Consider in first grade, in the seventies, I had Dyslexia. They didn’t have a clue how to teach me anything. They actually gave me glasses for it. Nothing is wrong with my eyesight; I have never had glasses since.
It’s funny because I remember in the first grade, the teacher taking groups of kids into the back of the class room to teach them how to read. Yet when it came to me, she would just let me go to the crafts section of the room and let me build things out of paper. (I was really good at it) Reading was painful and worthless to me. I tried it the way my grade school teachers taught it, but it took too long to get through a sentence to understand its’ meaning. And then to read a whole paragraph, chapter, or book- it was just a useless exercise. So technically, I have no idea how I learned to read. I just know I do not look at words the same way as everyone else. They are outlines of pictures, not letters. So “sounding it out” was the complete opposite of what I needed to do. I ignore the letters and focus on the shape of the word. Ever notice the word bed, looks like a bed if you make an outline out of it? I look at words like Chinese characters. Again, I have no idea, how at a young age I learned to do this, because certainly no one showed me. It did take me a long time to learn enough words so I wouldn’t stumble too badly when I read.
Granted, when I was little I knew I was a little too smart for my own good. (I know I sounds arrogant, where do you think Na'tan came from) Once I found out what the CAT tests were (in the first grade) I was pissed to find out they were going to judge my IQ, so I “Christmas-treed” my scan-tron for 8 years. I felt, even at a young age “that” was my own personal information and they had no right to it. They caught on that I was just filling in the blanks, so then they started giving me verbal test-so I had to fake those, too. (It was a bonus, because it got me out of normal classes)
But dyslexia can really screw a kids’-head-up. I used to put my shoes on backwards too, now that I think about it, it’s very funny. I remember watching other kids in the first grade hold their pencil, and I would emulate what they did-holding it in my right hand. It never felt right though.
Years later, when I was a gymnast, I learned I was left legged, meaning I lead with my left leg. This is important to know when you’re a gymnast, lets the instructor know which leg you’re going to take-off from so they won’t get kicked. Anyway, I learned that usually if a person is right handed, then they are right legged. So because of me emulating the students around me, I think I was actually supposed to be left handed.
Then there was my fourth grade teacher, she told my parents during a parent teacher meeting, I would never write past 2nd grade level or read past a 3rd grade level. I remember they were furious. I didn’t care. As long as they left me alone, they could say whatever they wanted. I knew I was smarter than they thought-and I proved it in the last month of my eighth grade year, just before I left the public school system. It was very funny! I again took the CAT test, verbally, but I took it for real this time. To this day, I still laugh at the expression on the examiners face; I knew I was hitting it out of the park. And for eight years, I had been sitting in the back of the class with the “slow kids”, too funny.
And don’t get me wrong, there were absolute moments of insecurities and frustrations of not being able to understand something everyone else seemed to have no problem grasping. Not to mention the fear of fitting in with my classmates, the dyslexia didn’t help there.
Oh and the first book I read was my Senior year in High school. I suppose I should have been one of the “kids left behind” (so glad I graduated before that came into effect). It was Fellowship of the Ring. Imagine the first book someone reads is this-how screwed up am I? And I nearly memorized it on the first time through. 3rd Grade level my butt! *snort*
So the point of this blog is NEVER let anyone tell you what you can and cannot do, their full of it. They’re afraid you’ll succeed.
Oh, and again, I am not a writer, I am a storyteller.