I don’t normally write this sort of thing it’s a tad too personal. Obviously it’s not been cured by using a quill. I wouldn’t want you to get the wrong impression either, being dyslexic is not the end of the world. Although it’s classed as a disability it’s a long way from being the worst. I would much rather be dyslexic than say blind or have muscular dystrophy. It hasn’t stopped me doing what I want in life, although I have had to work a lot harder because of it.
Those who are dyslexic can vary a great deal in how it affects them. I can read very well, in fact I read a lot. Occasionally I’ll skip a word and miss the sense of a sentence and have to re-read a few times until I’ve got it right. My biggest problem comes with spelling and hand writing. My hand writing is terrible, in order to make it readable I have to print and write slowly. I find fountain pens fantastic for this, and now have a collection of them. I even secretly use quills you dip in ink at home, this not only helps improve my legibility but feeds my Harry Potter obsession. Please don’t tell anyone about this I get teased enough about Harry Potter as it is! Nowadays bad handwriting doesn’t cause me too many problems as I can word process almost everything. The only time I get problems when I need to write a quick note or I’m being observed in my lessons, I’m very careful not to write on my board when that happens.
Spelling is a big problem for me, of course nowadays spell checks have made my life a lot easier. What is very odd about my spelling is how inconsistent it is. Some days it’s not bad, like today I’m not making many mistakes typing this. Some days however I struggle to spell my own name correctly, any type of stress and it goes out of the window. If I’m being observed while teaching I usually type a list of any words I might need, but if that fails and a student asks for a spelling I have my emergency fall back of ‘rather than me just telling you I’ll help you look it up in a dictionary.’ Spelling doesn’t cause me too many problems when writing a book as I can always use the spell check and if that fails ask my wife!
My biggest problem is word blindness it’s quite hard to explain and even harder to understand. It affects me in two ways. Firstly some words I find hard to distinguish; for years I couldn’t tell the difference between does and dose, they used to look the same to me, I would just pick one hoping I got the right one when writing. Now I’ve trained myself to tell the difference but it took me a long time. I had to stop and stare at it every time I write to make sure I’ve used the right one. The one I struggle with most now is were and where. I can’t tell the difference between them and when writing I pick one at random with the hope I’m going to be right occasionally. My new plan to get over this is to carry the definition around on a card with both words that way I can make the right choice.
The other way this affects me is when I don’t write what I think I’ve written for example the sentence;
He pulled out his wand and with a look of pure terror, cast the spell
May get written as
He pulled his wand and a look pure terror cast spell
The sentence has total lost its meaning but when I read it back because I can remember what I wanted it to say my brain inserts the missing words as I read it. I was once told by a specialist teacher I don’t read every word just the key ones and make up the others! I now have to leave what I’ve written, wait until I’ve forgotten what it’s supposed to say then check it. If its work related then that can be just a few days but when it’s my book it has to be a lot longer. I’ve taken two months off writing it and now I’ve come back I’m inwardly cringing at how bad it is with all the missed out words. With this article I’ll have to leave it for at least two days before I can edit, possibly longer. I am willing to bet I still missed several mistakes. I might cheat and send it to a friend of mine to check.
Well there it is a bit of a moan feast, I hope I haven’t made you feel sorry for me because I don’t feel sorry for myself. I thought I would have a go at writing something very personal for a change. Please give me some feedback as to how the article comes over and there’s a prize for the person who spots the most mistakes. Did I mention I was a terrible liar as well?