Hello I’m Erin and I’m dyslexic.
Basically, this means I struggle with reading, writing and spelling. I’m not alone – around 10% of the population have dyslexia but it affects people in different ways. I’m going to tell you what life is like for me.
My worst nightmare is being given a sheet of typed A4 and being asked to read and analyse the information. Well, all I can say is “Pollack” – I’m referring, of course, to the silly splatterings of the famous artist, Jackson Pollack, which is what the page reminds me of. It takes me a huge amount of physical and mental energy to decipher and make sense of the language and it takes so much longer than it does for non-dyslexic people. So, I’m a slow reader.
When it comes to writing my thoughts down, it’s just as bad – I’m so desperate to try and get my ideas down before they’re lost that I end up scrawling on the paper, missing out words, and writing things I never intended to write! If I try to write an essay you might as well put what I write into a blender. So, I’m not good at writing.
And then there’s spelling – in my view, I can spell, it’s just that I use different letters in a different order to everyone else. They say I just need to learn spellings and practice more but my brain just doesn’t make sense of words that way. My method is largely spelling the word as it sounds to me – so why would I spell ‘rhyme’ as R-H-Y-M-E instead of R-I-M-E which I think makes much more sense. And most people would guess what word I meant. My motto is “If you’ve got the gist of what a person is writing, don’t worry about the accuracy”. You would think that Spellchecker would be a life saver – well, it is for people who can mostly spell, but with me it hasn’t even got a sporting chance. I mean, when I typed in my spelling of ‘miserable’, it gave me Miss Rebel – how ironic.
And then, when filling in forms, how you spell ‘Dyslexia’ – who on earth thought of naming the condition with a word so hard to spell?! Certainly not a dyslexic – they would have named it ‘reedy-rity disorder’? So, I’m not good at spelling.
But it’s not all bad – whilst to some people, dyslexics may be seen as dumb, difficult and demanding, I prefer take a more positive outlook – we’re different, determined and daydreamers ! And that’s where our creativity comes from. As the famous dyslexic, Albert Einstein, said, “When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come close to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge”.
In fact, many of the top achievers in history are/were dyslexic, which means I’m in the esteemed company of Winston Churchill, Isaac Newton, Leonardo Da Vinci, Agatha Christie, Richard Branson, Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg. We think freely, visually and without boundaries which makes us curious, analytical problem solvers, and able to see the big picture when sometimes others can’t. For me concepts and principles are far easier to learn than facts and figures, and it is easier to use a combination of logic, reason and intuition than to follow rules without question.
The challenge for me is, when I come to apply for that high flying job that requires creativity, the ability to think outside the box, the ability to analyse situations whilst also keeping an eye on the bigger picture, I am probably going to have to apply in writing! AAAAhhhhh!