I haven’t yet had myself formally assessed, but it seems highly likely that I’m Dyslexic and have only come to realise this very recently as I approach my mid-fifties.
It’s taken a surprisingly long time for the penny to drop 😉, given that our daughter was diagnosed as having Dyslexia almost two years ago and it is something that is generally inherited rather than acquired. In my relief at having a definite diagnosis for our daughter and the report we could present to her school I didn’t stop to think about the how and the why.
The realisation only fully hit after I’d joined a writing group and I noticed in our discussions that I’d simply not read as widely as most of the others in the group. My suspicions were also aroused by the feedback I was getting about my written work. It’s the first time that I’ve had my writing looked at and analysed in this way.
Though even with this recent realisation I would still rather boil my ar**e than join a book club and no before anyone writes in I don’t think you need to be Dyslexic to feel like this.
So as an interim measure I paid a visit to the British Dyslexia Association website and took a few online assessments, the results of which seem to indicate that I may well be Dyslexic. I won’t know for certain until I have myself fully assessed by a trained specialist. To access their site, please click here.
But now as I look back I think I can see some of the ways it has impacted on my life over the years:
- I know I had trouble with reading at junior school and was pulled out of all my other classes, so I could be taught individually by Miss Shaw. I don’t remember how long it took, but this approach worked for me. I learnt to read and moved on.
- I never fully learnt my times table at junior school, despite being made to stand up and recite them with the rest of the class. I could learn the rhythm and move my lips along in time with everyone else, so unless the teacher came up really close she would never have known.
- Without a pen and paper in my hand, I can struggle with spelling and as for mental arithmetic, forget it.
- I kind of know my alphabet.
- Over the years I developed techniques for building in the extra time and space I needed to prepare and process information. Really needed to do this in the final year of my engineering degree, when it seemed we were being hit by a tsunami of assignments. I needed time on my own to make sense of them.
- It may well have affected my performance on graduate assessment/screening programmes, at the start of my working life. I generally did well at interview but could never quite get through the written tests, which were often timed.
- It took me seven attempts to pass my driving test, each time getting a little better, but I needed that extra time. Read all about it here.
- I love writing, but I’m not a writer who can produce long flowing prose that fits seamlessly together. I write in chunks, in fact I write the scenes I can see in my head.
- My creativity, crazy ideas and perspectives I’m sure originate from my Dyslexia as does my quirky way of putting things together. I may not always spot or notice what’s obvious to everyone else but pick up on the ridiculous and the oddly out of place.
- I am easily distracted and put off by long complex, over descriptive prose. I tend to read over a piece of text more than once to get to the meaning. Sometimes the words just don’t make sense. Might well be why I often re-read books, once only doesn’t tend to work for me.
- Today I can honestly say that reading is still not my favourite pastime, I find it tiring and a bit of a strain. Particularly when I’m having to read and make sense of things in a hurry. Large chunks of densely packed text are a real turn off and I can find myself skipping over it if it’s not grabbing my attention. In short, reading is and always will be quite hard work, though luckily for me I love learning, and this is the payoff for me.
- Can never compose an email in one take, though this is probably a blessing.
- If I don’t make the effort to concentrate I can find myself ‘zoning out’ in busy and noisy environments. This can be problematic especially when linked with my ability to daydream at the drop of a hat, you can read about my Walter Mitty tendencies here.
- Do still on occasion stumble over my words when speaking and when having to read aloud.
My Dyslexia has most likely been in the background all my life, quietly driving me on. I successfully studied for three degrees because I needed to prove to myself that I wasn’t stupid. Each time I embarked on any form of major study I followed the same pattern, started out ‘sh*t and got better’.
Almost as though my brain needed a bit of time to warm up.
Though what I’m learning as I start to come to terms with my Dyslexia is that it’s not so much about the outcome, it’s more about the mental processes and effort it requires to achieve the outcome you want.
So, there you have it, until next time.
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