Dyslexia and Me: I is for I, Myself and Me

I am now vainly writing about myself for #blogging4charity. Well, to be fair, the whole blog is based on my experiences with dyslexia, so perhaps the entire blog is vanity! Who knows why I assumed people would be interested in reading about my life!

I started this blog earlier this year in hope to raise awareness of both dyslexia and scotopic sensitivity syndrome. It has been a very interesting journey so far and I have learnt a lot! There were many topics I decided to approach wondering if it really was something linked to dyslexia, or if it was just me! My blog on ‘Socialising‘ instantly springs to mind. I’ve also enjoyed sharing my moments of absolute joy, such as getting a first for my dissertation and graduating from university as well as the struggles I’ve had over the years. It’s almost like therapy! 

Being able to be as open as I have has led to a lot of very positive feedback. All of which I have been truly humbled by! I’ve really enjoyed talking to other people with similar experiences to my own. I guess it is far easier to understand what dyslexia is and what it means through reading or hearing the experiences of people who have first hand experience. I’ve read a lot of very dry and boring articles on dyslexia that I read half of and completely switched off. I hope my blog doesn’t bore people to that extent!

Father Ted lost in the biggest lingerie department in Ireland. Source: http://www.bioteams.com/

Father Ted lost in the biggest lingerie department in Ireland. Source: http://www.bioteams.com/

Talking of boring people with my blog… Here’s a funny story from yesterday. My short-term memory is terrible. I just got up to turn the heating off after forgetting I had literally done it 10 minutes ago. Back on topic… Yesterday I was getting dressed to head out to the shops. My room, a mess as always but more so after our moving in, has items of clothing on the floor. As I went to put on my bra, I realised I had already put one on 2 minutes earlier and wondered why (while looking across the room) it didn’t feel right! I didn’t realise there had been two bras sat on the floor next to each other or had any recollection of putting the first one on. FML!

Where was I? Raising awareness! Yes, so I thought it would be a great idea to share my experiences as I had managed to come full circle, from hating an education system that was letting me down, to working and then back into education at a later stage in life and LOVING IT! I thought, ‘there might just be someone out there who’s been through the same as me that needs that little bit of inspiration to go back into education to follow their own dreams!’ From the feedback I’ve had, there are a fair few people who have been through the same as I have! I don’t know whether I’ve inspired anyone though (that would be lovely though).

I actually started blogging to write about music. It’s my big passion in life. I was writing a lot for my music blog, but realised it was taking up so much of my time looking into different bits and pieces. So I’m actually surprised at myself keeping up with this blog! I have all these wonderful ideas that all seem to go awol after a few months. I think I get bored too quickly… But I have managed to keep going in the hope that some of what I’m saying reaches people that are coming to terms with dyslexia, or educators/employers who really need to readdress how dyslexic people are treated.

I’ve been so lucky to have a number of dyslexia groups, educators, experts and other advocates respond to my blogs either on the page or through social media. LOADS of wonderful dyslexic people have been in touch too! And I’ve made a lovely network of interesting connections through Spectrum Bloggers Network and the SEN community on social media. It has generally all been a very positive experience.

Me Paper

While the dyslexia side of the blog has been positive, the scotopic sensitivity syndrome (Irlen Syndrome/visual distortion/Meares-Irlen Syndrome or whatever you want to label it as) stuff has been more complex. I’ve been met with a lot of extremely rude, obnoxious and self-righteous people when I mention Irlen Syndrome. I steer away from their groups on Facebook and people on Twitter. I posted up last week on one group that I was amused that there was going to be an awareness week for Irlen Syndrome because I had blogged about that very topic back in March! “Preparation was well on the way then”. Well sorry!!! There was absolutely nothing online about such a thing when I was blogging about it at the start of the year! Be grateful that there are people who actually care and are willing to raise awareness!

I also get fed up of being told I should get coloured lenses. They work for some but not all. Several experts told me that they wouldn’t be right for me. I actually ended up going to a specialist when getting my new glasses who had been trained with Irlen Syndrome methods and the coloured lenses and had moved away from it. We went through loads of different tests and eventually opted to have prisms put into my glasses instead. They seem to have had only a small impact on my reading, though my headaches/migraines have vastly reduced! It seems to me that these people don’t want you to talk about how it affects you or to share your views because it’s all an elaborate scam to get money out of people. Perhaps I’ve just had terrible experiences with every single Irlen Syndrome person or group I’ve come into contact with! (Kerrching!) It’s all been so money driven that I have become sceptical of the ‘treatment’ through coloured lenses, although I know the condition itself is very real.

