Posted By Kathleen David on October 23, 2013
Last night Jon Stewart had Malcolm Gladwell on to talk about his new book entitled “David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants”. I have read a couple of books by Mr. Gladwell including Blink. I find his style easy to read however I tend to take some of his simplifications of complex problems with a salt lick.
He touched on something that I have been living with my entire life. I don’t exactly hide it nor do I talk about it a lot. It is just part of me and I have, over the years, learned to deal with it.
I am dyslexic and rather severely so. I have learned a number of skills that makes it less obvious to the world at large but it comes up in the oddest places.
I didn’t learn there was a name for what was going on in my head until college and I got a freshman English teacher who was studying dyslexia.
What I did know is that I had no idea that there was a difference between my right and my left until the fourth grade where my left was when I dropped my arms down next to my desk, my watch on my left hand would make a clicking sound when it hit the desk.
Now here is the funny thing, I may not be able to call up my left from my right but I am very good at directions. Take me somewhere a couple of times and I can find my way back to it. And I retain things that I learned years ago. The GPS arrow has been my friend because it gives me a visual of how I need to go. Don’t ask me how to get somewhere because I have to really work on the lefts and rights. But have me take you there and I am golden. Over the years I have gotten better about left and right and, for the most part, I can tell one for another but it can be a struggle.
In elementary school and high school I got low marks for spelling. I was informed that I was a lazy speller on my report cards. “Kathleen is a wonderful reader however she can work harder on her spelling.” I can’t tell you how many Happy Brithday Cards I created. And it was very frustrating for me as a child. It didn’t look wrong when I wrote it and even when it was pointed out, it would take me a while to see it. I hated spelling a lot because I couldn’t get it right no matter how hard I studied.
This still happens. Spell checker has become my best buddy and I have worked hard to learn how to spell things. There are words that I recheck several times because I know that they are my problem works.
Numbers and I get along just great. Mathematics makes sense to me. I don’t change them around. I had more fun with higher math. I could see the patterns in the numbers. I enjoy deconstructing a problem. I still do long division in my head to get to sleep. I love math so much.
The other mad skill I have is spatial relations. Peter is always impressed how I can look at a pile of suitcases and boxes and the like and get them to fit into the car for a convention. I can look at an empty space and figure out how I can Tetris things into it. If I say it is going to fit, it will fit. 3-D works in my brain. However 2-D and I have issues which explains my negative drawing abilities. I think it might have something to do with the dyslexia or something else my brain does or doesn’t do.
I have learned to live with my dyslexia. I really don’t know what would have happened if it had been diagnosed earlier. And frankly I don’t care. I think there are things that I do better because of it. I don’t make a big deal about it because it really doesn’t define me it just a part of me like my height or my blue eyes.
I am grateful for spell checkers.