Pay it Forward

I’ve just watched NCIS within which Franklin D. Roosevelt was quoted. The following inspired me to write this post:-

“We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.”

The storyline of the episode included bullying and how disenfranchised young people were being radicalised through internet chat rooms.

Anyway, enough about NCIS. I am dyslexic and I have known I was since around Primary 6. I have also been bullied throughout school and since. So I completely empathised with the young boy who turned to Gibbs and said, something like: “I’m useless, everyone hates me”.

The point I am trying to get to is (in my opinion): Dyslexia should be diagnosed and diagnosed early. Dyslexia should be called Dyslexia because that is what it is. In my opinion, it is not a label which will hinder children. By not calling children with dyslexia “Dyslexic” we allow playground chatter to label them Stupid.

People with physical disabilities are allowed (in fact often encouraged) to name their condition. I believe those of us with neurodiversity issues should be given the same right.

I have heard there are many studies that show huge proportions of our prison population have neurodiverse issues. I am by no means excusing their crimes, as I have never been involved in criminal behaviour. I would be willing to bet, if similar studies were done of unemployed people, large numbers of them would have neurodiverse issues too.

Perhaps we could live in a society which wholly accepts diversity, starting from the most vulnerable of our children. A society which tries to create flexible environments, within which everyone had space and time to grow and blossom, and not just a select few. Perhaps many more people would respect themselves and each other. Perhaps our prisons would not be overcrowded. Perhaps unemployment would be reduced and the staff in our JobCentres would not be overworked and stressed (and may have the time to provide tailored, helpful support). Perhaps our teachers could have a break (occasionally) from disciplining children and actually teach: which is why many of them went into the profession.

Perhaps we could start constructing a society based on listening, understanding and working: rather than finger-pointing, telling and pigeon-holing. Perhaps we could work on this society in a hands on way and not just pay it lip service. Perhaps then we could have a united country within which most are contributing to the community, benefits are available for the most vulnerable and law and order is valued.

Clearly the issues I have explored are extremely complex and cannot and will not be solved by some nice words and ideas. Because let’s face it, I am not the first (and won’t be the last) to write something like this.

I doubt that any of these issues can be completely solved. They definitely will not be solved with just one strategy. Many strategies will be required. But would it not be worth it in order to wake up without thinking when the next terrorist attack will be, or the next tragic school shooting will be?

I would strongly recommend everyone be taught stress control techniques, because the figures of stressed people out there are horrific. Also, I learned about stopping, removing the blinkers and then employing a challenge technique when ‘grasshopper’ thinking takes hold. I attended lectures put on by the NHS: and the program was created by Dr Jim White. I have written an article about this for the next members’ only magazine “Dyslexia Voice”.

Doreen Kelly

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