October is dyslexia awareness month. Dyslexia is a learning disability, which affects a person’s reading, writing, language and sequencing/ordering skills. No two dyslexics are alike and the symptoms vary in each individual. There are thousands of studies suggesting dyslexia is a “gift” with many advantages. Well, let me tell you something. This “gift” certainly has some sucky disadvantages. Here are fourteen of them:
- Everyday you get annoyed frustrated and/or embarrassed. You know you are smart (in fact most dyslexics have average or above average IQ’s), yet you feel like your dyslexic “quirks” make you look stupid.
- You sometimes confuse lower case b’s and d’s as well as p’s and q’s.
- Once in a while you’ll write a letter or a number backwards. Yep… only once in a while…
- Your reading comprehension sucks. You have to re-read everything a few times before it actually sinks in.
- Sounding out words never has and never will work for you.
- You’ve never played scrabble in your life. That’s just asking for an anxiety attack.
- You hate giving directions. You may have an excellent sense of direction but you often confuse your lefts from your rights.
- When you tell people you have dyslexia, you get asked some really stupid questions. My favorite has to be “Oh! Does that mean you can’t read?” or “So, you read everything backwards?” Even though you want to say “No you ignorant asshole! I am literate. I can read and write just as well as you. Hell! Probably better than you!” you have to take a deep breath and calmly explain what dyslexia is.
- You have nightmares about teachers or bosses asking you to read out loud in front of your peers.
- Your handwriting is super messy. Borderline illegible. A terrible habit formed at an early age as a way to mask embarrassing spelling mistakes.
- Everyday you thank the gods of technology for the invention of spell check. It comforts you like a security blanket. Making you feel safe from literary trips, stumbles, and face plants. Spell check is a dyslexic’s best friend. Until you get the dreaded “No Guesses Found” message. Then you have a fit of anger and call it the most terrible names you can come up with. (Don’t worry spell check, sometimes I get mad but I will always love you)
- As a child, you went to great extremes to convince your parents you were too sick to go to school on the day of a spelling bee.
- Sometimes you need to use your fingers to solve even the simplest of math problems. Doing math in your head is near impossible. You only use debit/credit cards to pay for things. Using your fingers to count cash at a store register is just too mortifying to imagine. The cards only thing works well, until you are at a restaurant or bar. You’ve become a master at dodging the responsibility of dividing up the check. But there is no escaping calculating the tip percentage. You try to discreetly sneak a peak at someone else’s receipt. Then copy what they have written down and hope for the best.
- You sometimes sound like Yoda and unintentionally arrange words in an object-subject-verb order. Awkward I am.
Dyslexics, supposedly, are more creative, curious, imaginative, intuitive, and are big picture thinkers. I like to think of myself as creative and intuitive. Perhaps there is a connection? Perhaps not. I really couldn’t tell you if any of those characteristics are a result of dyslexia, personality, genetics or something else entirely. Sometimes I wonder what I would do if the wizards of science and medicine came up with a way to “fix” it. Then I figure that won’t be happening during my lifetime. So, I guess I’ll just stay calm and dyslexia on?