Thursday, April 30, 2009

Interuption to Japan Posts - Dyslexia

Sorry to stop the Japan posts but I am in a tizz - thanks to the article in 7 Days on Monday I am being filmed for a documentary on dyslexia this afternoon (What do i wear???) and I was thinking about writers who are dyslexic. I am dyslexic and although my mother was told this when I was in third grade nothing much was done to work with it because very little was known about it in the 'dark ages.' Aside from reading aloud problems and huge spelling difficulties I made it successfully through school to receive my degree in English (concentration in creative writing and Medival Studies) from Mt. Holyoke. So my dyslexia didn't stop me and I am wondering if in a strange way it helped me along my road to becoming a writer.

I want to know how many writers are dyslexic. Are there are 'names' out there? Have they spoken of it? The famous dyslexics that heralded are the likes of Einstein and even Richard Branson. Where are the writers in this list?

The film maker has already interviewed the artist Sacha Jafri for the documentary and I had spoken to him last year about his dyslexia - but most people see where it fits with art. For my son it fits with his skill in maths and sciences.

I just wonder those of us writers who are dyslexics - did the struggles with words lead you closer to them? Did the triumph of reading that first book set your creative fire alight? Did the frustration of having a million stories in your head push you to the long hours of hard work to get those stories on the page?

11 comments:

ChrisH said...

Really sorry, Liz, I can't help at all with the dyslexia stuff, but just wanted to wish you good luck for this afternoon. I'm sure you'll be fine.

Yummy Mammy said...

Yep, this is one I get to hold my hand up to. Wasn't diagnoised though until I was 19 and started dramatically failing at Uni, which then prompted an even bigger career change from Law to Accountancy. I had actually done well at school and when I was diagnoised they said that if it had been picked up earlier then I would have done loads better. Seemingly I have an excellent memory and I got by in school because I just remembered everything instead of reading it up later.

I've learnt to deal with it now but spelling is still a massive weakness (god bless microsoft word) and I've gone from never reading anything to reading pretty much everything. I'm also more aware in my own writing that dyslexia is out there but people still want to read so I tend to keep it simple enough and not use too many big words.

liz fenwick said...

Thanks Chrish!

YM - its frustrating when you know you could have done better but it is also wonderful to look how well you did do without the help and support! The keeping it simple is good - just did a scan on my web site and it rated too high on age! Must review it soon.

Ah, Spelling, my eternal downfall even with Word. If I type in a correctly spelt word but not the right/wright/rite one.....

lx

SueG said...

Not exactly an answer to your question, but my son was diagnosed with dyslexia when he was 14, and although he has struggled with spelling and proof reading his own work, knowing about his challenge has actually helped him. Rather than be frustrated, he's allowed himself the time and accommodations he needs. He's a very good writer and (if I may boast) he just got accepted to Harvard, so it hasn't been too much of a problem for him. But I think the main benefit is that of awareness, not only of the way his own brain works, but of what he is thinking and writing when he is doing it.

Susie Vereker said...

How exciting. Good luck with your media appearances!

liz fenwick said...

SueG - huge congrats to your son that is a fantastic accomplishment (and he can enjoy my favourite city). Mine is now beginning to see his dyslexia as a gift - he sees the world in a different way which the world needs.

Thanks Susie. It was an interesting experience and I only hope that what came out will help other parents to realize that a dyslexic child is a gift and not a burden.

JJ Beattie said...

Liz, I'm too late and can't be helpful anyway. I suspect my daughter may be mildly dyslexic: there is certainly a history in my husband's family. At the risk of making it sound like you're all lab rats, dyslexia is a fascinating subject. I hope the filming went well.

Fiona said...

Liz I'm very dyslexic. Only properly diagnoised last month by the OU. Also have Irwin's syndrome(problems with colours). The OU told me to read white text on blue backgroud - so, so much easier.

Leigh Russell said...

I was blogging with a dyslexic author only today - and I can't remember his name! I spent many years supporting dyslexic students and it's inspiring for them to hear about people like you, Liz. And of course you know that dyslexics have larger brains than non-dyslexics. People in education used to make a huge fuss about spelling, because it's visible and measurable, but it's actually pretty unimportant, as long as your meaning is clear. Shakespeare spelled his own name at least 17 different ways and it didn't hold him back. And what about Leonardo da Vinci? Einstein? Hans Christian Anderson? etc etc Good luck with the filming. How exciting!

Calistro said...

Our very own Rowan Coleman is dyslexic!

Rachel said...

Hi,
Sorry, I guess I'm a bit late to be of much help, but just in case you get called on again...

I was a teacher (for a short while, before the children ate me alive) and one of the halls was decorated with images of famous people who were dyslexic. The writers I remember are Agatha Christie, F Scott Fitzgerald, Yeats, Flaubert and Hans Christian Anderson. I'm sure there were more but I'm not gifted with Yummy Mammy's excellent memory!