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November 7, 2013 - Michael Palmer
April 16, 2009 – That was the date of my first blog and much has changed in the four years since I first typed an opinionated diatribe for the literate public.
Well today I will post number 300 and as I look around the newsroom there are vacant desks where friends and colleagues once worked by my side.
Gone are some friends who moved on to new careers, some retired and sadly two of our coworkers have left us for that great publication in the sky.
I was the newspaper's photographer then, but now I have been re-designated as staff writer. A title that would shock my fourth grade teacher who labeled me as a slow learner. In reality I had Dyslexia. in 1968, the World Federation of Neurologists defined dyslexia as "a disorder in children who, despite conventional classroom experience, fail to attain the language skills of reading, writing, and spelling commensurate with their intellectual abilities."
Dyslexic people are highly creative, intuitive, and excel at three-dimensional problem solving and hands-on learning. Our visual and holistic learning style means that we learn best through the creative process, with methods that focus on mastery of the meanings of words and symbols.
Symptoms are often overlooked or misdiagnosed. They include being clumsy, uncoordinated, poor at ball or team sports; difficulties with fine and/or gross motor skills and tasks; prone to motion-sickness.
Complains of dizziness, headaches or stomach aches while reading, this is magnified if you dare try to read in a moving car, boat or plane.
Confused by letters, numbers, words, sequences, or verbal explanations.
Reading or writing shows repetitions, additions, transpositions, omissions, substitutions, and reversals in letters, numbers and/or words.
Complains of feeling or seeing non-existent movement while reading, writing, or copying.
Seems to have difficulty with vision, yet eye exams don't reveal a problem.
Reads and rereads with little comprehension. ( and school is 90 percent reading! )
Spells phonetically and inconsistently
Trouble with writing or copying; pencil grip is unusual; handwriting varies or is illegible.
Children can be ambidextrous, and often confuse left/right, over/under. I am right handed but tie my shoes left handed and can write in cursive backwards with ease.
In school it makes for a poor test taker. Mistakes and symptoms increase dramatically with confusion, time pressure or emotional stress.
It is not all bad news though, the true gift of dyslexia is the gift of mastery. When we use learning methods that fit our thinking style, we can excel in academics and read and write efficiently. I was not a wizard, but I did manage to survive advanced math in high school. I avoided all math in college, I had been challenged enough.
I am more visual and that led to my career in photography. I was a fine arts major in college and have enjoyed playing the trumpet in several big bands over the years.
I enjoy writing, now. With the exception of writing a sports article with lots of stats up against a deadline, I do very well. Did I mention that spell check is a God send?
I have a loving and wonderful wife. I have three amazing children, two of whom have shown mild signs of the disorder. I now have two super grandchildren who are perfect.
Now I also have written 300 blogs. Woo Hoo!
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