Color my world in vivid shades of dyslexia

This meme  above was published on Chris the Story Reading Ape‘s blog post for May 14.

I was going to leave a reply, but it ended up looking more like the beginning of a dissertation.

RULE #1…or is it #3 or…(if I remember which number it is, I’ll let you know):   Don’t leave an answer that’s longer than the post on which you’re leaving the reply.

  • I have a gift.  It’s called dyslexia.  
  • I have another gift.  For the first 12 or 13 years of my life, the world looked like this to me:


Through these two gifts, God has given me the honor of seeing the world differently.

I learned 3 things in elementary school:

  • OFLC3 was the line on the eye chart for 20/20 vision.  The nurse never strayed from that line.
  • The teachers always talked about anything that was going to be on a test.
  • B’s and C’s still meant you made it to the next grade level.

There was a teacher with one hand, Mrs. Sweezy.  I can’t remember a student who didn’t love her.  Mrs. Sweezy visited my mom at our home when I was in 6th grade.  She told mom she thought I had a vision problem. Why?  I always sat at the back of the elementary school auditorium and wasn’t looking at the projector screen.

Mom found an eye doctor who swore to her I’d have 20/20 if I came to his office for eye exercises.  He made a fortune off of people who believed him.

The only nurse who cared to screen for a problem, and asked me to read a different line on the eye chart, was the one in Middle School.  Still, it was another year before mom finally agreed to glasses, and only for close-up reading.  I was to continue doing eye exercises until I no longer needed glasses.

If I remember this correctly, it was my sister who convinced mom that reading glasses were not enough, and by the time I was 16, I was wearing contact lenses.

My sister once said that if I had one shelf of books

I’d have reading material for life.

I reread the Asimov trilogy no less than 15 times.  It was new to me each time.  A few years ago, I read it using digital books.  Now I remember the story.

When my 2nd husband (who had become blind) had to go back to college to get a different degree, I went to college with him as his driver, guide, note taker, and study partner.

I read a page and then asked him what I had just read.

He said it wasn’t natural.

Never, in my lifetime had I thought to ask if anyone else remembered what they read.

And so, at the age of 31, I was tested for dyslexia. 

Bottom line:

  • Knowledge level:  Graduate school.
  • Sequencing: Elementary school 3rd grade.
  • Performance:  Elementary and Middle School.

How did I graduate from college with a 3.2 grade average (B+)?

When my husband, who was my study partner and mentor, passed away 2 years after we started school, Vocational Rehabilitation continued to pay for my last 2 years of college (due to dyslexia).

  1. Talking books.  That way, I remembered the material.
  2. Keywords.  I could tell you the where to find information from the endnotes, glossary, and index at the back of the book.  Do you know how many college students don’t know to look there?
  3. Study groups.  One professor gave us take-home exams with questions that could only be found in the reading material, and that included information he hadn’t covered in class.
    • Before each test, I asked students (especially the good ones) if they wanted to form a study group.
    • Each of us would take a question to research and arrive back with an answer.
    • We would be given copies of the way the researchers were going to answer the question, then we would have a discussion about the question.
    • I jotted down notes about information that wasn’t in the written/typed answer given to us by the “researcher” so that I could avoid being accused of plagiarism, and encouraged others to do the same.
    • I never made a grade lower than an A- in his classes (and I took several of them). My son attended classes with me at times, when he was only 7 years old.  In fact, that professor is the reason my son became interested in learning different languages and becoming a professor.
  4. Having unlimited time to take a test:  This was especially important when I took the mandatory statistics class, which I took during the summer.  I barely passed that class with a C and only because of tutoring.

The fact that one shelf of books would be reading material for life has nothing to do with poor memory, or poor reading skills.  It has everything to do with gifts that have opened the doors to different ways of looking at the world.