Most people think dyslexia just affects reading and writing and sometimes they underestimate how challenging it can be for us.
We often get branded lazy and slackers which then lowers our confidence. If you ever hear this from someone just point them to this article and see if they could cope with all this going on while living with the normal dramas of day to day life. I bet they would be tired too.
I have listed a few things I struggle with to highlight this. This is not all my barriers, but they are the most popular. I tend to have flare ups as well so I could have a really great day with one of two of these or I get all these barriers in the one day and I just want to curl up under my duvet and sleep.
I will be elaborating on these points in future posts but here is a taster of a dyslexic’s mind and the barriers we face.
- The head fog – The struggle to get an idea on paper:
Quite often I get a head fog (I get it while writing this blog now). You have so many ideas in your head, but you struggle to get them out onto paper or even say them correctly when talking. This makes your head feel cluttered and often causes stress and frustration as people do not understand what you are trying to say. You also get very tired because of this as you use the extra energy to concentrate more.
- Telling the time:
I was unable to tell the time until I was 14. I was much better at telling digital time as it is one straight line of 4 numbers. But I cannot tell the time of normal clock face with arrows as the numbers move around so I cannot see what the arrow points too. This affects me a lot in exams as quite often I cannot see how much time I have left. And have you ever noticed what clock is normally in an exam room? It is not a digital one I can tell you and you’re not normally allowed to bring one in.
- Organisation and time management or the lack of it:
A lot of my friends would argue that I have no issues with this however, I really do. I am fine now as I have coping mechanisms in place to help me but before I was diagnosed, I would stress out about this. This links to head fog as we have so many ideas and cannot express them it makes us quite chaotic people who get distracted easily. Due to this my time management was not good as I would desperately try to focus on one task that it would cause me to run out of time to do others. Which people would then label me lazy.
- I struggled with ‘simple’ tasks rather than difficult:
If you are dyslexic you may find that you struggle with the ‘simple work’ but when you get given harder work you get better grades (that is if you can get them to give you the harder work in the first place). This is because your brain is wired differently. For example, in maths I would struggle to complete a 1 mark question for reflecting a triangle on to a graph which the teacher would say was easy marks and to never miss out as they only take a minute to complete. Well that would take me 20mins because the squares and lines on my graph paper move around. But Algebra, where you find the value of something that isn’t there and 10 marks – oh I was great at those! I could complete one of those in 2 mins.
I don’t really need to say much on this. My spelling is shocking. I spell so bad that not even google can recognise it sometimes. I often spell by how I sound a word. I struggle a bit too when it comes up wrong on spellcheck but I do not know which word is correct because I don’t know how it is spelt in the first place. I will be giving a list of words I can’t spell soon to show you how a dyslexic spells and why.
- Saying the wrong words:
I do this so much and I’ve just learnt to laugh at myself now. Before I used to get upset and think people were laughing at me. As your brain is so busy you often will say the wrong word when you talk or type. For example, I once noted some foods on my mums shopping list and confused her when I was meant to ask for pears, but I wrote polar bears. This can be quite embarrassing and most of the time you wont even notice you have done it – not even when you read it back to yourself.
- Lack of punctuation and words missing when you write:
This is major barrier of mine and I get told I’m lazy so much because I haven’t proof read. I have checked this article 12 times and bet some of my book reader friends will wince while reading this. Because it is an effort to write correctly and spell correctly, I often forget to put in punctuation. Because our brains are used to trying to unjumble letters, we automatically place punctuation and words in when we read. The amount of times I was told to proof read was frustrating. This often happens when I text now for example, I miss out the word ‘and’, full stops and commas all the time. My friends will be like “what? your text doesn’t make sense Kate”. But when I read it, it does. (I hope I used those speech marks correctly).
- Poor short term memory:
You know that phrase if you can’t remember what you were going to say, it can’t be that important. Yeah, that is not correct for a dyslexic at all. We struggle to keep information in our head. The amount of times I used to scare my mum by going “mum! I have that school trip tomorrow; I needed the money 2 weeks ago”. This then links with other issues like not understanding instructions and not completing work on time.
I am very bad with directions. I can get lost so easily its unreal. I used to get so nervous for my uni exams as I was more concerned on finding the place than the actual exam. I have got lost at work before looking for a coffee machine as our one on our floor broke (Bear in mind I had worked there for 3 years at this point and there was only 3 floors). I got the coffees fine but I couldn’t remember the way back to my department. So much so I had to text my colleague and ask her to come find me which as you can imagine went down as right laugh in the office.
- Lack of confidence:
All through my life I have been told I’m not confident and have been described by a teacher as ‘a bunny caught in the headlights’. This is totally true I am, and this will reflect in my blog writing. I am a person that apologises all the time however, I have come a long way as I was so much worse when I was younger. The key is too pretend you are confident (as it is just one thing you won’t fully be as a dyslexic). Once you realise actually I have things the non-dyslexics cant do which gives you so much more power it’s a lot easier to show.
These are just a taster of what this blog will discuss. Please also note these are only the effects of my dyslexia. I haven’t even shown you the effects of my irlens on top this and I feel irlens is harder than dyslexia is sometimes. And remember 8 out of 10 dyslexics will have that condition too.
Something to think about.