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Living with the condition of Dyslexia

Updated on January 31, 2010

The internet doesn't know

Over the past year I have been playing an online role-playing team game called Tribal Wars and have had a particular player come and go from the game. His name is Ollie and I found out that he is dyslexic. He is very good at the game and has an enthusiasm for life that all young people should have. He admitted to me that he was dyslexic and works hard to overcome the condition. I prefer this term to that of a disability since Ollie has proved that he is not disabled compared to other players.

He just happens to have the condition called Dyslexia. If you are not familiar with this condition, check out the following link from WebMd.

You see the internet doesn't give you any hint that the dyslexic may have difficulty reading or writing anything because the chat window is full of typos made by all players. Ollie's chat conversations are less cluttered and more readable than most. You see the internet doesn't know (or care) if someone happens to be dyslexic. It accepts everyone who can sign on.

I also found another interesting item in the game of Tribal Wars. You have the ability to post a profile for your game player and one posted this.

Cna yuo raed tihs?
Olny 55% of plepoe can.

I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty
uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The
phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan
mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at
Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't
mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a
wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is
taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the
rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl
mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit
a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn
mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by
istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.
Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas
tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

It reads as

Can you read this?
Only 55% of people can.

I couldn't believe that I could actually
understand what I was reading. The
phenomenal power of the human
mind, according to a researcher at
Cambridge University, it doesn't
matter in what order the letters in a
word are, the only important thing is
that the first and last letter be in the
right place. The rest can be a total
mess and you can still read it without
a problem. This is because the human
mind does not read every letter by
itself, but the word as a whole.
Amazing huh? yeah and I always
thought spelling was important!

In fact, we read word shapes so that is why it is harder to read type in all caps, which is a good lesson for those that like to use all caps or alternating upper and lowercase in their correspondence. It is much harder to read.

Ollie agrees with the word-shape theory. Here is his response to the profile post above.

Yea I have heard about this and read something similar before. I wish I could be of more help to you writing but I don't know how someone with a "normal" reading ability (Not Dyslexic) would see this. I could read the whole thing, despite struggling with "phaonmneal" and "taotl" but I got there and there is a possibilty that I wouldn't get those words straight away had they been written normally.
I agree with you about reading shapes of words and thats how I learnt to read fast when i was younger, the process was that I would read a paragraph, then replace one word in the paragraph with a black outline of that word (the shape of the word) and then read it again and keep doing so until I could cover all the words. Was a case of memorising the shapes of the word. It was my own idea and so untested really, but I think it worked and my reading age is slightly about my actual age, something I feel my little routine is partly responsible for.
Hope this is interesting enough for you to use :)

Truth is Ollie, your comments may be the most important part of this hub.(One thing I refuse to do is edit Ollie's writings. We all make typos in our chat correspondence but these also help one get a feel for how he sees the world).

I can only hope that we all have a little better understanding of what dyslexia is and can appreciate that it isn't really a disability as Ollie has proved. He came up with a rather ingenious way to work at improving his reading skills. If only we all worked as hard as he does on anything of importance.

The first goal is to accept the fact that your have a condition and that you will need to work at it to improve performance. Can you think of any condition that you may have that could improve with this advice? I can think of several thousand of my own.


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