Confessions Of A Dyslexic Mother

24/01/2017 17:50
Tetra Images - Mike Kemp via Getty Images

Trying to teach your five year old to read, write and spell when you are still mastering the art is quite a tall order.

I am 33, a muma, and I am dyslexic. Very dyslexic.

I had subconsciously buried this teeny tiny fact once I had finished the gravy train of education. I sat my last exam at university, which I took in a separate room to my peers, just like I had taken all of my exams. We had extra time as well as a couple of helpful ladies ready and willing to assist us more needy students. This was the last time I really gave my dyslexia any thought.

I applied for jobs never mentioning it. I worked in sales and soon learnt to use the gift of the gab to cover up my rather chronic lack of organisation and close to zero order approach to the current role. I blagged and I sold. My admin was atrocious, my spelling so bad that the spellchecker often gave me the 'no suggestions' message as my attempts bore no resemblance to anything. Impressive! But I just about got away with it. No one knew. My secret was safe.

It's been just over five years since I was last employed, and I honestly haven't given my dyslexia a second thought.

Until now.

Our eldest daughter started school in September last year, and of course within the first few days proudly brought home her first reading book and flash card words to learn. I'm not going to lie, it was a bit like pulling off a plaster really really slowly as I sat there willing her to recall the word PAM and NAPS from one page to the next. But you've got to start somewhere, right.

The trouble is, it wasn't long before words like digraph and trigraph were appearing on homework phonic sheets. What the...? Dia-who?! Things have clearly moved on from robber red and kicking king back in the 80s. I'm not blaming my dyslexia for my ignorance of having absolutely no clue what these words mean, I can use Google. But no matter how often I try and absorb the method by which Darcie is being taught, I just can't seem to grasp it.

It is like I am learning to read all over again. I struggle to make sense of her homework instructions, I have to read it slowly several times before I will have any real understanding of what is being asked. Even then I am constantly referring back to the instructions line by line.

It's frustrating and makes me feel like muma-dunce.

I've also discovered another little blip - I had forgotten that I can't spell words out loud. I have to write them down. Even the most basic I find I have to write down or it comes out totally skewed. Of course I had a gentle reminder of this blackhole in my brain now that Darcie is beginning to get more interested in writing. She will often shout out: "Mum, how do you spell...?"

Action stations. DROP EVERYTHING. Focus the mind. Locate scrap paper, scribble the word down. Read it back.

It's a long winded process, it's like having daily spelling tests! My fear is the word requests are just going to get more complex, the assistance with essays and other English assignments will be more frequent and I'll let her down. My fear is that my little girls will think that their muma is an illiterate buffoon. It's not even like I can make up for it in the maths department either..!

I have hope that writing my blog is good exercise for my dyslexic mind. I'm sure I don't always make sense, my sentence construction isn't always logical, and my grammar is probably way off. I'm massively relying on the spell check paperclip man doing his bit...

I'm tackling my nemesis head on, well, why not? I might write a book next, you never know!

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