Wednesday, April 03, 2013

I Dyslexia Heart

I have been learning-disabled my whole life, but no one bothered to notice until I was in University. As part of the psychology program, we had to take all of the tests that we would later be administering, and my faculty adviser awkwardly called me into his office to tell me the news that teachers and school counselors had been overlooking for the past 20 years of my life.

"Luckily" I was such a voracious reader that I had basically wired my own brain to compensate for most of my deficiencies by then - I do misread often enough, but instead of stumbling over these words, my brain very quickly forms an idea of what it must be, and I move on. Therefore I may have decided that a word is distinct when it is actually distant, and yes, that mean trouble but usually I'll figure it out in context.

For me, the biggest problem seems to be in transposing letters or mistaking blocks of sound. I often mispronounce words while speaking, vowels especially, and my friends and family have no problem about teasing me about it mercilessly. My common stumbling blocks include:

epitome - I know that it is pronounced eh pit o me, but I will almost always says eh pi tome, tome like the kind of book. That's what I see, and that's what I say. I also make a similar sound when I pronounce fathom - again, I know rationally that it should be fath-um, but I say fath"om" (like the tantric yoga sound that rhymes with tome).

Now, it doesn't help that I "learned" to read in french first, and taught myself to read in english based on french building blocks, which is enough to screw anyone up. Quite a few of my most common mistakes are because mix up grammar with grammaire. And yes, if you're wondering, I am fluently dyslexic. Je suis egalement dyslexique dans les deux langues officielles, et meme en certaines autres.

This morning I read Besnard Lakes but understood Barenaked Ladies. It was in a tweet from Rolling Stone, so I feel like it was just my brain doing the best it could. That's the trickiest part about my dyslexia - it's hard to know I've made a mistake when my brain doesn't produce a random string of wrongness, but a plausible alternative.

Well, okay, not always so plausible. I remember in Toronto, there was a church located smack-dab in the middle of the pedestrian commute between my house and my friend's house. I'd walk by it often, and though it called itself the Holy Rosary, every day it translated as Roly Hosiery in my head. And the thing is, I could picture those stupid nylons and the way they never stay up properly but just keep rolling down uncomfortably, and you have to discreetly readjust every so often. This loomed so largely in my head that I could never recover from Roly Hosiery even though I knew with all of Christ's conviction that no church would ever boast such a name.


Mark said...

Wow. You are out here again. Or is this some cruel joke my RSS reader is playing on me?

Lorna said...

Ah, the joy!

In solidarity, as a teach-yourself reader, I remember saying fell at ee oh to someone whose face, at that moment, I'll never forget.

LiVEwiRe said...

Although I know I shouldn't be laughing at 'Roly Hosiery', I am. And damned hard, too.

kenju said...

You seem to have overcome that problem fairly well. How nice to see a bunch of newish posts from you!! Did you time it exactly at one year?