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Coming to Grips with Dyslexia

Updated on February 3, 2013

When I went to school in the sixties, not an awful lot was known about dyslexia. I think in those days, if you wrote things down wrong you were just bad at spelling or if you were luckier they would say that you had something wrong with your vision! They moved me to the front of the class after sending me for an eye test and it being declared that I had nothing the matter with my eyes! My mother said that every time she spelt something out to me, I use to write the letters down in the wrong order. Because, was always a very hard work for me to spell - because, to me the word resembled nothing in particular. For years I thought that everyone saw words in pictures. If you visualise a word it was a pictures so how did you visualise "because" or any of those in between words. I later discovered that this was not the case and that thinking in pictures was a little unique!

When my younger sister went to school, she was two years younger than me but seemed to be getting on really a whole lot faster! Mind you she does have a Masters Degree now. I was put into a class with children who had "special needs" and I was told it was because my reading was slow.

Because I was (I rather like that word now!) so slow at reading and writing and also I was unable to catch or hit a ball they gave me extra English lessons. I was also very allergic to grass as this brought on bronchitis attack (asthma attack nowadays and I had to take my inhaler). I remember many very gloomy hours trying to catch up with my English and seeing big red crosses all over my work. I would cry with frustration and annoyance at why my teacher was so mean to me and seemed to pick on me all the time. When I was 13 they put me in for the 13+

I passed but I was told that I still couldn't go to grammar school because there were only enough places for 3 so they took the 3 with the highest marks. To my utter amazement, I was told that I had a talent for writing poetry.

What is interesting is that the poetry was always inside my head but it felt "locked in" as if I couldn't get it out.

When I was about 10, going back a bit here, I entered a poetry competition with my sisters in the local library that was in Cheltenham at the time. Everyone suggested to me what I should write. I was angry and frustrated because I knew what I wanted to put but still could not get it out. Everyone said that the poem called "Autumn" was really good and it was published in a floppy book but I hated it as it was not really me.

In 1991 I started channelling poetry and became "unlocked" something inside me changed and since then I have been able to get the inside, outside onto paper. I believe that writing is one of the most useful forms of therapy that exists as it enables you to get your emotions out on paper. When I was 17 I trained to be a legal secretary and so I spent hours and hours looking up how to spell words in the dictionary. I think to a certain degree the dyslexia has been trained out of me although I still have trouble with numbers.

Recently my son who is at University, also discovered that he was partially dyslexic. I don't know why this was never picked up before. It is not that severe which is the same as it was for me, but unfortunately he has always been a poor speller. However, now there is a lot of help and there is a Society called the Dyslexia Society which you can join and a website where you can do an online test.

I feel that part of the reason why I struggled was through lack of confidence and lack of understanding. I was also probably dyspraxic but it was never picked up.

I noticed that there are many books written now which look upon dyslexia in an entirely different light and some even say that it is a gift.  I do know from my reading about dyslexia so far that we are capable of thinking laterally or more 3d! We are also good with faces, names often fail me but a fact when it has registered in my brain, that is it.  Perhaps more emotionally intelligent.

Once I was in Regents Park in London and I recognised a girl from my class at school which was bizarre as I hardly knew her but once again I clocked it. I often see people in shops who I have never met before and then see them again 20 minutes later and recognise them. Visual seems to be a strong point.

I am sure that creativity helps unblock or "unlocks" that part of us which is so desperate to express itself. Some people call this the inner child and she/he needs to be heard. Always remember the process is far more important than the end result - who knows it could be the next Mona Lisa!

In the meantime I believe that most things can be learned through repetition so lets just keep plugging away at it!


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    • Jennifer Lynch profile image

      Jennifer Lynch 4 years ago from Stowmarket, Suffolk.

      Thank you so much.

    • khmazz profile image

      Kristen Mazzola 4 years ago from South Florida

      This touched my heart! I too am a writer that is dyslexic. I enjoyed your writing and loved the message! Fantastic!

    • RedElf profile image

      RedElf 7 years ago from Canada

      Thanks so much for sharing this first-hand and very personal account. I, too, have a friend who is dyslexic, and had to overcome many roadblocks in her career - including people telling her she couldn't do things because of the dyslexia. Keep doing what you are doing!

    • katiem2 profile image

      katiem2 7 years ago from I'm outta here

      Very helpful insights on coming to grips with dyslexia. I have a friend who has dyslexia and has managed to become a teacher herself. Never stop writing and expressing the beauty in your head. Thanks and Peace :)