My journey with dyslexia and the advantages and disadvantages

I think a while back I posted a speech I gave at a convention about learning disabilities, which actually got far more views than I expected. In fact, so many that I wanted to investigate why this was. So I took to google and with a quick google search I found the reason why. There are so few posts and online resources which detail dyslexia from a teens point of view. There were countless links to scientific research which explained exactly what it is and several which aimed at teachers and parents but so few were real life experiences from people with dyslexia about things like the advantages and disadvantages (what my speech was focused on). I was pleased to know that people were reading my speech of course and that it had become one of the top google resources but also slightly dismayed. What I posted was meant to be a speech, not really an account of what it’s like to have and live with dyslexia. It was aimed at a very specific audience and made solely for the purpose of the convention, not one of my finest pieces of writing and not something which I think could be of amazing help to anyone trying to learn more about their dyslexia. I thought I best change this and do my best at actually writing a post aimed to help out teens coming to terms with their dyslexia.

My Story:

So after that very long introduction, onto my story. I was diagnosed with sever dyslexia at the age of 10. When I first found out about my dyslexia, contrary to most people, I was actually pretty excited. One of my favourite book characters actually had dyslexia and at the time she was my idol and I only saw it as something which brought me closer to her. I didn’t fully realise the academic implications this diagnosis had. I think my parents took it the hardest though and viewed it as a “failure” on their part for not figuring it out sooner. Let me tell you though, having dyslexia does not mean in any way that you are a failure or that your parents have failed at parenting. That would be like saying you’re a failure for being double jointed, it’s just a part of who you are.

I started to see a tutor from then on who tried to help me come up with ways of dealing with my dyslexia. To be honest though it was pretty much a waste of time. She had me doing the most mundane activities which were in no way intellectually stimulating and just had me yawning rather than learning. So my parents found an alternative. I quit my school and joined a special school for children with learning disabilities. It was the best decision I could have made. I’m not sure it was even the learning really but just being in an environment with other kids who learned like I did and having teachers who knew so much about the ways my brain worked, things I didn’t know, was quite incredible. I got an amazing education there but sadly the program only lasted for two years and I was thrown back into “normal” school. This time though I had far more confidence and was able to actually start participating and learning to a fuller extent.

That brings me to the now. In the school i’m in now I achieve decent grades. There are some subjects which I still struggle quite a lot with (maths and some sciences). Yet there are others which I think my dyslexia helps me with since it gives me a different perspective on things (english and humanities). Another thing which I have found to be an advantage my dyslexia has given me is my abilities in speaking. Since I can not spell for the life of me (thank everything for spell check) I got so used to having to explain what I was trying to say through my words that I became a pretty good debater. On the other end of that though, yes, i suck at spelling.

I think the main thing I struggled with coming to terms with when it comes to my dyslexia is knowing that I could be missing out on potential which I could have. I know there have been plenty of studies showing that dyslexia doesn’t affect intelligence but I would be lying if I didn’t say that the idea that I could be achieving so much more, or the same level I am now just without so much work does plague me quite a lot. It’s something which I think about quite often in fact, what it would be like to be “normal”. It can be so frustrating sometimes seeing my friends put so much less effort into something to get the same grade I do for hours of work.

When it comes down to it though, I wouldn’t trade my dyslexia in for a “normal” brain though I don’t think. Dyslexia has opened up quite a few different opportunities for me and honestly, it has helped me achieve so many things which book smart couldn’t get you to.

So to summarise just some main points on advantages and disadvantages:

Disadvantages:

-It can take quite a while to understand concepts which seem to take others so little time.

-People are often uneducated on the subject of learning disabilities, so you might have to deal with a few choice names that these bigots come up with.

-Words and numbers need to be tamed before you can understand them (e.i they might try and run away off the page) but you just gotta catch them and then they usually give in.

-Others don’t see things the way you do. One thing could meaning something to you but then something completely different to someone else so it can sometimes be hard to get on the same page.

