On Dyslexia

an article by Drowemos

Ok let me just start out by saying naming a disorder about the inability to spell or read words “Dyslexia “is a cruel thing to do. I mean really that’s just sick. “Oh your have a hard time spelling? There and name for that disorder and it’s completely impossible to spell breaking all the rules of the English language and common sense”. Psychologists and Linguists are just sadistic people make no mistake about it.

As you may have guessed, I am a mild dyslexic (seriously, writing that word is like a trip to the dentists for me). We all know the afterschool specials about dyslexia about upside-down “b”s and tearful admissions “I can’t read! Ok!”, but the truth of the matter is not all dyslexia is the same. Dyslexia, outside of being a psychologist’s cruel joke, is more of an umbrella heading for a cluster of disorders.

In my personal case I don’t really see letter scrambled it’s more like a short in my brain where letters are concerned. I like to equate it to a phone connection during an electrical storm. When I read or write some of the letters get lost and some times one letter arrives out of sequence.

So where most people read “dyslexia” as “D Y S L E X I A”, I get “ D {bzzt} S (E) L X {bzzt} (Some vowels hard to tell which in the static)”. The drop off is worse at the end of the words compared to the beginning and particularly bad letter that have alternate phonemes. “Access” for example is a real pain for me with “C”s and “S”s next to each other. When I write the same drop off process occurs.

This hasn’t really impacted my reading much. If you get the basic form of a word and the letters at the beginning you can figure out the context. For example “Hi ho(?) ar(?) yuo to(?)(?)y” can pretty easily be deciphered from the letters provided and the context.

I learned to read by looking at the first couple of letters a few in the middle of a word and the over all size of the word. “Polyandry” is stored in my brain as: “POL, a couples of “Y”s and a “D” in a word about 10 digits long”. I can read as fast as anyone with this method. But it does mean that I am completely blind to spelling errors in texts. Where typos seem to cause other people pain I don’t even see them because the basic form of the word is still correct and I am working on context not phonetics.

The only time I am thrown off in reading is when context breaks down. For example the sentence: “The bright fish, happy may be it’s bazooka, yippy, let’s all square pickle” would take me some time because the context keeps on taking left turns on me.

So reading? Not a problem. Writing on the other hand that’s where the difficulty comes in. As I have said the same cut out problem happens when I write as well as when I read. Again with writing at the problem primarily happens ends of words. S o I often drop “ed”s and “s” at the end of words. Since I read the text with the same dyslexia so I don’t see these problems when they happen.

Added to that functional problems, is the fact that I never learned the spelling of words in the first place. I know the word form and some of the key letters but not really every individual letter in the word. I have to sort of deduce the spelling as I write and for a language as screw up as English logical deductions are not always the best policy.

Then we have homophones. Homophones are the tool of the devil. Words should have one spelling. Words like “Their, There and They’re” were put on this earth to torment people like me. Remember I only know general word forms and phonetics are useless when it comes to homophones. Also since I am reading from context and only usually get only the beginning of words I have actually never seen homophones used in context. I read “There, Their, and They’re” as “The{bzzt}r, The{bzzt}r, and The{bzzt}r”. They look exactly the same to me.

When I try to write a word that is a homophone my brain gives me a long indignant stare and then says “Fcuk you” (this is the dyslexic for of the more common insult). Eventually it will grab a random spelling out of memory and throw it on the page saying “Try this one. There’s a chance it will be right.”. Homophones are evil evil things and anyone who cares about these stupid words is a evil evil person.

So that’s my brain. Now here is the two big questions related to this:

1) If you have such a problem with spelling why don’t you get an editor?
2) If you have such a problem with spelling why are you “witting” comics at all?

Question 1

An editor. That would be nice. I would like one of those. The problem is that the comic is usually running so close to the wire with art and other concerns editors would just delay publishing. Being dyslexic in the way I am really has made me question the importance people put on spelling. I can read just fine with out it. Seriously, who has the brain disorder if I can read a page with a spellings error and you can’t?

Perhaps there should be a new category of mental disorder “Hyeperlexia” for people who are unable to read documents with spelling errors in it. These people clearly need help. We could have a telethon for them. “Do you or a loved one suffer from excessive whininess when encountering spelling or grammar error? This is Hyperlexia a silent plague effecting 1 out of every 10 American causing them to be annoying condescending jerks causing nothing but grief and contributing in no positive way to society. Please give today so we can get these people the help they so desperately need.” Not that I am bitter or anything.

I need to find an editor no doubt but at this time I have not found one who can work with the reliability and speed that I need on the puny salary I could offer. If it the choice is delaying publication or publishing with a spelling error or two I will pick publishing with the spelling errors (although granted some times the spelling errors are more than one or two).

I simply disagree with the premise that typos are less professional than missing deadlines. Granted I have missed plenty of deadline but not because I was waiting for spelling corrections. I am not claiming that I AM profession, I am just saying that the argument that “typo are unprofessional” is a bit questionable.

Question 2

Why do I write at all? Because I enjoy it. For 20 years of my life I avoid writing anything because of my dyslexia. I had stories in my head but I didn’t dare put them to paper. Then, mostly by accident, I started making comics. It was… the only work I can use is orgasmic. It was pure joy.

My grandfather never ate strawberries until he was 40 because he though they looked gross and were dirty. They one day he ate a strawberry and on that day he wept. It turned out he loved the taste of strawberries and had been missing out all his life.

When I finished the first story arch for Exiern and saw it put up on the web I wept as well. I had been missing out on this wonderful thing all my life because of my dyslexia. I love to write and tell stories and I never realized it.

So now I write all the time. I am not claiming that I am the best writer or even a good writer. Perhaps I could have been if the English teachers in school took the time to let me know that spelling has nothing to do with writing and encouraged my passion at a young age instead of being shriveled up harpies who couldn’t see beyond their narrow view of the language and what is important. Not that I am bitter and angry and perhaps a bit vengeful or anything. What I am saying is I love to write. Exiern is a labor of love as is all my writing.

My grandfather ate strawberries every day after the first time he tried them. Too much of his life was wasted not eating strawberries. He would eat them even when they were a little past and not that good.

I write every day now even the writing on that day is not very good. Too much of my life has been wasted not writing. When I stop getting that orgasmic thrill from creating a story I will stop writing. And that hasn’t even come close to happening yet and I hope it never does.

So now you know why there are spelling errors in Exiern.