Wednesday, 19 November 2008

My daughter Robyn has dyslexia, but she does not let it get in her way...in fact Robyn lets nothing get in the way of what she wants, but that’s another story entirely.

When she was younger, spelling tests were hard for her, but she would work and work at it every week to ensure a good mark. On the one occasion a class mate suggested her 15 out of 20 mark was because her dyslexia made her stooopid, she asked him what he got, he didn’t want to tell her, but upon seeing his 12 out of 20 mark, she flicked her hair over her shoulder and said “you wish you had dyslexia”.

So no problems with it making her feel inadequate then.

Robyn is the inspiration behind the dyslexia range of t-shirts, and is single handled responsible for raising awareness within her school and her peer group. She makes sure anyone with dyslexia has a shirt to show how proud they are. And as Robyn says “I can’t be good at everything mum!” or if Dave or I make a spelling mistake, Robyn will say “and I’m the one with dyslexia!” with a roll of her eyes. You may smile, but its not always cute, sometimes it’s a little embarrassing.

In Robyn’s own words, “In the grand scheme of things, it’s hardly a big deal is it!” I guess having brothers with far greater special needs helped to put things in perspective for her.

Robyn knows that her dyslexia not make her stupid/or stooopid, she knows that with hard work, she can do just as well, if not better than most others. So she knows that if she can have dyslexia and get the same results, she must be even more intelligent…I second that. Imagine simply reading a book or the newspaper and before you even start, you need to decipher some sort of jumbled up code…would we just give up and watch the news or a DVD instead, after all, its hardly relaxing if your fighting to understand words is it.

And if you were in your early teens, would you have continually struggled with your school work, or would you have given up, even messed about, and like thousands of kids have been labelled a problem child and let the education system wash its hands of you…how would that effect your future?

This is one of the reasons kids with dyslexia get left behind, and one of the reasons that kids and their parents love the slogans so much. Times are changing now, dyslexia, like many special needs is widely recognised, there’s no stigma attached to it, and there is help available in every school. For example, arrangements can be made so that your child can have extra time for their exams and most schools provide extra help in English and literature.

There’s a British Dyslexia Association for help and advice should you need it…go to http://www.bdadyslexia.org.uk/ for information about getting exactly what you need.

The onus lies on us as parents to make sure our kids are secure and confident and know that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. Charleze Theron, Einstein, Hans christen Anderson, Magic Johnson, Agatha Christie, Richard Branson, Keanu Reeves, Jamie Oliver…all dyslexia sufferers, it didn’t seem to hold them back.

So Robyn wanted you to know this, and she also wanted you to know that I use spell check more than she does…cheeky!

Take care

Sal & Robyn

P.S. Since writing this blog someone left a comment to say that www.causesofdyslexia.com is a very informative site. He was right, so check it out.


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