-Your learning style clashes with pretty much every school system there is so it’s down to you to do all the adapting.

Advantages:

-You have creative ideas which others often just don’t think of.

-You’re one step closer to being like famous people such as; Steven Spielberg, Mohammed Ali, Pablo Picasso and even Albert Einstein

-Once you understand something you can feel it click into place, so once you’ve got it, you’ve got it.

-You tend to have very particular strengths.

-You can get extra time on tests and the aid of a keyboard.

-You have to become a hard worker with incredible drive.

-You’re views can be different which leads to great conversation.

 

There are many more advantages and disadvantages but these are just the main ones which I find most prominent in my life. Of course everyone’s dyslexia is different and no two people’s minds work the same so I tried to keep this as general as possible but let me know if you could relate to any of these!

 

 

 

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16 thoughts on “My journey with dyslexia and the advantages and disadvantages

    • Hi Sophie, thanks for writing this. I work as a neuro-diversity coach for people in the workplace and have found out so much about how dyslexia can affect people. Here are some examples…..The way a dyslexic brain think is constantly creative. A simple job done day in day out will be thought up in new ways by a dyslexic brain. Seeing patterns and relationships that non-dyslexics just can’t spot. Some might call it creative problem-solving. Dyslexics are geniuses at this. Another thing is seeing everything in 3D. Reading off a screen can be much more difficult than off paper. Somehow paper has more 3D and seems to make reading and comprehension easier. Needing to see everything at once, or seeing the big picture all the time. This makes this way of thinking invaluable for project management but tricky for more detailed analytical tasks. Knowing where a job fits into the bigger picture really helps when doing a mundane task. The biggest weaknesses of having this creative type of brain is often the working memory which basically means, the number of bits of information you can hold at short notice at one time. If I were to send you to a shop for 5 things I’d be really happy if you brought me just one of those things unless you wrote the list down, it’s a thing which is overcome by strategies and understanding. The spelling, reading speed and typing are all things that a creative brain doesn’t like, it’s the fine details & I often call it an interference filter in the brian where you think a word and it comes out differently. One of my favourites is the story of a young girl writing “I live in a flat” when she was learning to write. Her brother burst out laughing because she had actually written “I live in a fart”. A classic story of the joys of such a creative brain and not accurately processing the 2D codex we call spelling.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This post was really informative and interesting; I’d never really thought a whole lot about dyslexia before now. I totally get what you mean about extra effort, though: I am totally blind, and often work takes longer and is more taxing, not due to my academic ability, but due to the ways in which I have to access the material.
    Loved this post πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ihave read thusnd I feel like you know what’s like to be me I don’t have dyslexia but I have trouble learning thing it takes me along tine to get the answer to problem it to catch up to other people because I don’t catch on fast enough an do bexcuse of this I fail most of my class in school and didn’t graduated I got a leaving certificate because my grades was bad and I couldn’t kept. And now I am afraid to try new things because I thing I am going to fail.

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  3. I loved this post so much, thank you for writing it!! I literally have the same thoughts all the time, what could I be doing if I didn’t have dyslexia. It may not mean we are less intelligent but I’d be lying if I didn’t say it affected my exam results in some shape or form. really great post πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for mentioning the bigot part! That’s something I’ve struggled with for years too and just not said anything, but I think it’s good you call them that- becuase it is what they are. People who are mean or lack understanding for people with learning disabilities should be ashamed of themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Awesome post.It helped me a lot in understanding dyslexia. I’m recently working on a web app for dyslexia which would help dyslexic people πŸ™‚ . If you can give me some tips i would be very much obliged to you. Btw brilliant post πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi! Sorry for late reply. Glad you liked the post πŸ™‚ Tips wise I would just say, keep it simple and straight forward. When there’s too much going on on a page it can be hard for the eyes to find the right place to focus. I would love to hear more about this app though, it sounds great. Good luck!

      Liked by 1 person

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