Parent-School Partnership

Our son was diagnosed as dyslexic two years ago, when he was eight. Since then he has been receiving tuition outside school hours, in addition to the support he receives in school. His tutor mentioned that another child she taught had set up a Dyslexic ‘club’ at school; somewhere the emphasis was on socialising and not school work. We thought this was a great idea and would be helpful in boosting our son’s confidence, by showing him that he is not the only one who is dyslexic in the school.

We suggested the group to the school, although at first they were not sure how this would work. Under the supervision of a teacher, it was agreed the club would meet once a week over a lunchtime, as a trial.  This started last year and approximately ten children attended the group each week. Feedback from the children told us that they felt relieved to see that they were not the only child struggling with dyslexia in the school. One child’s response when joining the group was “you mean I’m not the only one?”.  My son said to me “mum there are some really clever people there too from p7!” The children, with the help of the teacher, got together and produced a PowerPoint presentation of Dyslexia and how it affects them.  They then presented this to the parents of the group one evening.   They used bullet points and pictures to help them and avoided using lots of writing and long words.  This presentation gave the children confidence and a sense of comradery.  The club was well attended, however when it was a sunny day the teacher noticed attendance dwindled.  Therefore, it was agreed with the input of the children, that it would move to once a week during morning break.  They felt that it was good to continue with the club, however didn’t want to miss out on playing with their friends outside during the lunch break.

At the same time, the Headteacher at the school set up a parent’s support group. This was a trial group also, to see if coming together to share ideas and difficulties would benefit those of us supporting a dyslexic child. The group met four times last year. Like the children, it was great to meet other parents who are experiencing difficulties helping their child with school work and life in general with dyslexia.  The Headteacher and club teacher were also present to give their input and receive feedback from parents.

In the future, we hope to produce a school leaflet for children and parents, explaining a bit about dyslexia and the help they can receive. We also hope to have guest speakers both at the children’s and adult groups, who can inspire and give strategies and advice to us all on managing life and work with dyslexia.

Both clubs are still in their infancy, however we feel we have taken a step forward in raising awareness in the school community about dyslexia. Most important of all, the children enjoy socialising and realising they are not alone, which is a great confidence boost.

Lorna Murray – guest blogger

 

The invisible superhero

Dyslexia is hardly a superpower – in fact it’s a ‘specific learning difficulty’. But this ‘difficulty’ seems to have a strange way of making people better at some things. Dyslexia often co-exists with high levels of:

  • creativity
  • intuition
  • interpersonal skills
  • perseverance and determination.

Look at Pablo Picasso, who never amounted to much in school but came up with a bold new artistic vision. Or Richard Branson, whose business acumen more than overcame his academic difficulties. These are only two names on a long list of dyslexic high achievers.

It’s not that being gifted causes dyslexia, of course. Nor is it proof of a genetic connection between dyslexia and creativity, the way blonde hair and blue eyes often go together. It could be that having a brain that’s wired differently gives you different abilities. Or it could be that struggling with everyday tasks like reading, writing and coordination simply pushes dyslexics to compensate. We use skills that aren’t hampered by our unusual brain wiring to make up for the ones that are. That sounds like a good thing – and it is. But unfortunately it can cause problems of its own, because dyslexia’s real superpower is invisibility.

I wasn’t diagnosed with dyslexia until I was in my teens. It probably didn’t help that I’m hardly a ‘classic case’; I was (and am) a voracious reader. My spelling may have been, let’s say, idiosyncratic, but my writing was fine for my age. Everything was fine for my age, in fact, and that was the problem. Unless a child is failing in something, their difficulties may not be picked up. It’s easy to see ‘careless’ or ‘rushed’ work by a child who is doing fine when it’s actually painstaking work by a child who is struggling to keep up. That label of ‘careless’ was the bane of my school life until a teacher who was trained in dyslexia finally saw the mismatch between my spoken ability and my written work.

After that I got extra time in exams and natty purple glasses to stop lines jumping around. I was also taught techniques to help me overcome my poor memory and spelling. They were so effective that I am now an excellent proofreader, and people are impressed by how well I remember names! But if I hadn’t been diagnosed, perhaps I would simply believe that I was ‘careless’, always letting myself down.

Some people believe that dyslexia is a ‘gift’. I’m not sure that I agree with them. I had a friend at Scotland’s top university who could not write without a voice-operated computer. That didn’t seem like a gift. My younger sister can never fully enjoy a book because reading is such hard work. To me, who inhales books, that doesn’t look like a gift. When I break another glass, or have to stare at a road sign to figure out which way it’s pointing, that doesn’t feel like a gift. But when I can effortlessly make connections that most people miss, or ‘see’ the past behind present-day places, that does feel like a gift. And perhaps I wouldn’t have these abilities without my dyslexic wiring. Dyslexia may not be a gift, but it comes bearing gifts.

