Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Facebook Scewrde the Dsylecixs

dyslexia

When I was very little I was often punished or chastised for bad handwriting. Mastering the ‘S’ was a nightmare, and I had a hard time remembering which way the ‘E’ was supposed to point.  My writing was overly large, never sat properly on a line, and was sloppy.  It was assumed I was stupid.  A very bright young teacher noticed me doing mathematical problems in my head with my eyes closed, then writing the answer at the bottom of the row.  She later noticed me devouring books with a ruler tucked against the break.  She figured it out. 

They had not begun giving dyslexic students reading guides. I loved books, had taught myself to read, and discovered it was easier to do if I could keep a physical item under each line— a book mark turned sideways to keep each line even, but I could never master a straight line, so I braced a ruler against the center break in stead. It forced my ruler to keep an honest horizon, something I could never do.

Before I left the public school system it was discovered that my IQ was “off the charts.”  By grade 5 I was allowed to do some self-directed study in order to avoid becoming bored and falling asleep.  This worked. I plowed through books, flipped through phonics lessons, ate up history, but always struggled with math, since it often required linear visuals at that stage, and this was my one weakness. It still is, by the way. I do most math in my head and avoid any modern math that requires the drawing of lines.  I love mathematical theory—Euler Circuits and Fibonacci—but have no talent for practical application.

What the hell does this have to do with Facebook?  For about a month now I have been trying to embrace the new timeline. Funnily, Ahmed had it forced on him today, and immediately made the observation: dyslexics are going to hate it.  Some will.  Some won’t.  I’m probably not going to be able to adapt.  I like FB a lot, so I’ll simply abandon my timeline and try to figure out a rhythm that works on my main page.  Lately I’ve been doing that—watching that mini-timeline-type section with updates for anything direct. 

Following the double-column system for a while gave me the nastiest cluster headaches I have had since graduate school.  I had a friend who used to come looking for me during crunch-time, only to find me curled up on the floor in a fetal position, shades drawn, iced facecloth covering my eyes, crying like a small child.  The pain was so bad it would put me into a three to four day flat-out every semester.  Once the last final was over, I would crash in a sobbing heap, take something to knock me out, and sleep for as long as I could. I’d usually end the term with three or four days of straight-study-and-test with no sleep.  I was brittle-cheerful wandering around campus, but I went those days without sleep in order to avoid the sudden hammer-tap that was coming.  Not until I made it out of “finals” and into a doctoral program overseas, where I was almost always examined orally or interactively, did I get past those dark, dark cycles a few times a year.  They were terrifying.  Doctors were convinced I had a brain tumor.  I was diagnosed as dyslexic by high school but every expert insisted I couldn’t possibly be dysgraphic because I loved to read and write. Dysgraphics can’t write… only some of us can.  In cases where the dsygraphite has a high IQ and determination, we just force it and suffer the gritted teeth of laboring with each letter.  Again, a clever professor noticed that every bubble-pencil test I took, I failed… yet he KNEW I shouldn’t.  He checked one test visually and found I had missed one line, and every answer after that was correct if he moved it up a line.  Thanks, Dr. Michaels, for allowing me to do papers and oral exams for the rest of that semester. 

My handwriting is still a bit large and often slants on blank pages.  If you have ever gotten a card from me you surely noticed.

But the new timeline on facebook is torture.  So, after having cluster headaches revisit, I am going to continue being an FB fan, but may miss direct responses to things I’ve said.  I can’t find them.  If I see them pop on the home page, I’ll go look… but don’t be disappointed or offended if I don’t find them.  It’s nothing personal.  I may do more responding than stating, too, as I find it nearly impossible to revisit my postings.

Until I figure my way, I may look like a bit of an idiot, or even appear rude when I say something and seem to ignore comments.

And you thought I was perfect! :)

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