CAN). I don’t think I know of any other household that has shed as many tears as mine over learning the times tables, and if your third grader sits down to start their homework immediately after they get home from school and still isn’t done by the time bedtime rolls around… well I don’t think I need to tell you you’ve got a little problem on your hands… School was just a nightmare, and if my parents and I had known then what we know now about my issues, things would have been very very different. Even just knowing what you’re dealing with helps you in your approach to the situation…

(Nothing wrong with a little comic relief to lighten up the mood after such a serious post, eh? Ralph agrees…)


One Response to “Being Dyslexic is the Coolest”

  1. I like the way you write. i’m dyslexic too and have Dyscalculia (the number thing) going on aswell. i really do sympathise with the whole homework experience!

    keep on blogging

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