Karen Murdarasi, guest blogger

You can see more blogs from Karen here: www.kcmurdarasi.com

 

 

Dyslexia Awareness Week kicks off…

Dyslexia Awareness Week starts 7th of November and I’m quite excited about writing this blog just before it kicks off.

I’ve always loved books, and was inspired to write my own stories long before I could actually spell. I was lucky because my dyslexia was acknowledged early and I was sent to a special school, where I got extra help to learn how to read and write. I remember the first book I read all on my own and how I carried it around all day and kept re-reading it – because I could! After that there was no stopping me. A whole new world opened up for me. It was as if I’d entered some secret universe – full of adventures and escapism and even a sense of acceptance – all aspects missing from my real life outside of books. My local library became my sanctuary and I started swallowing up one book after another. Without these stories to comfort me and take me away to different worlds, I don’t think I would have coped as well as I did being a teenager. The more I read the more words I learned and the better my spelling became too.

So, I was lucky. I got special help from an early age and eventually I learned to read and write well enough to fool others into thinking I’m not dyslexic. I was also lucky to go to school in the 90s, where dyslexia was becoming recognised. Some of the stories I’ve read about people who went to school before then are truly saddening – how teachers didn’t recognise or accept dyslexic students’ struggles and how they suffered. How they were labelled as stupid and left behind, and the stigma and mental health problems that followed. These same people, now adults, come into the literacy centre, where I work, full of self-doubt and self-defeating attitudes and it’s truly heart breaking because they are anything but stupid. They are full of self-taught coping strategies and have so many brilliant but overlooked strengths.

Nevertheless, dyslexia still wasn’t very well understood in the 90s and I struggled in most of my other classes, even when I enjoyed them, because back then there wasn’t the same awareness around the link between dyslexia and dyscalculia, short term memory problems and problems organising one’s thoughts (always being told my essays were too incoherent). So teachers would pull me aside and tell me I ought to do better and try harder and like so many others, I was left feeling like I was actually stupid; that it was my fault I wasn’t doing better, rather than my dyslexia. In fact, I wasn’t told any of these facts about dyslexia until I was 27 and I decided that I was good enough to get a university degree and was finally properly diagnosed. By then dyslexia had become a stigma for me too. It took me many more years to be able to openly and proudly say I AM DYSLEXIC. And it’s with joy that I welcome Dyslexia Awareness Week because so many people – especially in key roles, like teachers – still don’t understand that there’s more to dyslexia than spelling and reading, and our unique skillset, creativity and different way of perceiving the world are often not rated as important as high grades, but should be. So I encourage more awareness and acceptance and take great joy in the fact we’re all different and thereby make the world a more interesting place. I, therefore, also encourage you to engage with Awareness Week – learn new things, share the knowledge and help us spread the word.

What has your experience with dyslexia been? Have you been affected by a lack of awareness of dyslexia?  You can learn more about Dyslexia Awareness Week here.

Terese Smith – guest blogger

 

Organisation & Time Management: Most Dyslexics’ Second/Third Nightmare!

At a recent Dyslexia Scotland Adult Network (Stirling) Meeting, we were discussing how difficult it is to organise our lives and homes on top of jobs, studying and/or family life.

These problems are by no means limited to us dyslexics (but our non-linear [often nonverbal] brains don’t help matters). I have also recently joined some local stitching clubs, and it was a friend in one of these that gave me the following idea. She said that she rewards herself monetarily for the tasks she does each day.

I thought this was a great idea and started using her idea. I reward myself 1p for things like every page I read, every 30mins I walk, every item I iron, and every item I put away in a drawer or hang up (I used to have huge piles of clothes everywhere because I thought, I’d forget anything I couldn’t see).

The following is a photo of how I keep a record of what I have done each day:

doreen_blog_photo

I have found this can be a good way to plan out a day. Without having to time everything out (which is something I cannot do, I don’t seem to know how long things will/should take me to do). I have found if I am having trouble starting in the morning: I get the pad out and write out a table, listing the tasks I have been putting off or I know need doing. And then somehow it’s a wee bit easier to get started.

AND yes I know the lines aren’t straight! I gave up trying to use a ruler, it was just too much hassle. And it’s not like anyone else will need to see it (other than an outside chance I feel the need to show my husband).

Also, due to the fact that I also reward myself for every room I hoover, or every window I wash, or every piece of furniture I polish; I can keep track of how often and/or frequently I do these tasks, that aren’t daily tasks but need done on a semi regular basis. So, if I’m sitting thinking about when I last did a task, I can just flip back and get a definite answer.

