Film review: ‘Read me Differently’

How might dyslexia affect relationships in a family? And how might those effects impact on individual family members?  That is what this documentary examines.  The director Sarah Entine found her family’s reaction to her dyslexia more challenging than the dyslexia itself.  3 generations struggled to communicate due to undiagnosed dyslexia and Attention Deficit Disorder.  Sarah wanted to see if she could improve the situation.

 

3 aspects of Sarah’s experience particularly struck me.

  1. The contrast between her school and home experiences. School was structured; home was a battle to gain her mother’s approval and acceptance through reading aloud.
  2. Although Sarah was identified as dyslexic at primary school, she didn’t understand her dyslexia until she was 29.
  3. Sarah identified communication as part of the challenge of dyslexia. As her experience highlights, while the obvious difficulties of dyslexia and ADD might grab our attention, we might fail to notice and address communication difficulties. As a result, our relationships – and we – can suffer.

 

I particularly appreciated the following aspects of this film.

  1. It is candid. With every photo and comment, I was able to make a direct comparison in my own life. That helped me to reflect on my own experience.
  2. It is clear and told by the person it’s about. Sarah narrates the film herself, very articulately.
  3. It doesn’t draw general conclusions from one individual’s experience. Instead, it focuses on real examples. This makes it convincing.
  4. It is realistic but also positive. There are poignant and moving moments but these are balanced by light-hearted ones. It inspires hope of change in the family context and shows us how change can be achieved.
  5. It discusses non-literacy difficulties of dyslexia including the following:
    1. The challenges dyslexic individuals can face in employment e.g. multi-tasking, clear communication, note-taking, distractions in an open-plan office, stress
    2. Short term memory e.g. word finding, telling stories of what happened over the course of a weekend
    3. Sequencing e.g. starting to talk mid-way through a thought, recounting a film in the correct sequence
    4. Social interaction e.g. Sarah didn’t talk at the tea table
    5. Feeling that we don’t fit in with our peers or at home
    6. Processing speed
    7. Summarising
    8. Auditory processing (as Sarah puts it, this is ‘pretty central in one’s life’ because it’s how we take in information)
    9. Reading comprehension (as distinct from reading)
    10. Non-verbal reasoning – brilliantly demonstrated when Sarah, her mum and grandma collaborate to self-assemble a piece of furniture.
  6. It gives several different perspectives: Dyslexic adult, dyslexic child, dyslexic learner (from primary school to postgraduate studies), parent of dyslexic child, specialist teacher.

 

I’d recommend using this film:

  1. For dyslexia meetings and Dyslexia Awareness Week events. The viewing guide provides discussion prompts, and activities for children and families.
  2. As a prompt for family members to reflect together on
  • how dyslexia affects their family relationships,
  • how they each communicate, and
  • whether there’s anything they could do to improve communication

3.  As a training resource e.g. for counsellors and educators.

 

My top tips for watching the film:

  1. You can stream it for individual use for 3 days from http://www.newdaydigital.com/Read-Me-Differently.html. This option is not available on the film’s website.
  2. If possible, watch the film more than once. I definitely gleaned more content on the 2nd and 3rd viewings. It’s only 55 minutes long.
  3. If at any point the visuals are distracting you from what is being said, listen to the audio with your eyes shut.

 

This blog has been written by a member of Dyslexia Scotland.

Scrabbled: or is that Scrambled?!

A story about how dyslexic strengths can rule in the most unlikely places!

I submitted the following to the Scottish Book Trust 50 word fiction competition in April 2016 (there is generally a new writing prompt every month).

http://scottishbooktrust.com/reading/the-50-word-fiction-competition

So Dad you’re a wordsmith!

Can you use letters strategically?

Really?!?

Astounding words are rarely possible with 7 random tiles.    

But I’ll place just a few tiles,

Behold I’ve created 3 wee words!

Let’s count!

Every tile counted at least twice.

Dyslexia equals talent!!!

I didn’t win the competition, but hey winning isn’t everything. Like that old saying, tells us: ‘it’s the taking part that counts’! This is particularly true of my experience with this piece, as soon as I saw the scrabble tiles in the picture on the Scottish Book Trust’s website, I was inspired.

After I finished university and I was looking for a job (I was still living at home). Dad and Mum had recently started doing the crossword in the paper (as Dad had heard this was a good way to keep the older mind active). Which led to us also bringing the old Scrabble set back out too.

Please allow me a short aside to tell you about the writing of the above piece. I was worried about the very low word count: so I decided to use the acrostic technique. And I had just intended to write about a game of scrabble. Writing about how: tactics often win out against someone who sounds like they have swallowed a dictionary. So I had pretty much finished my piece. And before I was aware of thinking it: the last three word line had arrived on the page.

OK after that aside. Back to our cosy Scrabble games. So we threw out the rule book: changing the normally competitive game into a co-operative endeavour (a couch co-op, if you like). As, even although (at that point) I had just achieved a BSc Hons degree (and immediately before that a CSYS, Highers and Standard grades), my spelling was still hit and miss. And as I would probably end up showing most of my tray each turn, with incorrect spellings. So we may as well all show our hands to each other.

Anyway, before long I realised that much better scores could be achieved by placing words like: – to, on, it, bat or cat (etc) down the side of an existing word. This is because you (then) get to count each of your tiles at least twice and use your letters much more strategically. Because Scrabble is not the arena through which to demonstrate your wide-ranging and academically-impressive vocabulary.

Just another example of how dyslexia and its unique gifts crop up in the most unlikely situations. 3 cheers for the lateral out-of-the-Scrabble-box thinking of us dyslexics!

Cheerie cheerio, Doreen Kelly

Doreen_minions1

 

Are you a scrabble whiz?

Have you used your brilliant visual talents to conquer the written word?

Has the above post expanded your understanding of dyslexia?