|Posted by Paul McCall on December 8, 2012 at 5:15 PM|
DYSLEXIA AND ME
Paul J. McCall
Despite my regrettable dyslexia I have always been a writer. Unfortunately, though, it appears to be a part of human nature to take advantage of opportunity and attack the less fortunate.
My first experience was when I was just a young boy in elementary school; even some of my teachers took sport in degrading me in front of the class. What surprises me is that sixty plus years later I find not much has changed.
It is said that nobody is perfect; some seem to want to challenge that idea.
I became aware I had a problem with learning when I was very young. That was a long time ago when I was in Lilja, Elementary School, in Natick, Massachusetts.
Dyslexia did not seem to be in the dictionary back then. At that time (I’m talking in the 1950’s now) thinking my eyesight was the problem, my parents had me fitted with glasses. When that didn't seem to help, my teacher simply labeled me as, “stupid”.
She separated me from the other students by placing me in a corner of the classroom away from the rest of the class so, as she put it, I would not disturb the other children or try to cheat. Punishment, it seemed, was the only treatment for a dyslexic child back in those days. But I found that I preferred being hidden away in the corner of the room.
In the 1950's spell checkers were called, “Dictionaries”, there were no electronic devices to aid a student in those days. I had to look up every word I was unable to spell, that meant just about all of them. That was a very time-consuming process and by the time I found the word I was searching for, my focus on what I was trying to write was lost.
Even today I cannot depend on spell checker alone. As a dyslexic, I had to use the thesaurus together with spell checker, and of course, constant reading and writing. I increased my abilities the hard way, on my own, and even now I require an editor. (When I can find someone willing).
I learned dyslexics should not despair; there are many famous people who have dyslexia who found ways to function despite this disability. People like, Albert Einstein, Walt Disney, Orlando Bloom, Tom Cruise, Jay Leno, Keanu Reeves, Whoopi Goldberg and Robin Williams, just to mention a few, all have dyslexia. All these people have found their own way to work and function despite dyslexia. That is what dyslexics must do. Find what works for them personally and continuously develop and innovate.
If you are a struggling in school, the first things you should do is discuss the problem with your parents. In most cases, with their help, you can find a plan that will work for you. Currently, you can have your parents inform your teachers about your disability. Most schools today have programs for dyslexic students, and some can assist in finding places to get more help. What it boils down to is finding what works for you personally. Good luck and keep writing. I hope this helps someone with this disability. Always remember when you look in the mirror, the person you see is smarter than you think.