I can see how some people may feel this is a bit like a child’s reward chart. But it works with kids doesn’t it? Why should we have to grow out of everything that helps! No one else needs to know. And it can be a way to save for treats that you otherwise cannot justify (I use 1ps because I’m temp and don’t always have a job: but the friend who told me about it uses other denominations [like 10p etc]).

Why not give this a go if you are having trouble organising your life. Perhaps if this doesn’t work for you, it might give you ideas about what else might help. Or if you use other techniques (or have other ideas) please comment below, we’d love to learn from your coping mechanisms.

Doreen Kelly

Admin Volunteer/DS Member

Harry Potter and the Magic of Accessible Books for All

I’ve never been a massive fan of Harry Potter. I watch the films and enjoy them, but I was discouraged from reading the books as a result of a teacher misjudging how long it would take to finish it, and consequently abandoned it partway through. Having said that, I think I was secretly glad given the miniscule size of the print. Following the announcement that the new play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, is to be released in a dyslexia friendly format, it got me thinking about the other books. Should this version of the play take off, it will hopefully lead to an increase in titles being available for those who have dyslexia and other difficulties that may impair either the ability to read, or enjoyment of, reading.

It’s not all good news though. The first thing the Amazon listing says is that the new copy of the play is in a large print version. While this is obviously helpful for those who find it easier to read books with a bigger font, it is simplistic and naive to assume this will help all dyslexic readers. I’m not dyslexic myself, but I am visually impaired and the assumption that my difficulties with certain things would be fixed if only someone made the text bigger was a prevalent misconception throughout my schooling. As a consequence, I am very empathetic to the fact that learning difficulties and impairments are nuanced and shouldn’t all be lumped together.

For those who argue that technology can take care of formatting preferences, they are making several misguided assumptions. Firstly, that people can afford to buy such things. Secondly, they aren’t realising that technology can hinder people’s ability to access books due to Kindles etc. having an unlimited battery life and screen glare. Also, some people just prefer a book, and they should, where possible, have that option.

I appreciate that it is costly and impractical for countless different versions to be made and the fact that the publication is endorsed by the British Dyslexia Association should at least be encouraging. Below that pronouncement, however, is the text “Formatting may also aid readers with visual impairment, Parkinsons disease, Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, brain injury and Cerebral Palsy. Also great for all readers with tired eyes after a long day!”

The implication is that this is the additional support needs copy of the book, which is disappointing as I personally can’t see how it will help people with all of those conditions. Having said that, there is a huge part of me that wants to applaud the publishers of the book, W. F. Howes Ltd. Making books accessible to all is an admirable endeavour, and in order to achieve that someone has to be brave enough to get the ball rolling.

Well, rolling on. We can’t forget Strawberry Classics or Barrington Stoke, specialist publishers who format books so they can be easily read by people who have dyslexia. Without belittling the importance of their work – it’s both tremendous and vital – it is, at least in some ways, a shame that specialised publishers need to exist in order for this need to be fulfilled. While it’s great that there are publishers who specialise in the production of accessible books for dyslexics, it’s a pity that there are not specialists within mainstream publishing houses too. If there were, titles, both classics and popular fiction, may be brought to a wider audience. Furthermore, I think the demand is there. One in ten people in the UK are believed to have dyslexia alone, and while I know there is not – nor should there be – a one size fits all approach to formatting – more can still be done (look at books that children and young people need to read in school, for instance).

The publication of the dyslexia friendly version of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is not just a step in the right direction, but something other publishers need to capitalise on for the benefit of not just their profit margins but those with additional support needs. As the Amazon advertisement illustrates, they are numerous and deserve to be recognised by mainstream publishers. In doing so, publishers would not only recognise the right that everyone has to be able to read, but also send the message that dyslexia shouldn’t stop people being able to access books, whether that be for enjoyment or necessity.

Gemma Bryant

Book review: ‘Dyslexia and Mental Health’ by Neil Alexander Passe

This book gave me insight into the psychological effects that dyslexia can have on an individual. It did that by explaining the difference between defence mechanisms and coping strategies.  We use defence mechanisms in response to situations to protect ourselves from anxiety.  However, instead of dealing with the difficulty, defence mechanisms actually prevent us from doing so.  For example, if we drink alcohol to escape anxiety, we are not allowing ourselves to self-help. Coping strategies, on the other hand, enable us to fulfil our potential.

Here are some defence mechanisms the book discusses.

