Posted by: Zane Maser | January 22, 2016

THE PLANET OF DYSLEXIA

George_Smith_Patton_-_1944

Young George . . . although he was bright
and intelligent and bursting with energy,
he was unable to read and write. Patton’s
wife corrected his spelling, his punctua-
tion, and his grammar.
Biographer Martin Blumenson
(talking about General George Patton)
 

There’s no question all of us know about the existence of planets like Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Well, there’s yet another planet: Dyslexia. I keep trying to understand this foreign territory, because it’s a planet that, for me, is still shrouded in its mysteries! Perhaps due to a fortunate karmic choice in this lifetime, I’ve never set foot on the Planet of Dyslexia—that is, from what it must FEEL like from the inside out! There are times the Planet of Dyslexia tries my patience to the max!

In retrospect, when Chris and I were married 34 years ago, I had no idea whatsoever that my husband was a closet “dyslexic.” I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a language-based learning disorder termed “dyslexia.” From the outside, he seemed a normally functioning person. There were no apparent intellectual deficits or overt problems related to learning or reading. But, like most individuals with this “cognitive” disorder, most especially prior to dyslexia entering the mainstream with its diagnostic symptoms, they learn from a very early age to hide their challenges at school and in life. Teachers, classmates, his father, and later college professors labeled Chris repeatedly in shaming ways, such as you’re “lazy, slow, dumb, stupid, or not trying hard enough,” even though he possessed the perfectly normal to superior intelligence that characterizes dyslexics.

468px-Thomas_Edison2

A teacher sent the following note
home with a six-year-old boy:
“He is too stupid to learn.”
That boy was Thomas A. Edison.
Thomas Edison

Despite differences in the structural and neurological functioning of his brain, Chris had become adept over the years at coping with his dyslexia. Unbeknownst to my awareness early on, he had his set “runways” and “landmarks” to find his way around, even in our small town and state where he’s lived most of his life. With no workable, interior compass to aid him in distinguishing left from right—one of the possible symptoms of dyslexia—he often relied on maps drawn by others to help him navigate terrifying new routes. He’d go the opposite direction to where he needed to go when driving out of a parking lot, because his brain “wiring” switches directions 180 degrees, just like it changes the order of letters and numbers—another symptom of the condition. He’s dialed the Pentagon in Washington, D. C. and a mortuary in Texas when he was trying to call someone local! I’m the “checkbook balancer” in our family, a task that is wrought with total frustration for Chris, due to the fact that his sum total is different for every attempt. I get frequent questions like, “how do you spell obsolete?” or “how do you pronounce this word?” I sometimes get a blank stare when I ask him to give me a paraphrase of the news article he’s just read.

It has not always been easy living with a dyslexic. I can’t begin to imagine what it is like dealing with it, from the inside out, on a daily basis with the inherent discomfort and humiliation that is often heaped on a dyslexic. I have sometimes reacted to Chris’ disability with an unconscious resistance—because I don’t have those challenges he struggles with—rather than with acceptance, patience, and appreciation. The fact is he can’t be different than he is in this regard, even if he wanted to be “regular.” His mind doesn’t work the way my mind works—it never will. It is my folly to expect that his mental capacities will be other than they are. It is what it is.

Dyslexia is the most common learning disability and people worldwide contend with it. The exact percentage of the population it affects is unknown, but estimates suggest that anywhere from 5-17% may experience some degree of impairment. Dyslexics frequently have trouble spelling, counting the number of syllables in a word, pronouncing words accurately when reading aloud, reading quickly, sounding out words in the head or verbally, persevering with and understanding extended reading assignments, and comprehending what one has read or seen, as in the story line of a movie, to name a few of the potential difficulties. The extent of the learning challenges of dyslexia varies from person to person, and similar to Chris, it can run in a family wherein it was passed from mother to son in his case.1

Red_House_School_English_class

As a condition first identified in 1881, numberless individuals have suffered unnecessarily due to a lack of understanding and information about what constitutes this basic “disability.” Prior to the 1980s, dyslexia was considered the result of the educational process. Thus, people with dyslexia have been misjudged and “labeled” for a condition that is not their “intellectual fault” but rather involves problems within the mechanisms of the brain’s language and visual processing.2 It is sad to note that dyslexics at work sometimes encounter negative attitudes, prejudice, and are stigmatized for the differences and rates in which they process information and thus their tasks. At times, people make an external assessment based on outer “appearances” without any comprehension that dyslexia is a disability no less than any other disability, such as the person who is afflicted with anxiety and panic disorder.

