08/01/2016 10:59 GMT | Updated 08/01/2017 05:12 GMT


As someone who has a very mild form of dyslexia, as the years have gone by, I now find myself having developed a bit of a chip on my shoulder. It really shouldn't bother me because I should at the age of 52 have grown used to it by now. Yes, those of us that do suffer with this (in my case) rather irritating affliction often get treated as nothing more than someone without an opinion, or someone who would in most circumstances be viewed as boring. No, I didn't do well at school, at all. I never attended university or college. But over the last few years with the advent of social media, I have written a few articles for HuffPo and other blogs. Since I have been doing this a few people who I have known for many years have passed (I'll call them careless and unthoughtful comments, rather than back handed insults) comments such as, "When did you get so clever" or "I never knew you were so smart" or "I guess since you've retired you've had plenty of time to educate yourself"!

The fact is my intelligence, or lack of, has not changed one jot. I have always had to try to educate myself in other ways and have found I have a very broad spread of knowledge in many subjects. I'm sure that I am no more, or less intelligent than any of my friends with one or two glaring exceptions. Their perception has obviously been, let's just say (being kind to myself), that I am that friend who is just a little slow. The strange thing is nearly all of those who have said such things, have all had university or college educations. They have studied maybe one two or possibly three subjects. Reading books written by others, in effect borrowing intelligence, or should I say knowledge, from those who wrote said books. Unfortunately society has deemed that those with qualifications, are in fact more intelligent than those who do not have qualifications. Naturally, and why shouldn't/wouldn't they then believe this to be true? The fact is, they have been doing the same job as I have. Been paid the same as I have or pretty much.

The fact that they didn't take the time to actually find out who I was, and were generally busy telling me about themselves really says more about them than it does about me. Having an enquiring mind I was always willing for them to tell me about themselves and maybe I gave them a greater sense of their own fulfilment, which of course would appear to be much more than my own. Please don't get me wrong, these people I am referring to are friends and this is no way meant to be an admonishment, as firstly how were they to know? Many dyslexics will identify with these observations and equally, may well have friends who will have said similar things.

No, at this time in my life I am never going to be a millionaire as my time has passed, had I made some better decisions in my early 20s then I have no doubt I could have been very wealthy (financially) and in fact, the things I enjoy in life do not need to be bought so it really is not a problem. My son suffers with the same condition, I imagine worse than I, and I would often ask my estranged wife to correct our daughter who used less than kind language towards him. Whether she did or not I'll never know. Of course if you are told something often enough, then many actually believe it and then do not see the need or have the desire to push themselves.

There are many, many dyslexics who have risen to top, of either their chosen profession, or in fact found a particular skill that has directed them into a completely new and unexpected direction. Two notable dyslexics are Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein. I wonder if their friends ever said "I didn't know you were so smart"? I would hazard a guess and say that almost certainly in their early lives someone would have said something similar. Dyslexics often behave differently to most and they struggle to fit in, they often become extroverts, a famous example of this is Robin Williams RIP. Of course his extrovert behaviour was masking many inferiority symptoms which I imagine ultimately lead to his suicide. Only when writing this article did I realise how many famous people suffer the same affliction, and I'll leave you with a quote from Albert Einstein.