Febuary – dyslexic limitations…?
Hello again, some of you may know that I have now been doing a Podcast with my good friend and comidian Mark Simmons. This has been going really well and has been really fun in doing. Hopefully we have identified some good issues and topics souranding dyslexia in a light humerd way. If you have not seen it please check it out on my twitter @samthedyslexic.
Right I thought we could look at the idea of jobs that may provide limitations to dyslexic people or if there are even any jobs that dyslexic people cant do!?! Just putting it out there, I have two dream jobs; 1) to own my own little coffee bar / cafee by the seaside with good local fresh produce and live music. 2) I recently wrote of to the BBC to chuck my name in the hat for the new top gear presenter job. At the moment I have had no reply but im still hoping!
For me I struggle with organisation, paper work and procesing writen information. When I first started looking at jobs following university (which I really had to work hard at the get through), I relised that most jobs need the keys skills that I was pants at! How the hell was I going to find a job that did not incoperate thoses skills. No Joke, my school during careers advice day said I should just go join the army based on how I was doing at school at that time or how they percived that I was doing at that time. Now I have nothing against the army and think that it is a great career to follow and have the up most respect for what they do. But what anoyed me is that they only said that because praticly I was good at doing things but academicly I was strugling and genraly behind.
So can dyslexic people be writers, scientists or even world leaders?? or are we suited to just doing more practical jobs….???
Well did you relise that world fomous writer Agatha Christie was dyslexic! She was quoted to say “Writing and spelling were always terribly difficult for me. My letters were without originality. I was…an extraordinarily bad speller and have remained so.” So one of my key issues of writing and spelling which I am forever batterling against every day was also an issue suffered by her to!!!
Procesing information… now that has got to be a masive barrier to dyslexic people? Winston Churchill was at the forefront of leading the Alies aginst the Nazi’s. He would have had been constantly making desions purley based on huge amouts of information on a daily basis. This information which he needed to process and interprite would lead his actions to making desisions that would effect the lives of many. Belive it or not but he was also dyslexic. A quote from him – “I was, on the whole, considerably discouraged by my school days. It was not pleasant to feel oneself so completely outclassed and left behind at the beginning of the race.”
Lastly Albert Einestine, one of the worlds most famouse scientists was also belived to be dyslexic. Could it be that all of the above people were able to be sucsessfull because dyslexia opened there mnd, enabled them to work harder to work out the problem or helped give a difrent perspective.
My conclusion is that dyslexia is not a barrier but it is a strength to draw from. I am glad I am dyslexic as I dont think I would have been able to achive in life so far if I did not have it. My view is that dyslexia does not have any limitations but provides a desire to achive and be sucsessfull.
Anyway thank you for reading
January – Lost in Dyslexia
Christmas has come and gone and a new year looms which Im sure is just waiting to cause me a hole world of pain with regards to reading, writing, spelling oh and the many regular dyslexic misshaps I usualy get my self into! Most of which are at work. Infact it is a work tradition that if any one mucks up or makes a mistake they have to buy cakes! AND depending on how much you muck up depends on what cakes you have to buy ie muck up bad and you have to buy cream cake!! Well my team should be fat, realy fat because I seem to be on the cake fine board all the time! Infact one time I owed soooo many cakes I just decided that it would be cheaper and easyer to get up at 5am and cook them all bacon roles!!!!!
Noooo Nooo My way, No your way!!!!!
Learning to drive was a big thing for me when I was younger. At my old school people were all geting there first cars! The nover was a popular one which personaly I hated. However my first car was the old style tank nisan micra with 4 gears and a choke!!! But before I could get into the beast I had to pass my test. Quickly my instructor realised that following a few incidents where he had told me to turn right and I had actualy turned left there may be something wrong. One time he said turn right the the next T junction which naturaly I turned left straight into a dead end road and he just looked at me and said “we need to come up with a way or sorting this”. So we developed the “My way Your way” aproach. This was much better but im sure it was confusing for him. “so sam, I want you to take the second my way at the end of the road and then bear your way heading into town! Sounds silly but it worked although the driving test examiner did not acsept that aproach and I faied due to going the wrong way and ending up in a dead end again.
Test Day – take 2!!!!!!!
So I really wanted to talk about my experience with regards to being tested for dyslexia. I wasnt formaly diagnosed until I was at universtity in Canterbury. Prior to this I had a number of other test such as the purple glasses and the eye patch but nothing formal. I then was given the opertunity to do a formal pycological assesment at university and my employer recently also sent me for another one so I am a bit of an expert. Its over £500 a pop each time! Being dyslexic is expencive!!!
So the assesment is about three hours long and im not going to lie, it was a nightmear, stressfull and made me question my own interlectial ability on compleation. There is a number of elements of the assesment including reding tests, writing tests, visual shape chalenges and maths questions. Well it is safe to say that I sucked at all of them!! To the point that I felt like walking out of the test because I couldn’t belive that I was that bad. Haha and it cost £500 for the privlage! I had worked so hard over the years to try and better myself and break through this barrier which has been labled as dyslexia that I thought on my second test I would be able to do better.