453px-Whoopi_Comic_Relief_cropped

We’re born with success. It is only
others who point out our failures, and what
they attribute to us as failure.
Whoopi Goldberg

There are contrasting trade-offs with everything in life. The offsetting grace to dyslexia is the person is called on to develop alternative gifts that may have otherwise lain dormant. When Chris couldn’t do something the “customary” way, his innovative mind created other pathways toward solutions. Dyslexia never stopped him; it opened out a whole different segment of his talents and ability to think in original ways. The muscles of his intuitive capacities strengthened, and in his chosen professional field he has put forth pioneering ideas far beyond that of mainstream thinkers. He can “see” the intricate interrelationships within whole ecological systems and how the Universe functions according to a few basic principles! So prodigious has been his creative output that, just last week, he signed a book contract with his co-author. When that book—on the interface of the legal system with that of sustainability—arrives in print, it will be his 40th published book! Not too shabby of an achievement for someone who was labeled “stupid and slow” for so many of his formative years!

Many times I can see a solution to something differently
and quicker than other people. I see the end zone
and say ‘This is where I want to go.’
Charles Schwab, famous investor

And Chris shares company with some of the most distinguished, inventive, groundbreaking minds on the planet from the past and present. The following is but a brief list of those luminaries with the “gift” of dyslexia that have helped to elevate the level of consciousness on our planet.3

Actors and Entertainers: Jennifer Aniston, Harry Belafonte, Orlando Bloom, Tom Cruise, Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg,
Jim Carrey, Jay Leno, Keanu Reeves, Kiera Knightley, Billy Bob Thornton, Henry Winkler, Loretta Young

Filmmakers: Robert Benton, Walt Disney, Steven Speilberg

Musicians: Cher, John Lennon, Nigel Kennedy, Bob Weir

Artists, Designers, and Architects: Leonardo da Vinci, Ansel Adams (photographer), Tommy Hilfiger (clothing designer), Pablo Picasso, Auguste Rodin, Jorn Utzon (architect, designer of the Sydney Opera House), Andy Warhol

Athletes: Muhammad Ali, Meryl Davis (Olympic Gold Medalist, figure skating), Duncan Goodhew (Olympic swimmer), Bruce Jenner, Magic Johnson, Nolan Ryan, Jackie Stewart

Military Heroes: General George Patton

Political Leaders: King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, Nelson Rockefeller, Woodrow Wilson, George Washington, Winston
Churchill

Inventors and Scientists: Alexander Graham Bell, Pierre Curie, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Michael Faraday, Paul MacCready (“Engineer of the Century”), John R. Skoyles (Brain Researcher)

Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders: Richard Branson, Henry Ford, William Hewlett, Steve Jobs (founder of Apple), David Neeleman (CEO, jetBlue Airways), Charles Schwab, Ted Turner, Robert Woodruff (President of Coca Cola, 1923-1954), Frank W. Woolworth

Writers and Journalists: Scott Adams (Cartoonist of “Dilbert”), Hans Christian Andersen, Agatha Christie, Fannie Flagg, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gustave Flaubert, William Butler Yeats, Byron Pitts
(CBS News correspondent), Patricia Polacco (children’s author
and illustrator)

450px-Albert_Einstein_Head

He told me that his teachers reported
that … he was mentally slow, unsociable,
and adrift forever in his foolish dreams.
Hans Albert Einstein (father of Albert Einstein)

 
428px-Churchill_HU_90973

I was, on the whole, considerably discouraged
by my school days. It was not pleasant to feel
oneself so completely outclassed and left behind
at the beginning of the race.
Winston Churchill, noted statesman and orator, historical writer, and artist


Other Offerings of Compassion:

• The Hunchback in Each of Us

• Self-Acceptance Heals the World

• Appearances

• Compassion On the Day of Love

• Choose Love

• Two Choices In Life (the choice to accept or to resist what is)

• One Small Nudge affects the Whole World

Endnotes:

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dyslexia
2. Ibid.
3. http://www.dyslexia.com/famous.htm


©

Text © by Zane Maser, 2016. Photos gratefully used from Wikimedia Commons. All 2009-2016 rights of Zane Maser and SunnyCat Astrology reserved worldwide.

Protected by Copyscape Web Copyright Protection

My editorial guru and technological wizard is Chris Maser, my stupendous husband.


Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: