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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