I’m not afraid to share my experiences good and bad. I hope that it helps to reassure people who have recently been diagnosed with dyslexia, or for those who didn’t realise that there are a lot of quirks we share! Those things that we thought were superpowers are actually just part of our dyslexia.

So thank you for reading my blog, sending me comments, talking to me on Facebook groups or through Twitter, Reddit etc. It isn’t boosting my ego through being so vain, but helping me on my own journey to understanding dyslexia as I was only diagnosed with it 5 years ago myself.

So please help me to raise money through this #blogging4charity stint I’ve been doing (the last one is tomorrow) by donating to the charity I have picked this quarter. I really hope to see dyslexia charities given more support so that they can help other dyslexic people like myself. I would be eternally grateful and I’m sure my chosen charity would love the extra dosh to use in their ongoing work too!

This post is part of a series trying to help me to raise money for Dyslexia Action. You can donate as little as £1! To find out more, head over to: https://www.justgiving.com/DyslexiaAndMe

Posted on September 5, 2014, in Awareness, Blogging, Personal Experience and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Thanks for your blog, great stuff. Its important that we ordinary dyslexics have a forum to discuss dyslexia. We all have a lot to learn from each other. But the very nature of dyslexia that many of us will hardly ever meet another dyslexic in the street let alone talk about being dyslexic with another dyslexic. Blogging also is giving us an embryo for a coherent dyslexic community which is something I believe we need. We need a dyslexic community with a dyslexic voice to represent and fight for the things we need to thrive. Things such as access to a good accessible and inclusive education. Our education systems still fails far to many dyslexic kids and this has to change. This is one thing we dyslexics of today must seek to fight for and change for future generations of dyslexic kids. I am going to say something here which may get up a lot of people’s noses here. We need to move away from the more traditional models of disability / dyslexia that have, in my view, shackled us to a negative profile of dyslexia. These being the medical model off disability / dyslexia and the charity model. Lets look at the charity / tragedy model of disability The Tragedy/Charity Model depicts disabled people as victims of circumstance, deserving of pity. The Tragedy/Charity Model is condemned by its critics as dis-enabling, and the cause of much discrimination. The biggest issue that disabled have, is that the non-disabled community, are only comfortable when dyslexic / disabled people are viewed as icons of pity.” Because disabled people are seen as tragic victims, it follows that they need care, are not capable of looking after themselves or managing their own affairs, and need charity in order to survive. Now please do not misunderstand me here I am not criticising and charity here nor anyone who works for a charity etc. Then there is the medical model of dyslexia / disability which basically looks at us a broken in some way. That we need to be cured of our disability / dyslexia. This focuses on impairment – that there is something “wrong” with the disabled ‘ dyslexic individual. There is a focus on ways in which disabled and dyslexic people deviate from the norm, and tries to narrow that gap. An assumption is made that there is the normal that this normal is automatically desirable and to be aspired to. This then automatically leads to a perception that disabled / dyslexic people are abnormal, that we deviate from the normal. The “problem” lies with the individual and what they can or can’t do. I think you can see both these models do not paint a very positive profile of disability or dyslexia or any other neuro difference for that matter. I, for one, do not see myself fitting in with either of these models. Now lets move on to the social model of disability / dyslexia. This model says that it is society that disables dyslexic and disabled people. Now for we as dyslexics society disables many of us from day one in school. Where we are taught in ways that do not enable we dyslexics to learn as effectively, using learning materials that are not dyslexia friendly or accessible by teachers who, in the main are not trained to teach us in an inclusive learning environment. In essence we go to school that has been designed by non dyslexics, that is delivered, in the main, by non dyslexics for non dyslexic kids. This is why school still fails so many dyslexic kids. This in itself is a crazy situation especially when you consider that over 50% of young people in our prisons are dyslexic or struggle with poor literacy. Its even more crazy when you consider that around 35% on all entrepreneurs are dyslexic and most of those entrepreneurs have become successful in spite of their education not because of it. So what happens when dyslexic kids leave school? Low self esteem, self confidence, depression and low or low qualifications etc. What a waste of their potential sigh.

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