Well the following three hours of the test which included creating different shapes with ties, word test where they say a word and you have to describe it with other word (which is ctuly quite hard), reading tests including block and single word, maths tests, number memorie tests i.e they say; 6 9 10 1 22 5 and you have to remember them and put them in the right order or revers, I thought that I may have done a little better. But to my dismay I had not changed at all infact boardering a worse result than my last test at uni.
My friends will all vouch that when it comes to me and dyslexia I am always positive and up beat but for a moment following the result of my assesment I felt angry with my self, disapointed and could not understand why the test had beaten me. Since my last test I had gained a degree and have done over 8 years in a promising career which I have progresed in yet “the test” still beat me.
So the results of my test are based on a percentage of where you lie with in the genral population ie 50 % being the avrage and 10% percent being nearer the bottem of the scale and bellow avrage.
Working memorie – bottem 9%
Processing speed – bottem 10%
Nurological reasoning – bottom 4%
Reading speed – bottem 7%
However – the test is designed to bring out all the traits of dyslexia and in the end I know that it was only to help me. I am still 100% focused, motivated, ambisous and dedicated to not leting dyslexia hold me back. Im not ashamed to be dyslexic, infact I would not want to live life with out it. It is who I am and I would not change that no matter how much it can try to knock you down.
Dyslexia in the new!
So last month I saw this article in the paper regarding the largest sperm bank in the UK banning dyslexic people from donning. At first I thought it might be because they throught us dyslexic people may not be able to fill out the form properly or because they thought we might not find there clinic because we cant read maps! No It simply is because they do want dyslexic people donning or the gean being past on. If I was in the situation of needing help having children then I would far rather a little abert eignstine, a leader like churchhill, and business focused personality like branson, a talented actress like jennifer anderstan or a talented world famous writer like agatha cristy! It’s a shame that there are many organisations out there that don’t recognise dyslexia as being a positive.
This is what Im tring to achive and promote. I don’t fully understand dyslexia and I defantly am lost within it but what I do know is it is a driving force to achive which people and orgnisations should harvest and use.
Thank you for reading
December – and so it continues!
Blimey almost two hundrerd views on the first blog with so much positive feed back. If I am honist I just thought that only my mum would read it! So thank you to every one that took the time and effort to try and understand my spelling.
I could imagin my old school English teacher reading it and geting out the dreaded red pen correcting the spelling and gramma. There was alot of red pen during my time at school, to the point that my work might as well have been a colouring in book!
The memorie game!
Talking about mum’s. My mother is one of the most descriptive persons known to man. To the point that she could write a S/A on the subject of describing a cheese sandwich. In this respect we could not be more difrent, the worlds most descriptive person vs the worlds least descriptive person with the addded factor that when it comes to retaining large amounts of information my brain might as well be a siv!
So anyway, whilst taking her to lunch in the car, she started telling me a story of something that happend at her work, I kid you not 3 minuets into the story and being bombarded with information, I was alrady lost. In the end I just started to larth because I had forgotten the first part of the story! This is a common issue in my life which has caused me no end of poblems. Best tip I have found for lessions or exams is using mind maps or what use to be called brain storms.
The Pirate Dyslexic
So if you read my last blogg you may remember the story about the purple glasses. Well this was not the only triel / experiment placed on me at primary school. Another test was conducted because some expert belived that my issues were caused because one of my eyes was weaker than the other which was causing me to jumble up all the words on a page. The grand idea was to cover one eye so it would make the other stronger, which in theory should sort the issue out. So at primery school again with all my friends thinking that I was abit strange following my purple glasses incident, I was then issued a pair of glasses with one lense blacked out. They then changed there mind and I was given an eye patch! Yes a real eye patch as in one that made me look like a Pirate!!! I actualy think that someone didnt like me. I had to wear this a few hours a day even in class with all the other kids. Does this even happen anymore because if you are reading this and your job is to come up with great ideas to improve peoples dyslexia, then I can tell you now that purple glasses and eye patches are not the answer!!!!
The online dating game
Im sure most of you are aware of the whole online dating / tinda larkey. Well as I found out this combined with being dyslexic can be a nightmear combination. From a young age I was with a childhood sweet-hart which im sure all my friends would confirm that I was head over heals with her for for nearly 10 years!
But sadly all good things come to an end in this case and I ended up geting abit hurt. For a good couple of years I went from happy and smiley sam to not so bothered anymore Sam. I hated christmas, valintines day and anything that reminded me of the past. Sooo some of my friends decided that the only way to kick me up the bum was to sign me up on tinda. This is a dating app which you put your picture up on there site and in return they show you losts of pics of females who you you swip right for yes (you would like to talk to them) or left for no you dont want to talk to them but both have to swip right to chat. Well at fist my right and left co ordination was rubish so I was swiping no to people who I realy didnt want to swip no to!!!
following that people write little bits about them selfs so you can see there intrests ect. Some people put on there that they know the difrence between your and youre meaning no simple people or slang talk. I was like great how the hell am I going to convince people that I am normal and that I just cant spell! So the app was on my phone and eventaly when I got a match I had to chat to the person. To do this I had to type the message out on my laptop and then re type it on my phone! what a pain! no joke online dateing is twice as hard being dyslexic. In the end I just gave up and went free style on my phone! what a bad idea – I got ask things like “are you really 29 as your spelling is like a 5 year old!! or my favourit one “are you drunk!” These are issue that im sure loads of dyslexic people have on a daily basis. Luckerly I have meet a lovley girl (not on tinda) who doesnt mind my terible spelling!! Although when we first started dating I did have to type the messages out on my Laptop which I did for a while as I thought she was a keeper!
