My sister is dyslexic. She struggled through school and most of her life. She wasn’t diagnosed until she was in her fifties so you can imagine how frustrating things were for her when she was young in the 60’s and 70’s, and no one knew what dyslexia was or what to do about it. And that was only one of her issues. Things did not come easy for my sister.
Things for me on the other hand were pretty easy. I survived school with decent marks and went on to study at several different post secondary institutions. What I did struggle with was spelling and chemistry compound abbreviations and number letter combinations such as the letter combinations in piano chords, which are my latest struggle. Oh, and word problems. You remember those ones in math class that often started with something simple like, if an imaginary vehicle is travelling at… or Jane has 17 pieces of unbreakable candy… followed by a whole paragraph of information that I would need to decipher before getting to the math part. Word problems are the reason I couldn’t finish my statistics course and ended up with a Liberal Studies Degree rather than a Business Degree. I had all the other courses. All of them!
Dyslexia is a pretty serious subject, so after reading an article on the subject, I was surprised to learn that it can affect 15 to 20 percent of the population, that it runs in families and that has its own spectrum where it can be quite extreme or as mild as not being able to spell. At this point, I did what most of us do when we are interested in learning more about a topic. I visited Google. And, of course, Google had tons of information.
There were several tests for adults that I found very interesting so I decided to take one just to see if any of them pertain to me. The one I took was multiple choice with the following choices. Very Often. Often. Sometimes. Rarely. Never. So here it is with my results:
Do you need to read a sentence or paragraph three or four times before you “get it”? – Rarely.
Do you avoid situations where you’ll have to read out loud? – Very often. More like always!
Do you mix up letters or forget them entirely when writing? – Sometimes. I also transpose words in sentences when reading and writing.
Do you misspell common words — misspelling them a different way every time? – Very Often. Again more like always!
Do you find yourself reading slower than most people you know? – Never.
Do you avoid projects that involve a lot of reading? – Rarely. Unless the topic is boring.
Have you found yourself turning down promotions or opportunities for advancement in your career? – Very Often. There were other circumstances for this. See Out Of Control.
Do you struggle to pronounce long words out loud, even if you know them? – Often.
Are you accused of “not listening” because you can’t summarize or recall details of a recent conversation? – Rarely. I am hermit so the opportunity is rare. Most of the time no one listens to me either.
Do you lose your place when reading, even if the topic is interesting to you? – Sometimes
Do you get lost when following directions, or confuse your left for your right? – Often. I have no sense of direction and like to have things written in point form using landmarks where possible. My sister always confuses left and right. She has all her life. She has issues with shoes.
Do you confuse or forget the names of common household objects — calling a fork a spoon, for instance? – Rarely. My sister used to mix up BBQ and cucumber when she was little. We just thought it was cute.
Do you have very particular requirements for your favorite fonts, paper color, or other visuals while at work? – Never. As a former graphic designer, I guess this was a good thing.
Other sites had other options that I could tick off as symptoms (a word I can’t spell). Symptoms like the following:
Trouble remembering names – oh yes.
Struggling to pronounce unknown words when reading out loud – definitely.
Becoming self-conscious when speaking to a group; using filler words or starting and stopping sentences repeatedly – always.
Disliking administrative work like repetitive forms – hell yes.
Creating complex coping mechanisms to hide difficulties from coworkers – Holy crap! I’ve been doing this all my life and not just with coworkers.
So does all this make me dyslexic? (A word I keep spelling wrong by the way.) Who knows! What I do know is that some of the online information can have me believing that I could be on the dyslexic spectrum, especially since it does run in families. But I also know that there are many symptoms that I do not have, which makes me very lucky; and up until this point, I have managed just fine so I am going to stick with being quirky because it works for me and sums up all my idiosyncrasies.
A big thanks to Siri for all the correct spellings in this blog including the word idiosyncrasies.
Thank you for reading.
Photo: Rob Hobson, Unsplash