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Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Disabilities - they're ggrreeeeat!

Jerry Hall has announced to the world that all her kids are dylsexic.

It's sad to hear, because dyslexia can be an unfortunate affliction for any child. Being compromised in your ability to read, write or recognise the written word and/or numerals must be a very frustrating condition to live with, is often embarrassing to admit to and often leads people to intellectual self doubt.

I don't think it's exactly insightful of me to suggest that dyslexia as a condition demands a significant effort to overcome - particularly so if you happen to attend a school in which additional help is not adequately available, as is often the case with children less privileged than Ms Hall's.

What dyslexia is not, however, what it definitely is not, is "a gift":

'The Texan model Jerry Hall has revealed that all her children with the lead singer of the Rolling Stones, Mick Jagger, have dyslexia. Elizabeth, 23, a model, James, 21, Georgia May, 15, and nine-year-old Gabriel all have the learning difficulty, said Hall, who has herself been diagnosed with dyslexia. "They all take after me. Being dyslexic is difficult at the very beginning but as you get older you learn to cope with it and I think it's great."
The condition is inherited, and is believed to affect one in 10 people in the population. Ms Hall, 50, told Closer magazine she believed the condition was "a gift because it makes you think differently".'


Well, yes. Having dyslexia DOES require you to think differently - just as having a physical disability requires you to MOVE differently. Being autistic requires children to think differently too, and while some of the effects of that different thinking can be positive - and in some cases near miraculous (think Stephen Wiltshire) it is nothing short of insulting to suggest that such a disability is anything other than that - a DISABILITY.

It's great that she is supportive of the condition from which her children suffer, and it's great that she is in a financial position to be able to offer them the best educational care (and thus ensure that it doesn't necessarily compromise their chances of future success) but it's fairly insulting to the many millions of people whose educational and professional lives have been made more difficult by dyslexia to blithely declare to the world that you think "it's great"...

2 comments:

Stacy said...

I disagree, your 'disability' is your 'perspective' like so many who focus on the 'poor me syndrome' and poor dyslexic's syndrome.

Dyslexia is widely misunderstood; it encompasses many valuable and unknown assets and varies from person to person. It's not how I 'see' words, it's how I visualize them, and how I visually interpret them. It is the assets dyslexics have that interfere with traditional educational learning styles. These assets include thinking multi-dimensionally, the ability to visualize thought as a virtual reality, multi perspective, day dreaming, logic driven, creative thinking and heightened sensory awareness involving: emotions, outer influences, empathy, sight, sound, taste and smell. I call this "Multi-dimensional FreeThinking"--in short FreeThinkers. Thinking without boundaries, and with tendencies. Some dyslexics don't understand how to channel or ground their assets or even realize they have them. Traditional educators don't know quite what to do with these little gifted minds because they learn differently, therefore they label them. Most people who treat dyslexia focus only on one aspect of a person, where I believe dyslexia needs to be recognized and addressed in 'Body, mind, and spirit'. Where others focus on the mind, 'how we think' correcting the mechanical glitch side of dyslexia, others focus on 'how we do and don't operate', the physical and medical aspect of dyslexia, I am dedicated to the spiritual aspect; a good healthy attitude, to help ease the picking, probing and labeling effect. I am not a doctor or psychiatrist, I just have forty plus (ouch) years of being a textbook, certified with dyslexia and A.D.D. You can hit the forward button at anytime to continue into our site or read on.

Is it difficult absolutely!!! But I'm over it. If you are dyslexic, be proud that you are blessed with dyslexia, and the gift of Multi-dimensional FreeThinking, even when it doesn't seem like a blessing. You are among many successful people from every walk of life and every area of expertise who have struggled and succeeded. If you want to learn more go to...
http://www.dyslexia.tv/

Sincerely, Stacy Poulos / Photographer / Multimedia Producer / Writer / Bad Speller

Jo said...

HI Stacy,

Thanks for your comments, much appreciated.

I have several friends and relatives who suffer from dyslexia who wouldn't necessarily agree with your view that their condition is an enabling thing, but it's great that taking an alternative attitude is something that's worked for you.

I know that they don't think of themselves as buying into a 'poor me syndrome', as these are very far from self-indulgent or self-pitying people that I'm talking about. As I said, they consider dyslexia to be, for them, a disability.

Food for thought in any case.

Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Best wishes,

Jo