Have you ever had a moment in your life a total and utter shame and humiliation, and it was not even anything you did wrong, but rather your very brain let you down? The moment when you wished the earth would swallow you?
Two moment at school stick out for me. One that happened to me and one that happened to my mom. But both have had far reaching effects on my life.
1) When I was in high school we did an unprepared spelling test and then had to read our mark/grade out in front of the whole class. I got 1 out of 20. The sheer humiliation at having to say that out loud and have people snigger and laugh is something I doubt I will ever forget. The clear message to Teenage me was “you are stupid!”
2) Years after school my mom told me about a meeting with my Std 1 teacher ( Year 3, Grade 3, 3rd year of formal school, I was 7 turning 8) She told my mom never to expect much from me, that I was not very bright and would not be able to do much. This was an older teacher with years of experience. I am forever grateful that more is known about dyslexic now and also that my mom, a teacher herself saw my potential and told this teacher that she respectfully disagreed and that if she would not help me learn, then my mom would and she did.
I am dyslexic, this was not something I had a name for until I was an adult. It took a while to realise that it was just my brain processing things differently and had no impact on my intelligence.
Dyslexic affects different people in different ways, it is also on a continuum which means some people can be mildly affected and other much more severely. For me, learning to read was challenging, while I can now read fast and enjoy reading for pleasure, I still struggle to read aloud. Processing written language and speaking at the same time is not something that I find easy at all. But spelling is by far my nemesis.
I really can’t spell. It is not from a lack of trying or reading or anything else. My brain just struggles to find and recall the word from my memory. Often I will know the word is wrong but I will not know how to fix it.
I don’t think dyslexia was something that was recognised or given much credit when I was at school. My mom said that no one mentioned it or seemed to know a lot about it.
As I said these things shaped my life, I knew I was different, but my mom never stop being a champion for me. She did not have a label for what was wrong, but deep down she knew that my intelligence and my ability to spell where separate. She never ever let me doubt for a minute, that while I might have to work harder than most, that I could do anything I wanted, and for that I am so grateful.
As many as 1 in 5 people are on the dyslexic spectrum and often are missed and get lost in the system. I have started this series of posts on dyslexia on my blog to raise awareness and to give hope to parents with kids that might be struggling and to document my journey with my children all of whom are affected. Some to a lesser and some to a great degree. I hope to share what I have learnt, and review things we have tried.