BLOGTOBER #2: DYSLEXIA AWARENESS WEEK

HeyHiHello gang! I’m honouring today’s blog post with a special dedication to dyslexia awareness week.

Dyslexia /dɪsˈlɛksɪə/noun

A general term for disorders that involve difficulty in learning to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols, but that do not affect general intelligence.

This is an important one for me because I know several people with dyslexia, two being my dad and brother so I’ve seen firsthand the sort of difficulties that go alongside it. I’ll be the first to admit that I was once ignorant to dyslexia and the difficulties the disorder can cause. When I first became aware my brother is dyslexic I was around fifteen. As someone whose particular strength is the English language, it was hard for me to fathom someone having such an involuntary hard time with it because it comes so easily to me – especially since my brother and dad are both so smart in general. I always just assumed people who were dyslexic just weren’t trying hard enough or just didn’t care to really learn. Of course, more often than not, with age comes maturity and intelligence and I realised my ignorance.

It’s imperative to have awareness days/weeks/months like this in order to highlight certain subjects which may go unnoticed in typical day to day life. If we didn’t have such events, I can honestly say there would be a lot of things I wouldn’t know about or at least marginally understand. In fact, there still are. ‘Ignorance is bliss’ they say, but I couldn’t disagree more. Shedding light on a disorder such as dyslexia is inexplicably essential and helpful to those who have it. Self doubt, confusion and even bullying are a few among many of the struggles someone who is dyslexic may face.

But what is dyslexia? What are the symptoms? Symptoms are similar throughout but varying dependant on age. Symptoms include:

Before school

Signs that a young child may be at risk of dyslexia include:

  • Late talking
  • Learning new words slowly
  • Problems forming words correctly, such as reversing sounds in words or confusing words that sound alike
  • Problems remembering or naming letters, numbers and colors
  • Difficulty learning nursery rhymes or playing rhyming games

School age

Once your child is in school, dyslexia signs and symptoms may become more apparent, including:

  • Reading well below the expected level for age
  • Problems processing and understanding what he or she hears
  • Difficulty finding the right word or forming answers to questions
  • Problems remembering the sequence of things
  • Difficulty seeing (and occasionally hearing) similarities and differences in letters and words
  • Inability to sound out the pronunciation of an unfamiliar word
  • Difficulty spelling
  • Spending an unusually long time completing tasks that involve reading or writing
  • Avoiding activities that involve reading

Teens and adults

Dyslexia signs in teens and adults are similar to those in children. Some common dyslexia signs and symptoms in teens and adults include:

  • Difficulty reading, including reading aloud
  • Slow and labor-intensive reading and writing
  • Problems spelling
  • Avoiding activities that involve reading
  • Mispronouncing names or words, or problems retrieving words
  • Trouble understanding jokes or expressions that have a meaning not easily understood from the specific words (idioms), such as “piece of cake” meaning “easy”
  • Spending an unusually long time completing tasks that involve reading or writing
  • Difficulty summarizing a story
  • Trouble learning a foreign language
  • Difficulty memorizing
  • Difficulty doing math problems

Of course you should never self diagnose yourself with anything (Googling can be your best pal but also mortal enemy) so do visit your GP or ask your school tutors to advise you if you feel you may have dyslexia. I’m not exactly sure on the diagnosis process but they will likely assess you on your reading and writing abilities and go from there.

But what does it really mean to be dyslexic?

Well, here’s what I’ve learned about people who have dyslexia: In my experience, people who are dyslexic are insanely smart. A huge, ludicrous misconception is that people with dyslexia are stupid. Sure, they may have trouble with the arrangements of letters in words, sentences and phrases but they’re always, always talented in other areas! Whether that’s maths, art, technology… you name it. You should also know to never underestimate someone with dyslexia; just because they struggle with language on paper, in no way, shape or form does that mean they can’t comprehend it verbally. There has been countless times where my dad has used a word that even I, someone who prides herself on knowledge of the English language, didn’t know the meaning of. There’s much to learn from someone who has dyslexia, believe me.

With all of that being said, does this mean dyslexia is the be all and end all of written communication? Absolutely not. As we all know, living in the age of the internet is both a blessing and a curse – whilst you could argue autocorrect is making us lazy, it’s also undoubtedly helpful to those with dyslexia. What with spell-check, autocorrect, speech to text and the like, advances in technology are immensely useful. Another factor is the age old saying that ‘practice makes perfect’. Whilst I can only imagine how infuriating it must be to be told this in a way that disregards dyslexia as a real disorder (which I know is a common experience people with dyslexia endure), the phrase is definitely relevant to a certain extent. For example, there once were times where both my dad and brother needed a heavy helping hand when writing emails and such. These days, they mostly only ask me to proof read and spell check. Which, I’m proud to say; I mostly only have to correct minor spelling or grammatical mistakes! Besides, let’s be real, grammar can be a head-scratcher to most of us at the best of times.

Aside from working at it in your own time in a ‘self help’ kinda way, you should obviously seek professional help should you feel the need to and never go it alone. There are countless sources online providing local dyslexia associations where you can attend workshops and get the support you need. Technological aids are also available such as computer packages, digital recorders and other assistive technologies.  If you’re in school there should be options open to you from the get go if you make it known you’re struggling… remember, they’re there to help you learn!

Whilst there’s no ‘cure’ for dyslexia so to speak, there are ways around it and steps to take to make things at least just a little easier. Never be afraid to ask for help or guidance!

I’ve provided below some useful links that you may find helpful either for yourself or someone you know who may need some assistance. Hope this helps!

International Dyslexia Association

British Dyslexia Association

NHS – Dyslexia

~ Emma, xo

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Writing: posts about my life (that may or may not be TMI at times, soz) | current affairs | reviews on film/tv, products and books | any random subject that comes to mind | I also dabble a little in poetry

2 thoughts on “BLOGTOBER #2: DYSLEXIA AWARENESS WEEK

  1. Thank you for the follow. I was drawn to this post because my wife did very poorly at school despite being clearly very intelligent. Her friends and I knew there was something going on because we noticed she could not pronounce unfamiliar words until she hears someone else say them and she struggles to write and does so very slowly. By chance she was given the chance to study for a degree when she was 44 and recounted the problems at her interview. The college arranged for dyslexia testing and she was diagnosed as dyslexic. Suddenly her frustrating problems had a real cause and she no longer felt ‘stupid’. She went on (with college support with note taking etc) to gain a first class degree and then a post-grad certificate in management (also with distinction). She cannot be the only undiagnosed adult dyslexic out there who had been prevented from reaching their potential.

    Thank you for posting this (very accurate) analysis.

    Darren.

    1. That’s an amazing story and is even further proof that dyslexia shouldn’t stop anyone from pursuing their passions! So glad she got what she wanted from her classes 🙂 Thank you for reading and sharing your story!

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