Discovering the world on $20 per day ......................

Post 256: Welcome to my World

Last week I posted a message on Facebook and the conversation somehow turned to one about dyslexia. Trying to describe dyslexia to a person who isn’t dyslexic, is probably like trying to describe a rainbow to somebody who’s colour blind. Dyslexia comes in many shapes and sizes and I guess that many people, including myself when I was first diagnosed, think that dyslexia is nothing more than a posh excuse for crap spelling and general idleness. In some cases that’s possibly true, but as far as my own dyslexia’s concerned, I’ll try to explain it here.
Kemerovo ..... 324
Irkutsk .......... 1820
Chita ............ 2933
From this photograph, unless you happen to be familiar with the Cyrillic Alphabet, then you probably wouldn’t recognise the place names. I know what the Cyrillic words say, not because I’ve learned that particular alphabet, but because I’ve memorised the pattern of each word and related those patterns to a corresponding sound in my head. However, you could reverse any one of the individual letters in any of those names, and I probably wouldn’t notice the change. I’d still see the word in exactly the same form and wrongly recognise them as still being correct. It’s a little like when a child first leans to write and ’b’ & ’d’ or ’p’ and ’q’ or even ’6’ and ’9’ become confused. The good news is that over time 90% of kid’s will learn to use each one correctly, but 10% of us never do. Weclome to the world of dyslexia.
That’s a perfect accidental example. My spelling of the word ’Welcome’ above is incorrect and I only know that because as I finished typing it, a helpful red line appeared directly below it. When I read the word back in my mind, it looks to be correct and I can‘t really see what I‘ve done wrong. I honestly do know how to spell the word ’Welcome’, but clearly I’ve written it incorrectly. Whatever dyslexia is, it can’t be cured but you can at least learn how to identify and cure the mistakes.
Quickly look at the number that I’ve written below, and then ’say’ the number out loud as if it were a lottery jackpot in terms of pounds and pence:
Without the help of numeric punctuation , and . I guess that it’s not that easy to hit the correct answer on the first attempt. Any dyslexics that are reading this will probably have to physically transfer the numbers onto paper, add the punctuation marks and then work backwards to find the answer. There’s nothing wrong with our eyesight, but we seem to interpret visual information differently to normal readers. The answer is fourteen million, four thousand seven hundred pounds, and three pence, which when written as £14,004,700.03 is quite easy to recognise. As a dyslexic, I interpret ’words’ with the same difficulty that you might interpret the ’£1400470003’ without the punctuation. Eventually we’ll all reach the correct solution, but it just takes us dyslexics a little bit longer to get there.


Anonymous said...

Geoff, as a someone with dyslexicia it has effected my life in many ways for all of my life.

Well done Geoff for being open about this problem which many suffer from,

Saw you at Ripley this summer, you were an inspiration to me and many others, enjoy the site.


Geoff (British West Hartlepool)

John Thornton said...

That is the ONLY explanation of dyslexia that I've ever been able to understand. The example of the unpunctuated numbers is absolute genius. I too perhaps thought that dyslexia was something of a 'cover', but henceforth I will be far more understanding.