I was writing some letters to find review sites for Calderwood Books. I have to run them through the spell checker because I’m a terrible speller. When I concentrate, I can usually spell most words right. Some I can never get right, so I avoid them. Mideival is one. I write it at least three ways before giving up and putting in Middle Ages. I have LOTS of words on my ‘can never spell’ list. And yet, I look the word up. I will spell it right by accident, then delete it because it doesn’t look right. But I can’t remember it.
I also can’t tell my left from my right. I’m clumsy, bang into things a lot, and although I speak French, I’ll never learn to write it. I’m dyslexic. It runs in the family. My mother can’t tell her left from her right, and my daughter is so dylexic she didn’t learn to read until she was 7, and she had to go to an orthophonist to learn to ‘see’ the difference between a d and a b. It was slow going. At first, she was at the bottom of her class. The school had a special teacher come in twice a week to work with her for almost two years, and her teachers only gave her half the amount of homework the other kids got. And yet, no one ever scolded her or told her she was ‘slow’. We explained to her what dyslexia was, and told her she had to learn to live with it. She did, and now she’s third in her class and has excellent grades. She’s doing so well, we’re thinking of putting her in a more challenging school. She wants to be a veterinarian. We’re very proud of her. She worked hard and it paid off. She never got discouraged, and her teachers were all great and encouraged her to do her best.
My dyslexia never kept me from reading, although it does hamper my spelling, and if I meet a new word it takes me a while to get used to it. The best thing to happen to me as a kid was to be crazy about dinosaurs. Sounding out and then memorizing their long names helped tame my fear of multi-syllable words. I was never very good at sports – for some reason I can never catch a ball. I’m not great in math. I turn left when someone says ‘go right!’ and it took me years to catch the notion of ‘early’ VS ‘late’. Time really does have no meaning for me. My most important helpers are my watch, my calendar, and my weekly planner. I use color-coded stickers, and yet I’m always forgetting what day it is, and when my friends invite me for lunch, they know they have to call me in the morning to make sure I don’t forget. I didn’t forget, I just don’t know what day it is!
Weekends are the only times I feel like I can relax. There’s no school, no schedule, no lessons, no lunches. And yet, I love having a full schedule. The more I do, the more energy I have. But sometimes I wish I could be organized. I wish I could put everything in neat piles, fold clothes (I can’t fold clothes) and just organize my house. I know where everything is, but it looks like a rat’s nest. But I am incapable of organizing my space. Dyslexia, for me, means having no concept of left-right, up-down, straight or crooked. I have three calendars on my desk, a yearly, a weekly, and a monthly. And I still get things wrong. Last week I arrived at the dentist a day early. (At least it wasn’t a day late!)
Anyway, For those without dyslexia, it must be frustrating to deal with us sometimes. My husband mostly laughs it off, but he can’t understand how I can get lost going somewhere I’ve been at least thirty times before. My sons can’t understand how I can always be late picking them up from school. We don’t do it on purpose. I look at my watch and see ‘quarter to’ instead of ‘quarter past’.
Which reminds me – time to go to the pony club picnic! I’m riding today and my daughter is already mortified, just sure I’ll fall off and humiliate her. I will be sure to get pictures if I do!