Saturday, April 25, 2009

Educate yourself: Hug a Dyslexic Today

Im getting tired of dealing with stupid people who think that spelling is intelligence. I'm tired of every time I make a good criticism of atheists they come back with personal attacks on my dyslexia, as though attacking disabilities is ok as long as the person isn't in a wheel chair. Here's a thing I wrote back when I had patience for dealing with ignorant fools. "Hug a Dyslexic today" from Metacrock's Blog.

Dyslexia is not the result of low intelligence. An unexpected gap exists between learning aptitude and achievement in school. The problem is not behavioral, psychological, motivational, or social. People with dyslexia also do not “see backwards.”

Neartheast Tarrent country Dyslexia Council

People are odd. They are always confusing emotional reason with logical ones. One poster sends in a comment, which I did not publish because I will not publish comments that are attacks on personalities. This all knowing commentator deems to know that event hough I'm Dyslexic I still "just being lazy," when bad spellings appear in this blog. Let me clue you in on something, a person who does not have to look up every word he uses has no right to speak of Lazy to dyslexic. No dyslexic could get as far as I got in school and be lazy, because to get that far without spell check means I did a hell of a lot of looking up. I did not have a computer until I was in doctoral work. that means I got my Masters degree while typing on a typewriter and looking up ever word in the dictionary or paying someone to proof the papers.

This poster wasn't there in class with me as a child in the 1960s when no one knew what dyslexia was, and when teachers humiliated me for being lazy. I got my little butt whacked with a board because I was lazy. I was lazy because I looked at the words on the paper I could not see the same thing thing the teacher saw. Just imagine you are wearing special glasses that scramble the words you look at. you can't take them off they are somehow attacked to you. So what good would it do to look up words when the definition will have mistakes in it? This commentator, the all knowing one, was not there when the teacher would call on me to read and I was in a six grade class and only read on a second grade level. Why is she calling on me anyway? Then making some snide comment about "this is how not to be." Everyone was laughing their little heads off. But I'm lazy. I'm just so lazy I just love to be humiliated in class. Hearing classmates whispering "he must be really stupid." It was so fun being hauled down to the principle's office and told i was bad, and I lazy I was no good and then having my butt whacked with a big board for some reason I could not phathum.

This was before anyone got any special treatment for being "challenged." No one with a problem was "challenged" in those days, they did not have that concept. If you could not walk you were crippled. If you had a problem they did not understand you weren't trying hard enough. This all knowing commentator who deems to decide that I am lazy was not there when a fine loving mother driven to despair because her two little twin boys has some strange problem no one could understand, would jump up an down literally thrashing the table with her belt (she never hit us with it) and banging her head on the fridge cried "maybe you are lazy!." I would think, as the horror that he one person who still believed in me didn't anymore, and I would whine "I'm sorry I'm bad mommy!" But the all knowing one knows all about this I"m sure. He must know because I didn't. I had no idea what they were talking about because when I looked at the words they didn't say the same things. "Saw" was "was" and Elise was Elsie, and 29 was 92 and so on.The authorities of the school board had a talk with my parents. They already had it worked out, either we were restarted or we were lazy. they sent us to a testing place, certain that the test would show our IQ's were lower than average. The testing people had a nice little chat with us. I remember they were really friendly and I liked what we were talking about. So I got into it and chatted amiably. My mother would keep saying "I they are smart. I know they are."

They kept dragging other researchers in and saying things like "tell him what you think about Daniel Boone," or "explain to Dr. so and so why oil floats on water." I knew the answer because my father told me. My Dad was a tool design engineer in air craft. He loved to give long winded technical explanations. My eyes would glaze over and I would think "I'm sorry I asked." But tried really hard to remember what he said. The funny testing people said we were "geniuses." They said there was no way we could be restarted. They told my mother our IQ's but she wouldn't tell us at first. They were real high. Then the people back at the school decided to work on plan B. If we weren't stupid we had to be lazy. My parents worked really hard in all kinds of wasy to get us to learn. They thought lazy meant we needed to be spanked, but they also tried more intellectual activities. When nothing worked they became frustrated and started beating the table as though we would feel the pain through the table and shape up. I know it caused them a great deal an anguish. I made me feel that I must be just bad because they said I was bad (lazy = bad right?).

