“You were born an original, don’t die a copy” John Mason
I recently decorated the above canvas bag. I was inspired to do this because I created something similar at Women Making It (in Glasgow Women’s Library) and also by Richard Branson’s ‘Made by Dyslexia’ campaign.
I think it is time to list some clichés used to give advice:-
“Just be yourself”
“Think outside the box”
“We need innovative thinkers”
The thing is society and the education system “needs” or believes it needs everyone to think and learn in the same way in order to succeed. Obviously there is a need for orderly behaviour so that everyone can learn and get things done.
I think it is extremely important that every individual learns about their learning style and how their brain works (preferably as early in childhood as possible).
Let’s face it, the education system is already based on teaching the foundations first (like the alphabet and counting) before teaching reading and maths. However are these the correct foundations? If someone is unlucky enough not to learn these basics when they are “supposed to” they are disadvantaged, as all other subjects are taught through learners reading textbooks.
I only began to enjoy learning when I got to high school, when a whole array of much more complex subjects opened up to me. Although it may have helped that my parent’s persistence had finally got me “The Reading Centre” specialist help I really needed in the last few years of primary school.
Back to my bag message “Dyslexia Made Me, Society Tried To Stop Me” those first 4 to 5 years of primary school when I just couldn’t learn no matter how hard I tried definitely took their toll.
I have achieved a BSc Honours degree. Some people may think I have had success and they may wonder why I have not carried it through to my career.
The thing is a child’s confidence and self-esteem can only take so much. Similar to some other people with dyslexia I seem to have a bit of imposter syndrome. That is, I am always concerned I will be discovered not to be “worthy” or “good enough”. I went off to primary school those first few days with no worries about learning, it was being there that gave me issues.
If society could be more open to difference (and if we could stop teaching our children that there is only one way to learn) perhaps we could ALL SHINE.
Possibly by starting from each person’s learning style we could tackle complex issues like: bullying, youth knife/gang crime, drug/alcohol misuse, prison overcrowding and homelessness.
Respect and freedom from fear could work miracles if they were only given a chance.
Doreen Kelly, Dyslexia Scotland Volunteer and Member