Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Why Doubt sucks.

or The physiological and psychological realities of being Dyslexic.
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 I am sitting in a classroom in 3rd grade.  My heart rate is high I am in fight or flight mode.  I can feel my pulse beating behind my ears.  The room seems hot – I can’t help but look around the room for a place to hide.  Maybe if I slouched down in my chair I could avoid being picked out by the teacher.  I can not read.  I am the only non-reader in my class and I know it.  I am a shamed.  I wait all day for recess and pray it does not rain.
I am sitting in beginning Spanish in 7th grade.  I have no idea what is going on in the classroom.  I work hard at night to catch up, but I slip further and further behind.  My body does not know that I am sitting in a classroom in the best junior-high in Manhattan.  Instead my body believes that it is walking across the African safari with a lion behind every bush.  I am preparing to fight or run for my life.
The teacher addresses me in Spanish and I freeze.   A useful response to a lion or a leopard, but not to a Spanish teacher.
I am sitting in basic biology in college.  I keep notes religiously.  I can’t read half of them or figure out what they mean.  When I use the text book I find the new words overwhelming.  I test on reading compression tests better then my peers, but here where the words are too many, too new and complex I find it difficult to associate the words on the page with the words that are spoken in the lectures.  I enjoy the lectures and discussions, but during labs and exams years of training kick in an I turn into a adrenaline junkie who looks like bumbling fool.
Dyslexic individuals have millions of years of biology working against them as they attempt to work there way through the literate world.  As I have written before in this blog the biggest block to the success of a dyslexic person is the realization that success starts outside of the fields that dyslexic students are weakest in.  As human being’s we need to build on previous success and previous triumphs in order to build into our weakness.  The disadvantage that dyslexic people start with such a handicap they need to create other areas of success to hold them over whether is theater, sports, math, science, fantasy, or relationships.  Before suffering the trials and tribulations of dyslexia it is important that students have some touch stone of success.
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