I can’t imagine that there can be a disorder that is more entertaining than dyslexia. Those daily “WTF??? Misreads” of headlines really put some “happy-sauce” on my days at least.
That article about “The Octopus Complex” immediately grabbed my attention, making my chronically curious mind wonder what on earth that could be? A second later those letters rearranged themselves, as if they were part of a mystery puzzle that magically got solved, and revealed: “AHAA! An Oedipus complex?!?!”. I’ve read the article as it seemed pretty interesting, and I’ve interchanged the word Oedipus with octopus at several places to make it even more interesting and fun for private entertainment purposes.
“Pretension” very easily becomes “penetration”. “Blindness can’t see its own penetration” I’ve read. And even though I thought it was entirely logical, I still found it awkward enough to give it a second look. Or what about a recipe in the seafood section of a cookbook called “Porn soup” ?
I believe that Freud would have had a very conclusive theory about precisely these examples. Possibly related to “octopus complexes”.
Sometimes you have false positives too. In the land of “Uaregay the capital is Montevideo”. I nuan, yes it is really Montevideo, also after a second look, and also after a third. That must have been a dyslectic coining up that name I conclude.
So being dyslectic is a healthy dose of daily entertainment with the same kind of entertainment-value as those misheard musical lyrics.
I often call it “Dysxelia” for fun. It is comical how many people have told me: “Ehm it is not Dysxelia but ehm, Dyslexia!” Try it sometime for laughs.
OMG! You must be a GENIUS!
Being dyslectic can easily make you feel a bit stupid, while stumbling and stammering and tumbling and fumbling with those wiggly words (that made me feel like a Jack Kerouac by the way), so let’s make a small list of people who might make you see yourself in a different light.
- Orlando Bloom, Whoopi Goldberg, Tom Cruise, Patrick Dempsey, Keanu Reeves, Guy Ritchie, Steven Spielberg, Robert Benton (Why not start in the film industry?)
- Steve Jobs , Richard Branson, David Rockefeller (So you can also be an entrepreneur!)
- Nikolai Tesla, Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, Pierre Curie, Michael Faraday, Galileo Galilei, James Clerk Maxwell (Jeepers! We understand science too?)
- Lewis Carroll, Terry Goodkind, John Irving, F. Scott Fitzgerarld, Jules Verne, Agatha Christie, WB Yeats, Gustave Flaubert.(WHAT? We dyslectics, we can write???)
- King Carl XVI Gustaf from Sweden, King Olav V of Norway (See? You can even be a Scandinavian king!)
- George Washington (Or you can always become a first president!)
- John Lennon, Mica, Ozzy Osbourne, Cher, Alison Goldfrapp, Beethoven, Kurt Cobain, Nigel Kennedy, Mozart (Ozzy and Amadeus on the same line. I love that! Who would have guessed that one?)
- Jamie Oliver (O hell yeah! We dyslectics we can cook!!!)
- Pablo Picasso, Leonardo da Vinci (again?), Jackson Pollock, August Rodin, Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg (And boy do we make art!)
- Leonardo da Vinci (I am giving this man his own category!)
As you can see is your dyslexia not something to be ashamed of. You can even be proud of it. Just consider your talents.
The fact that you are slightly impaired with your reading and writing just becomes dwarfed next to your particular perspective and talented sides. Of course you don’t need to be an Einstein, but just look at what it is that makes your brain work in a more genuine and quirkier way and enjoy that!
Spatial versus Linear
Maybe you have already gotten a general idea through those famous dyslectics whether those are generally “big-picture-people” or “little-picture-people”.
Dyslectic people seem to have a property of non-linear logics. This is why so many fail in an educational system that is mainly linear-based. Dyslectics learn from the big picture, they learn through experimentation and experience rather than through theory. This makes them great artists, musicians, painters, architects, designers, (oddly enough) authors, and of course inventors.
So this spatial awareness and pretty silent left-brain-hemisphere just make you too long sighted (in a way) to be able to effortlessly focus on words. You can read them and write them, but it just takes you a lot more effort than others.
As a dyslectic myself I don’t want to say that dyslexia turns you into a genius, but I find that you, as a dyslectic, may absolutely see yourself that way. Just regard it positively, even though you may find yourself caught in a funky web of jiving and dancing words every now and again.
There are some ways to improve your functioning with those words, lets have a look at them.
Lets look at some tools.
- First of all! SPELL-CHECK! What a life saver! Those little red dots, those I can’t miss! And my computer sees with a right mouse click a better version of a word that I see nothing wrong with, and it corrects it by magic for me. Maybe it doesn’t filter out the difference between “Fork” and “Pork”, but still it helps a great deal.
- We, with that spatial awareness, have this problem that we tend to overlook the details. This is the reason why we may have a bigger problem with reading than with writing. But there is some help that puts some linearity into your spatial mind. Fonts that have been developed especially for dyslectics. They works by creating more connectivity between the words. Two of these fonts are “Lexia” and “Opendyslexic“. They can be downloaded via the links and can be used for free.
These fonts are a life saver if you need to read something out loud in front of an audience or when you need to spell-check a text. You only may have to make some effort to step over their ugliness because they are not created for aesthetics.
- Read out loud to find your grammatical mistakes. Double words and commas are easier to find when you vocalize a sentence out loud. I can read a sentence 10 times and miss a glitch that I catch straight away reading it out loud.
- Do you need to speak for a crowd? My tip is to memorize if you can! Don’t rely too much on paper when it’s not needed. Rely more on your knowledge and use your spatial mind to create the story then and there. That will captivate your audience.
- ENLARGE! BOLDEN, CAPITALISE and HYPHEN: In my days of public speaking and readings (I did quite some) I felt like a 90 y.o. granny sometimes. The only thing missing were those -18 diopter spectacles. Text that commonly would fit on 1 A4, suddenly became spread over 5 pages. It felt slightly silly, but I’ve always managed! Words that I commonly misread I wrote with capital letters or I used to hy-phe-nate those. And at places where the sentence really needed a good emphasis there I marked them with bold. All of this helped a great deal. Another thing that helps a lot is vertical space between the lines.
Anyway. Be “Big and Bold” with what you need to read out loud. Especially when you are not on your computer with one of those fonts that we have mentioned before. Just pick the verdana font. That one is highly readable too.
For the rest it is just hard work. This article I’ve written in little over an hour including coffee and some other distractions in-between. The nitpicking of anything that can go wrong in anyone’s text will literally take me 5x as long. So writing is easy to me because I know well how to spell, but it is not that easy at all at the last check. At that phase I have to concentrate on practically each letter. Especially when I need to rewrite a part of a sentence. But still it is a process and a way of learning. I don’t let that impair me. I see the benefit of it. This word – impairment only means that it takes a bit more work, but that is all.
So I usually hear : “Oh, but I’ve never noticed that you are dyslectic!”, and that is actually one of the greatest compliments that I can get. But still I am never sure if that what I put out is 100% faultless, but that’s ok. Especially with this article because chances are big that you are dyslectic too, making you hop with perfect elegance over all my glitches.
If you are dyslectic then you have a very entertaining gift! Just enjoy its quirks it and love how your brain works with less linear structuring, turning every thought, idea and concept into a big adventure that you can explore. And last but not least? Never be ashamed. Be as bold as a bold Verdana can be, and as elegant as Zapfino.
by Douwe Boschma.
Photo credit: www.photos-public-domain.com