It doesn’t take a whole lot to get me to slap on some red lipstick and a matching shirt. Red’s a great color. Today and tomorrow, it’s been adopted for dyslexia awareness!
Although dyslexia’s “official” color is silver, red has been adopted. This is in part due to the overwhelming number of red marks on dyslexic students’ papers. It’s devastating to do nothing but fail tests, regardless of how hard you try. Trust me; I’ve lived it.
Now, I still cringe whenever I get answers wrong on tests, regardless of the final grade. The culture of perfection leaves lasting damage, regardless of how well students who were failing can now do.
In fact, the teacher who gave that open book test had us grade our own papers in class. I got five wrong, which translated into a grade of 90%, and I still felt terrible.
Let’s help future generations avoid that self-torture.
We can start by highlighting and using strengths.
One personal example is how I’ve always loved crafts and making things. I had little math understanding before I begun learning how to knit and crochet. In order to get sizing right, I need to figure out the proper number of stitches and rows a piece needs.
That involves math, and although I’m still not that great at it, I am getting better at it. I knit the pictured slipper socks, and several other pairs for people. While my first attempts weren’t pretty, they got much better as I figured calculations and techniques out.
If I had been taught math on a practical level, rather than rote, I wouldn’t have struggled with it as much as I had.
One fantastic example of practical math was when my physics class went to a local amusement park. The teacher had us do the math behind the physics of the rides, and I seem to recall doing well on that assignment. We could see and feel the reality behind the math. That, in turn, gave tangible value to the figures and equations.
There are still some times I struggle with reading and writing, although I have developed enough skill to write well and return to college. I know exactly what conditions I need and how to cope when I’m in a reading/writing situation.
I’m still dyslexic. I’ll always be dyslexic. That’s just the way it is, and there’s nothing wrong it.
That brings me to dyslexic adults. We still matter.
Dyslexia and neurodivergence are almost always framed as a childhood issue. Yes, that’s important. The sooner we’re identified, the better our chances are at learning the specialized skills we need.
All too often, though, we’re not identified when we’re young. We struggle and fight on our own. We don’t always win against the toxic sludge thrown at us by society, but many of us live on. When we look for help, it’s incredibly difficult to find. Even locating someone who will diagnose dyslexic adults or those with other learning disabilities, is difficult.
It’s never too late to get help. It’s never too late to go back to school. It’s never too late to be identified.
We all count. We all contribute. We all have value.
Today and tomorrow, let’s celebrate us and the diversity we all embody.