People with Dyslexia seem to be some of the most creative people in the world; it is believed that people who suffer from deficiencies on the left side of their brain, like those with Dyslexia, are more prone to strengths on the right side of their brain, such as visual thinking, spatial ability, pattern recognition, problem solving, heightened intuition and creativity.
I am not afraid to admit that I am Dyslexic, though I have become quite creative when it comes to appearing as though I am not. I was diagnosed in the 5th grade after bring home one of the worst report cards ever. When my mom went in to talk to my teacher about my grades the teacher told her that I was a very smart girl but when it came to test time I just didn’t get it. As it turns out I was struggling to read and understand the tests.
They put me in the ‘Special Ed’ classes but I didn’t like going because it was embarrassing to have to get up in the middle of class and go have your tests read to you. The other kids didn’t understand so in High School I started going less to have my test read. I was forcing myself to deal with the problem and not use the crutch that the school system had given me.
This became even clearer to me that it wasn’t working when I failed my driver’s test, twice, because I couldn’t read the test. When I explained to the lady giving me the test that I was dyslexic and accustom to having my written test read to me, she laughed and explained that it was against government policy to do so. She read a few of the questions to me that I had gotten wrong and I was able to answer them correctly out aloud. I had one try left; if I failed this time then I would have to wait 6 months to try again. I passed, but just barely. It was frustrating to me that I couldn’t do it, I think I even went home and cried. I just felt so stupid.
After that I quit going all together. I couldn’t see the point in going and do that if once I graduated I would fail at everything because no one would help me. There had to be a better way. I knew that I was a creative person; surely I could figure this out.
It wasn’t until I was in my High School Psychology class that I realized what I was doing wrong. While I was struggling to understand the written langue, I knew that I was a good listener. Our teacher in that class was an older woman and usual set in her ways. She would lecture us for an hour and we had to take notes to turn in at the end of the class. Well it took entire brain to write so that it was readable and spelled correctly, there was no way that I could listen to someone talk and remember what they said while I was trying so hard to write. I tried to do as she asked and I failed the first two tests. So one day I just sat there and listened to her talk, jotting down some quickly hard to read notes, then took the test, I passed but the teacher wasn’t happy when I turned in my horrible written notes. I was honest and I explained to her that I just couldn’t do both. The next semester I had her again and she changed her policy, if it helped you to take notes you could. You didn’t have to but if she caught you slacking off or not paying attention, then you had to. I happily listened to her every day and passed all my tests.
By the time I graduated High School I pretty much had it down to a science. They pulled me in for an exit interview because I was still listed as being in the ‘special education’ system. The woman doing the interview noted that I had not been in to have my test read in a while. I explained to her the awful discovery that I made when I went to get my driver license. The system wasn’t working for me; society wasn’t going to read to me. I felt like I needed to learn to adapt in order to survive and I also wasn’t going to be looked at like I was stupid just because I struggled to read and write.
Yes, I was faking it. Dyslexia isn’t something you can see when you look at some so I made up my mind that I would never lie about it but I was tired of people thinking that I was illiterate or not very bright. When called to read allowed in classes I would skip a head while others read to figure out what I was going to have to read and memorized as many of the words as I could. I also used book marks to keep my place. I found very creative on ways to pretend to be normal.
In College though I did take advantage of the resources available to ‘handicapped’ students I never told anyone what I was dyslexic. I didn’t want to be treated any differently from the other students. I did however cringe when the administrative staff would refer to my assistance as “Vocational Rehab”, to me that sounded like I was horribly disabled and in need of rehabilitation. My teachers however never put it together until we had to do speeches in Psychology class on a topic that was dear to our hearts. Mine was on being dyslexic and how people tend to treat you differently when they know that you are dyslexic.
After admitting it, one instructor asked me how I had been able to hide it for so long. I told her spell check and listening to what people say. I was reading the text books at home to stay ahead of the game. In typing classes where we had to type the sentences out of the book I would use a pink highlighter to mark every other line so that I couldn’t keep the lines from running together without using my finger. I was also quite proficient at typing one handed. I also memorized all the speeches that I had to give and the cards that I used during presentations usually only had a few words on them to help trigger the memory of what came next.
A lot of people say that when you are in some way impaired that you seem to make up for it in other ways. Maybe that is why so many creative people are in fact dyslexic. I no longer view it as a handicap; it’s more of just a different way of thinking. I can read but I prefer to make up my own stories instead.