Just to put dyslexia in perspective: when I was going up, in the 90’s, first everyone just thought I was slow, and needed a little extra time, then it became clear that there was actually a disability there, and it wasn’t something I could get away with, you know, it wasn’t like we had spell check and grammar check, and smartphones that I could speak into so I could send messages to my friends. I mean, I didn’t even have a cell phone (flip phone) until I went to college.
So compare that experience to what might have been the process for poor Mr. Einstien. They probably didn’t even recognize disabilities of this nature, they just chalked it up to being dumb–and that’s crazy because look what he did–I mean, Einstien was a pretty smart guy.
Just to illustrate my point about dyslexia being aided by technology, when I was in middle school I still couldn’t read. My parents would make me read kids books, like “See Spot Run,” for a half hour everyday, but I was still reading at a first or second grade level even though I was in sixth grade. I remember sitting, trying to write a book report (my mom and dad had read me the book), and I couldn’t figure out how to spell a word. I mentioned that if they’d let me just write the report on the computer and then use spell check this wouldn’t be a problem.
“You won’t be able to take your computer with you to class if you go to college,” my mom said. “You need to know how to spell and do math, because you can’t always have a calculator.”
I don’t know if any statement has ever been less true, now that we look back on it. Technology has helped us in so many ways, and as a dyslexic person I still have moments when I type something and not even spell check can figure out what I was trying to spell, so I have to type it into Google, and most of the time that works, but not always.
So, this is the thing people don’t really understand about having dyslexia: It’s not something that just means your bad at reading–there are lots of people who are shit at reading and it’s not because they have dyslexia, it’s because they don’t like reading, or because they’re reading the wrong book or material. With dyslexia, I’ve actually heard you think differently than people without it. I mean, of course people think differently on an individual basis. You know how two people can be part of a conversation and one person thinks it’s an argument while the other doesn’t feel that way at all and just thinks it’s discussion. Having dyslexia isn’t like that. For me, it’s like, I think in a combination of images and abstract feelings. I hardly ever think in language. I don’t have a running commentary in my head, and when I ask people, most of them say they think in language, like talking to themselves in their minds–and I don’t do that hardly at all.