I remember we first heard of dyslexia because our family doctor had it. He had stories of how hard he had to struggle in the 30's to become a doctor when he could not spell. Through him I guess we found Scottish Rite Children's Hospital in Dallas their "language lab." Back then I think it was called "Hospital for Crippled children" But they can't use that word today. Going to a hospital to have my spelling worked on made me feel that I must be crippled in my head. I was marked out as a special wounded freak from early childhood. I will never forget Luke Waites. He was the great guy. He discovered dyslexia. He wore a while lab coat and ran the "language lab" (which today is named after him). He was my friend he worked at treating every kid in the program like his friend.In those days that was the only program in the country, and it just happened to be where we lived or we would not have gotten to go. When I went to college he wrote a letter to my professors saying I was smart but couldn't spell and that there were scientific reasons why I could not spell. They didn't meet with the Scottish Rite guys once, the had a million meetings. Those guys had to deprogram them of years and years of having it pounded into their heads that something was wrong with us we must be stupid or bad. It was the major thing in my life for a long time in childhood.

I will never forget how happy and relieved my parents were to learn about dyslexia. I will always hear my mother's voice telling everyone she knew over and over "there aren't lazy, they aren't stupid, there's a reason why they can't learn to spell." Even though it was like finding a miracle cure (although one cannot ever get over dyslexia--the language lab just taught us tricks like phonetic spelling)it still made me feel like a wounded special helpless freak. But my parents were so relived. Then began a life long journey of looking up words. This all knowing poster, who must know all of this, even though he was not there, has the nerve to tell me I'm lazy. The one word I would use for that part of my childhood is "anguish."

The little brown shirt atheist thugs on message boards quickly discovered that spelling is a weapon to use against me. "your spelling is horrible." After a 25 post thread in which I've batted down all their arguments, here comes the stuff about spelling, like clock work. That's all they have to say so they use that like a weapon. Even after I got firefox they still say it even when there are no mistakes. I know mistakes get through but clearly its' better. But they still feel called upon to point it out. I even put up a thread saying "isn't my spelling better?" they all agreed they could tell a difference. btw I used to hypothesize when I was a child that someday they would invent a technological device like spell check that would spell for you. I was elated when I first heard of spell check.

When I first got saved I prayed that I would see Mrs. Messenger, my old Scottish Rite Language Lab teacher, so I could tell her "thanks." I'll be damned if I didn't see her in an air port just a few weeks latter! What are the odds? She lived in another part of the country by then, the odds are I would never see her again. I did thank her and told her about the prayer thing. She was really happy.

So this is why I will not post comments telling me "your spelling is horrible."

Here is a link to the best dyslexia site I've found. The NTDC If you think your child might have learning problem I urge you to read this site.

Page by Scottish Rite

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Kristen said...

It is so sad when medical conditions in children are misunderstood by those who are caring for them. I have read your story before, Joe, and my sympathy is still deep.

I am feeling good in another way, because I may have helped one of my son's little friends a little bit, by countering the ignorance of his mother about the childhood condition of chronic bed-wetting. She said she had concluded the kid must be lazy, because he never had accidents at sleep-overs (we were talking because the boy had been invited to a sleep-over at my house), but only at home.

I told her I had read that chronic bed-wetters don't have accidents at other people's houses because they never fall into the deepest level of sleep except in their own beds where they are most comfortable.

That was all I had the opportunity to say; but I hope she takes my words into account and eases up on her kid. Chronic bed-wetting is a physical condition in which the muscles that control the bladder don't work when in deep, Stage 4 sleep. Doctors have used bio-feedback-type treatments, including an alarm that is set to ring in the night when bedwetting starts, to train children out of the condition-- but it goes away when they reach a certain age anyway.

I hate it when children are punished for having medical conditions. The injustice of this is horrible.

J.L. Hinman said...

thank you Kirsten. you are a wonderful person. I mean that. you are a neat person.

Kristen said...

Aww, thanks, Joe.