5 Myths on Dyslexia: Thoughts from a Dyslexic Author

June 22, 2016

 

I really hate people's preconceived ideas on Dyslexia. So, here are a few myths about Dyslexia that I have come across as both an Author and as an English teacher.

 

Myth #1 Dyslexia is a learning disability

It isn't. Really it isn't. Doctors might class it as such but they are narrowed minded jerks (doctors might agree with me as there has been a lot of changes when it comes to the classification of Dyslexia). There have been some very clever people who have had Dyslexia. Like Leonardo Di Vinci. He was well ahead of other scientists of his age and here is a little secret. Mona Lisa isn't famous for her smile. Actually, the painting is famous because of the first use of accurate depiction of landscape in the background. Before that people used to put samples of plants to represent landscape. Those who think the smile is the important part don't get the painting and you should stop listening to them. There were many people in that age who were painted with interesting smiles. But Leo did mirror writing which was probably possible because of his Dyslexia. Dyslexia means you see the world of writing different to others. That doesn't mean it is a learning disability it is Learning Different.

Myth #2 Dyslexic people can't read

Some struggle with reading and the words get a bit difficult so they just make up stuff.  It isn't actually anything to do with our eyes. No need for purple glasses or coloured pages. But that is only one type of Dyslexia, there are actually several. I have most of the symptoms but I don't have the reading one. Words are fine on the page for me but dyslexia has effected other things that proved that I had this interesting thought pattern which people call Dyslexia. I read on average 300 books a year. I read 1 or 2 books a day usually. Recently I have been a bit slow and I've only read 100 books so far this year and it is June. I'm usually well into the 200's by now and that is because I'm writing novels. But reading isn't an issue and yet I am still Dyslexic.

Myth #3 Dyslexic people are dumb/stupid and a host of other stupid derogatory words

I'm not and I've mentioned Leo and he wasn't. I've consistently been in the top ten students of my classes all through primary and high school. I have a degree and post grad papers under my belt. I have taught myself how to do many things from writing, photoshop to publishing. I have a higher than average IQ to the general populous so not dumb. I have come across people who have used Dyslexia as a crutch though and they seem dumb to me. Mostly your intelligence is not really connected to Dyslexia. I think it makes things more interesting but it wasn't what determined my intelligence. My parents are intelligent but my father is Dyslexic so I think I inherited it from him but Dyslexia is more prevalent than many people realise because mostly they only test students who have low intelligence for dyslexia. I have met many students who I have spoken to and realised they were dyslexic and have never been tested because they are smart cookies. I only discovered I had dyslexia when I was in University. My mother always knew but she thought labels are detrimental so never bothered with all the nonsense that usually went with Dyslexia. We are talking over two decades ago and they had some really strange ideas then on how to treat Dyslexia. 

Myth #4 Dyslexic people can't write

Well, that one is self evident as false. At the time I am writing this I have 6 published books and I'm half way through writing a 7th. I started writing when I was young because I ran out of books to read. I started writing in the age of computers so I taught myself to type straight onto a computer as it took so much longer to write by hand than type up later. Normally when I type from something someone else has written I'll be lucky to get 40 words per min but when I'm writing a story or something like that 70 words or more is pretty normal. This is mostly worked out by how long it takes me to reach a thousand words and then divided by the time taken. So there are a lot of sitting and thinking in there as well so I probably type faster. I find when I slow down to write by hand my mind has moved on from spelling a word and miss-spells it. Other words don't seem logical in their spelling. Considering that most of the English language is strongly influenced by French spelling on a language which is based on Germanic languages no wonder it doesn't make a lot of sense. I also think the way they teach spelling is a little barbaric and I even throw myself into that category even though I know better. Rote learning of words is not a good thing for Dyslexic people. They need to know the context. I also drop words, mix up words and add words which I then have to go back and fix. I do this enough that I have had several people wonder if English is a second language for me. (grumpy face) I hate it when people assume this as not only a writer but I have a degree in English on top of that.

Myth #5 Dyslexia is only about reading and writing

There are things I find difficult because I'm Dyslexic. Like I struggle to read an analog clock. It takes a while to figure it out so mostly I don't bother. I can't remember my times table. I can never remember greater than and less than. I forget left and right all the time and mostly just call it there or up or down. Patterns for me are different so for instance had is ahd because the tall letters should be together, head is ehad as it should be short tall pattern of letters. So, I can give logic to the way I miss-spell words if I think about it but most of that thinking is purely subconscious. But this interesting way to order things does mean recognizing patterns for me is different. Grammar is another thing. Grammar makes very little sense to me. But if it was taught to me in a logical way I can remember it. Like I always thought it was silly that my classmates keep forgetting what nouns, verbs, adverbs and adjectives are. I'm very much like a pilot who is going through a list of pre-checks when I'm checking my grammar. If I miss one I don't actually realise it unless I'm super vigilant like a pilot, so mostly it is by rote. Because you see grammar doesn't make sense to me or 'look right' to me. I learnt more about grammar when I learnt other languages. I have a smattering of about four or five under my belt. Most teachers teach grammar along the lines of 'if it looks right.' yeah but what is right in the first place.

 

 

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