Monthly Archives: October 2015

Dyslexia.

I spend a lot of my time witting about autism, how it impacts on me and others, but it`s easy for me to forget that I don’t just have autism. I also have Dyslexia and Dyspraxia, and it`s about time I said something about those.  Autism tends to dominate; it`s what I write about, it influences my day to day life more than anything else, but my dyslexia gets me down more than autism ever has.  Well it used to.

I should start at the beginning, I was able to read well from a young age, and that could almost hide how much my dyslexia did impact on me.  It took me years to even be able to write my own name. I still to this day can’t spell basic words.  Some of them are starting to stick, and I can spell better now then I ever could before, but I am twenty – I should have been spelling better than this when I was eight or nine.  I can still recall with absolute clarity that burning embarrassment of not being able to spell, or having someone look down at a page of writing that is basically sideways slanting gibberish.  For years my Mum tried to help me; she came up with all kinds of clever devices to help me learn to spell and improve my hand writing. The impact?  Well there was some, but it was a long, hard journey.  In college I had help with my dyslexia too, but still no huge change.

I have to admit I am finding it hard pin-point times, and dates when this has impacted on me as you might be able to tell, but one word keeps coming to me – Education.  Not the time I spent being home-educated, but the few years at school and college I had. It seemed that the aim of both was to get me writing like normal – school pushed that a lot more, and in a much more heavy-handed way, whereas college allowed me extra time in exams, and did offer me help.  But I still had to go once a week and do the same stuff I had been doing from the age of eight or nine to try and get better hand writing.  I think university is the only education esablishment where I feel my dyslexia does not impact on me.  The amount of help I have been given there is well woth talking about.  I have someone to take notes for me, a laptop with programs on that allow me to talk in to a mic, and watch my words appear on the screen, and much more.  The impact of this?  I am able to think about the work and not about spellings!

Where am I now?  Well I am at peace with the fact that I will never be very good at handwriting or spelling.  That might sound a bit odd.  You might be thinking “But you`re a writer! You write books and if all goes well you will be writing for a living one day.  How can you do that if you can’t spell”. Well it`s easy.  We are in 2015 now – there are spell-checks on computers, and as I said above I can just talk, and have a lap-top write up my words for me.  Over the years most of my work was written by me dictating, and my Mum typing it up. Without her doing this I would not be where I am today.  The point is I will always find a way to write. I don’t have to be good at spelling or have neat hand writing to be able to write.  So I don’t feel the impact of my dyslexia much anymore, but that does not mean it`s not there – just that I can live with it now in a way I could not when I was younger.

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