Special needs continued
So I think that I got to the point last month about me being pulled out of the Wednesday lesson of PE and had to attend a class called special needs instead. Well on that day after traverling up from the lower school I walked up the stairs and through the blue door into this unknown class. I was greated by a nice older lady who seemed very friendly but maby abit over happy. There was another lad in the class who seemed nice and who I got on well with as the class went on. Basicly the class was all about learning stuff that maby you would learn at primary school such as prounansiations, basic spelling, silent letters (I hate silent letters!!!!!!) and Kicking K’S. Although they did plough us with tea and biscuits as a sweetner! but I always thought that this was a bit counter productive in the sence of they took me out of Phyisical education and then fattend me up on choclate hobbnobs.
I guess in away it was only to help me but I hated the fact that I had to be seperated just because I was considerd difrent, which made me feel difrent. Alot of my stories sound like jokes but they actualy happend which when I look back on makes me hope that this is not happerning to some one now.
Hope you enjoyed this and if so please leave a comment or feed back.
November – blog one – the begining
blog one – and here it goes, spell check is off!
Dyslexia? A word that is redickulas (re-dick-u-lars) for persons who have it to spell and persons who dont have it to understand!!
The dreaded glasses!
my earlyest memorie of my dyslexic rollacosta started at primary school in a little kent seaside town. So it would be fair to say that my teacher kind of got the idea that something was no right. At first I think they thought that I might just be a slow learner but after a while I think they relized something was not right. So at the age of 10 I was tested with colour fillters which were placed over some text in order to see if it made the words apear clearer. Well aparently my colour was purple, dark purple!
It would be fair to say that anyone reading this would probably think that they would just give me the filter for me to use…. Nope, the used the filter paper and turned them into a large pair of round framed glassess!! No joke I looked like a “mini me” version of Eloton John! Not only was I drawing attention for being a bit “slower” than the other kids but I was now wearing an oversized pair of purple lensed glasses! Its funny no and still makes me chuckel. Three days later, I got so frustraited, I stood on them and decided from that day on I would just wing it!
As a young boy, i didnt think it could get any worse! From leaving the confort and safty of my little primary school, I was thrown into the unknown of being a very little fish into a very large secondry school tank. I knew I was a bit slower than some of my friends inrelation to reading and wrighting, so on my first day i just thought “play it cool sam, play it cool!” I entered the assembily area on that first morning, looked at all the new people and thought that there was more people in my year than there was at my entyer primary school!
I sat down and thought “Cant read, Cant wright, Cant spell – brillient!!!, im going to fit right in.
Although like an epesode of the imbertweeners I met some wicked friends who I still keep in contact with now. Anyway back to the story. So day one we were all put into forms, I was 7SG which was based in the lower school. We all resived our first time tables of lessions. I was realy into more active things and was told that the school provided 3 PE (physical eduaction) lessions a week. On looking at mine I only had 2… The afternoon wednesday slot did not say PE but clearly stated “special needs, upper school”.
I thought what the hell is “special needs”! also i hd heard about the horrors of traverling to the upperschool. A thin long path seperated the 2 schools, the chalindge was to get from one of the school to the other walking along the path with out geting nocked over off the path by the bigger kids. It was like some kind of gorntlet (gorn-ter-let) out of the old school gladiator TV program. I would like to add this happend to me but is a story for another time.
Wednesday soon came around, and the afternoon drew closer. When the pips (school bell) of the lession befor went off, all my friends went off to there PE lession and I took the gornterlet to the upper school. With freshly mudded trousers and a frustrated emotional face, I arrived at a side buliding next to the upper scool canteen. A small number of steps lead up to a blue wooded door with a big sign in the window saying “special needs class room”
I walked in and…… (the story continues in the next blog!!!!)
The aim of my blog is not to make me look like an idiot (which after reading this you are mostlikley thinking is not hard) but try to raise awarness of issues relating to dyslexia and the effects it can have on persons living with it (good and bad). For example the glassess and “special needs”storys makes me laugh because this just would not happen now (or does it…)
I guess I just want to give people an insite into my life which has been a rollacoster and given me emotional high and low points.
Anyway If you have enjoyed this and think I should keep going then please let me know.
Next month, local comedian and old school mate Mark Simmons has agreed for me to interview him about his memories of my dyslexia and about how hes doing post school. look out for next post. Look him up, he doing good!