Monday, September 21, 2009

A Life Long Condition

I am cognisant of my dyslexia primarily because I am blogging about it on a regular basis. But by in large, I don’t think of myself as learning dysabled very often. When I was a kid, a lot of the time I felt like there was a giant D on my forhead. Everyone knew that I was dyslexia, and there was no way to hide it. Somehow being the captain of the mathleates and failing to learn the spelling of my own name until my senior year of high school made me unique enough to catch people’s attention. Even if I spent all of elementry school coming up with complicated stratagies to excel in school without ever reading anything, I did eventually learn my ABC’s. I know how to read now, and often feel somewhat cured. Like I used to be dyslexic, but now I’m at least relatively normal.

I was in this mind set when my husband noticed an add for free testing for adults with dyslexia in the newspaper a few months ago. He jokingly suggested that I go get tested. Of course I didn’t go. I had enough diacnostic tests in elementry school and didn’t feel the need to sit through more now. Still a part of me wondered if I would come up positive on a dyslexia exam now. I read all the time, I write whole books, I’m done being disabled right? My husband actually laughed out loud at this assessment, and then went on to prove to me how far from over being dyslexic I am.

His first exibit was the grocery list tacked to our refrigerator door. Apparently, letus, orenges, and cheeze aren’t real foods. These words may show up on second graders spelling lists, but at age 30 I still don’t know how to spell them. Not cured.

After reminding me of my bad spelling he asked me to read the news paper article out loud to him. I couldn’t do it. I read books all the time and I think of myself as literate, but I almost never read outloud. It was oddly sad, hearing myself stumble over each word – short words – that I had to carefully sound out and then go back and reread when I realized two words later that I had misspoke.

What am I going to do when I have kids? How am I going to read them bedtime stories? I guess I could just play audio books in their bedrooms all night every night. Or maybe I’ll just force myself to memorize all their favorite picture books, so I can resite to them at bedtime instead of reading. Or maybe my kids will be dyslexic too, and I’ll just stumble allong and give them choppy bedtime stories that are painful to listen to, but hopefully inspiring at the same time. Because even if I can’t spell “letus” and I have to sound out the word “the”, I rairly feel disabled. I love to read, and write, and I don’t care if I’ll never do either well. At least I can limp along, and for a long time I never thought that would happen.


Bryan, Porsche, Mircea, and Casper said...

hey kate,
my babysitter is dyslexic, and my daughter loves having her read to her. In fact one of the things her mom made her do to gain confidence in reading was volunteer at elementary schools (kindergarten) and read.
hmmm now that I think about it, I have dyslexia in my family and my husband has several siblings with it. Books on record/tape/cd are great--but nothing beats hearing it out loud--of course, there is no reason why your husband can't read out loud to you and your kids! :)
Once we hit chapter book age my dad was the one who read out loud, and mom would listen with us kids--it was great family time--we went on lots of adventures together with the classics!
by the way, i totally enjoy your blog.

quixotic said...

You can always make up stories for your kiddo's rather than reading them aloud from books. =p Kids love to look at pictures and make up stories. Don't worry too much.

When they are tiny, so are their stories. I haven't read goodnight moon in probably 3 years, but i still have it memorized lol. You will do find when the kiddo's come.

Oh and who says Cheeze isn't a food. I'm a horrible speller and I've misspelled that word since I was little. =)
I will probably do that for as long as I live, LoL.

Lindsey Himmler said...

I hope you realize how amazing you are. This is a beautiful blog entry. Who cares about spelling?