A priceless exchange between dyslexic individuals percolated a while back on the Learning Ally Facebook page, centered on the classic "What's wrong with me?" conundrum that so many face. We reproduce it here and share our good fortune of being able to listen in.
Question from Christina in Denver, Colorado:
"I have a question for all of you. In your experience, do people without dyslexia often view us dyslexics as disorganized in our planning / executing strategies?
"I am a professional classical singer and recently produced my first show. I explained to my colleagues that that this was my first time producing and I would be making my share of mistakes. I also explained that I am dyslexic and requested that they be understanding with my process. Everyone seemed fine with the situation.
"As usual, I had to do things in my own particular order. I delegated where I needed to, and worked tirelessly for months. I had a few key people drop out about six weeks before the production and had to fill the gaps -- including taking on one of the roles and directing a portion of the show myself. Keep in mind that it takes me three times longer than most people to memorize music because I have to create a mental photograph of the entire page. In the end, everything came together. For my first production, it was actually halfway decent.
"One of my coworkers, though, has accused me of being disorganized and not having my act together. This is an individual with a decidedly 'Type A' take-charge personality who likes everything done a certain way.
"I feel like I am not only being put down, but criticized for my dyslexic way of getting things done. This has also left me depressed and seriously doubting my own abilities. I've run into this in the music world before; it seems like this is a field where a disability is considered to be an excuse."
Response from Janice Mitchell, Ohio-based business leader, "serial entrepreneur" and Learning Ally National Board Member:
"Ah, reminds me of the time a CIO of a Fortune 500 company laughed at me and said, 'You're going to start a company about information security and know nothing about it?' He stood up, wiped his hands on his pants, extended his hand out to shake mine and said, 'Good luck with that' -- and walked OUT OF HIS OFFICE! I was left feeling like, 'Oh man, I guess I didn't think that one through..."
"It didn't take long for my goofy way of thinking to get tired of hearing, like you, that you can't do it, you're so chaotic, blah blah. . . but then to learn to start thinking: That's the exact reason why I
"Because our dyslexic minds simply process things differently, we might store things differently and it's a lot harder to get the information in there! However, unlike a 'normal' mind -- say like your 'Type A' friend there -- once it's in there, we process that infomation 400 times FASTER than the normal mind!
"So yeah, I have done things in a manner that some folks can't understand, but I promise you, that you know exactly where everything is and that you can get to the solution in a more strategic, more creative manner than most can!
"Pick your chin up my dear! Your mind with its opportunities of dyslexia is a GIFT, not something to be depressed about! How boring the world be if we were all the same! And besides, I have learned when people make comments like that, they really are insecure with themselves and see you as a threat....
"I am proud of you, jumping in at that last minute. Um, where's the kudos for doing that
! Job well done! "
Post-script response from Learning Ally member Kelly Fritz:
"I have also been in the world of music and understand the demands that others put on us. As you know, we will always do things differently than other people. You know what? It's ok. That is what I have learned over the past 20 years.
"I have been created differently and my gift of thinking outside the box will look different. Start looking at what you want to do next, learn from what you just did, what worked and what didn't work. And don't allow others who are jealous of your creativity to put you down."
Editor's note: Readers are welcome to join in the conversations on Learning Ally's Facebook community page