  1. Avoidance – in fact, this is termed as a ‘pre-defence mechanism’. E.g. if you really don’t want to write a report, you procrastinate writing it
  2. Denial e.g. denying that you are dyslexic even though you know you are
  3. Repression = forgetting something bad e.g. a car accident
  4. Regression = reverting back to a child-like emotional state e.g. bed-wetting, stammering, sulking
  5. Displacement (‘kicking the cat’) = taking your emotion out on someone or something other than the person you feel it about
  6. Projection e.g. if you think you’re stupid, accusing other people of thinking you’re stupid when there is no evidence to support this
  7. Reaction formation = when you are attracted to someone you know is unsuitable and you behave as though you can’t stand them
  8. Intellectualisation = thinking away an emotion that is uncomfortable for you
  9. Rationalisation = explaining away your bad behaviour
  10. Sublimation = using your emotions to produce positive results e.g. growing vegetables instead of vandalising cars

And here are some dyslexic defence mechanisms the book explores.

Emotional defence mechanisms

  1. Social withdrawal e.g. daydreaming, avoiding socialising
  2. Self-blame – internalising problems and punishing yourself
  3. Hiding in class – trying to keep out of the teacher’s radar
  4. Perfectionism – paying attention to detail
  5. Hypochondria, including psychosomatic pain
  6. Blocking out – trying not to think about the thing that threatens you
  7. Depression
  8. Drug or alcohol abuse
  9. Self-harm e.g. with food or body
  10. Suicide or attempted suicide

 

Behavioural defence mechanisms

 

  1. Truancy
  2. Distraction e.g. misbehaving in class
  3. Frustration
  4. Bad temper e.g. blaming others for difficulties
  5. Pessimism e.g. saying ‘I’m going to fail this test’
  6. Bullying – an expression of anger and frustration and a response to hostility
  7. Shouting, biting, tantrums
  8. Attention seeking e.g. shock, anger
  9. Fantasy e.g. imagining answering someone back rather than actually doing it
  10. Violence, revenge, property damage, criminal activities

The coping strategy this book suggests is Seligman’s ABCDE technique. This is about overcoming hopelessness in a learning context.

The book also identifies several different dyslexic coping profiles.  These really helped me to understand and accept myself and others.

I found some of this book difficult to follow, and some of it contestable. Nevertheless, I benefited from reading it.  The groups I would recommend it to are:

  1. Dyslexic adults;
  2. Parents / carers / educators of dyslexic children / young people; and
  3. Counsellors / psychotherapists.

My top 3 tips for tackling this book are:

  1. Start with chapter 14
  2. Consider skipping chapter 1 if you are finding it hard-going (it’s summarised in chapter 14)
  3. Before reading each chapter, read the conclusions and bullet points that come at the end of it.

Dyslexia Scotland has a copy of this book in its Resource Centre.

Published in the UK by Jessica Kingsley, 2015. ISBN 978-1-84905-582-6

This book review was written by a Dyslexia Scotland member.

 

Baby Bunting’s Summertime

This post was inspired by a recent BBC 4 documentary about George Gershwin’s Summertime, which is apparently the most covered song of all time. Whilst watching the program I also thought of the Bye Baby Bunting nursery rhyme. Below I will re-word and mash up these two songs to relate why I believe Dr Jim White’s Stress Control course can be extremely useful to individuals with dyslexia. Also Matthew Johnstone’s concept of the Black Dog of depression may make an appearance too.

Summertime

And the livin’ is stressful

Dyslexia is jumpin’

And the stress is high

Your anxiety’s rich

And your depression’s backward looking

So hush the ‘If onlys’ and ‘What ifs’ of dyslexia

 

Bye confident and calm person

Thought’s gone a’haunting

Wellbeing’s gone a’melting

Panicky feelings’ gone a’swinging

Action’s gone to bring trouble

To wrap the brave and cool person within.

 

Don’t you stress and cry

One of these days

You’re going to gain control and rise up singing

Then you’ll shed those blinkers and see things clearly.

But for now meditate, to control your body

Dyslexia can’t harm you

With stress control and wellbeing standing by

 

Bye person I want to be

Grasshopper thought’s gone a jumping

To find those blinkers

To wrap my confidence in

 

Summertime

And the thinkin’ is stressful

Grasshoppers are jump’

And the blinkers are high

Your stress voice is loud

And your common sense voice is drowned out

So brush back those blinkers

Don’t carry on

One of these 5 challenges

You’re going to combat and rise above the stressing

Then you’ll progressively relax

But till then retrain your breathing

With stress control and wellbeing standing by.

 

Bye happy baby

Daddy’s gone a hunting

That black dog skin

That should never wrap his baby within.

Doreen Kelly

Dyslexia Scotland volunteer and member

doreenspic

 

 

 

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

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?