No, strike that… I think it’s spelled….
I think I’ve just diagnosed myself as dyslexic. One of my students, a Portuguese cocaine smuggler, has a habit of switching letters in words when noting from the board. I spoke to the literacy tutor about him who recommended I give him a standard dyslexia diagnostic. As English is not his first language, I sat with him as he went through the questions – and I answered in the affirmative to substantially more than he did!
It was all stuff like ‘do you mix up right and left’ ( I can never remember which is which!) do you muddle phone numbers when noting (all the time!) do you make mistakes when writing cheques (all the time! – so much so that I’ve got a sample cheque tacked to my wall so I can copy) do you need paper to do simple maths (of course!) do characters sometimes dance on the page (yes, but I thought that was my eyesight) do you get confused when relaying stuff like telephone messages (yes, and people get very frustrated/annoyed with my circuitous way of explaining things). Is you handwriting bad (mine is illegible, which is why I prefer to type – the only good thing about my handwriting is it sometimes hides my appalling spelling – which is another sign).
The result was the Portuguese drug smuggler: scored 10 (over nine meant there was likely a problem) and I scored 15! Which means I’m banjaxed.
OK, this isn’t a total surprise. I’ve long had my suspicions. The mixing of digits in telephone numbers has worried me that I might have some sort of numerical dyslexia but I wasn’t even sure that that existed – but (according to this diagnostic at least) it does. And I’ve long since known that I don’t think in the same logical, linear way others often do. And this shows in my writing, I tend to go all around the place before getting to the point and this is a problem.And I’ve had problems with my coordination when driving too (an that’s another indicator apparently).
I’ve been reluctant to do a dyslexia test, partly because I didn’t want to know and if I’ve coped so far and have managed to edit newspapers, get an MA and win awards for my writing I can’t be too bad a case – or perhaps dyslexia is not that bad a condition. I’m thinking that left to their own devices, most mild dyslexics will develop their own coping mechanisms.
Also, I have on occasion, met people who’ve told me they were dyslexic and SOMETIMES I’ve felt, no dammit I could see it a mile off, that they were using the condition either as an excuse for not achieving or by way of making themselves sound interesting or special – “I would have got a first/got into Oxford but I’m dyslexic and it wasn’t discovered until the night before the results came out…” or “I’m a one-legged, dyslexic vegan. What do you do?” So, I’ve been a bit suspicious of the dyslexic label for a long while, though I know its just that 1% that give the suffering 99% a bad name.
Anyway, my diagnosis is just my own but it was done honestly and using the literacy standard dyslexia diagnostic and judging by it I’m at the more severe end of the scale. None of this means anything, nothing needs to change – but it might explain my thought patterns a little more (to me) and it might help me know what and where to watch out when I’m writing.