(I wrote this as one of four essays back in 2015. Some of the data will have changed but my sentiments remain just as crochety. And, of course, I’ve largely stopped working as a freelance journalist and gone back to making pots, which may or may not be meaningful – who knows.)
I’ve said some hard things now and then about some of the attitudes to dyslexia perpetrated by well meaning and decent people. So, just for once, I’ll be positive.
Firstly, in the course of my educational career I met some truly wonderful people. Looking back on it I don’t think any of them were trained in any significant way, certainly not as far as dyslexia was concerned. But then, 50 and more years ago although the term `dyslexia’ was known and the condition was being addressed there wasn’t much knowledge or training available. The result was that the thing that distinguished those teachers was their ability to recognise my struggles and respond to my individual needs. Bless them all.
Secondly, there is now really good information out there. (Even if some of it comes with a dose of patronising twoddle. For which please see other postings.) The British Dyslexia Association (www.bdadyslexia.org.uk) is worth its weight in gold. Also, I recently came across `Dyslexia FAQ – What it is and what to do to help’ (www.speld-sa.org.au). It was clear, simple to navigate and spoke sense. I’m sure everyone will find their own sites and places for help. If they work for you they’re good, no matter what anyone else says.
Thirdly, God bless computers. Without that first PC, bought for me by my partner, I doubt I would ever have got a degree and a masters. There were no spell checkers back then (like many dyslexics before me I relied on the good will of my partner) but it enabled me to write muddled text and then organise it using cut and paste techniques. From there I was able to move into my career as a freelance journalist. I could never work as a staffer due to my rubbish subbing skills, but I could freelancer, which I did for 18 years.
Lastly, five years after writing the above I can honestly say that all those years of working from home are finally paying off. When all the office workers were finding it tough to be sent home during lockdown I was in my element. And so I suspect were many of my fraternity. Which has to be some kind of silver lining.