Definition and Deflection and Dyslexia by Chris Stanton

| 01/22/2015

Chris Stanton

What does being a dyslexic mean to someone learning he is one at age 42? Very little, and I am speaking with the exclusive authority of being me. What does it mean to a lad having so much trouble learning to read that a private school kicked him out, but then a public school teacher provided him patient attention? Life changing good! In this case I am speaking of my younger brother, a wide-ranging avid reader, with an unconventional problem-solving mind.

I became a dyslexic at the age of 42, the result of running into my senior year high school English teacher. She was an exceptional teacher. In the course of our conversation she told me that I was the most dyslexic student she ever had. I asked why hadn’t she told me? Obviously, she understood I was asking why hadn’t she helped me? She said she’d told my parents at a teacher conference, “and that didn’t go well.” She figured smart, affable me would acquire a secretary and I would be fine.

I had been married three years when my wife announced, as revelation, “you know all those (Odd? Crazy? Funny? Sad?) stories you’ve told – they are true!” I’m still married, so I cannot divulge how downhill that conversation went. My teacher encounter ten years later was no revelation to my wife; she had been telling me I was dyslexic forever.

Shorty after I had the teacher encounter, my wife and I picked up my older brother at the airport. We stopped for lunch. In the course of our what’s-going-on-in-our-lives conversation, I told the story of learning I am dyslexic. That factoid revision was angrily scoffed at by older brother. No good comes (later in life) from opening the dyslexic closet.

I think my brother assumed dyslexia was synonymous with illiterate. I think he also took it as criticism, since I had asked him and others for help when I was a kid, and was blown off. They had their lives; I wasn’t their job. I am a middle child; what can I tell ya.

So how does a kid go from being the dumbest kid in class in grades 2 through 7, and graduate from a good university? Seventh grade in public school was brutal, too, but there I had friends. I knew in 7th grade the school was seriously considering holding me back, but I tested way above their expectations on a battery of tests.

The best class I ever had was University Freshman English. The teacher, a middle age woman, announced, “all writing assignments will be about a subject of your choosing. If you lack a fascination, you will neither be a good writer nor a good thinker.” She was an enthusiastic delight, visiting each student asking the same question, “What are you trying to say?”

Renvyle Revisited an Irish Odyssey

I have written an Apple iBook, “Renvyle Revisited, an Irish Odyssey,” that neatly provides text and audio together. It also can be had at Amazon on Kindle and Audible.

A central theme of the book is story telling. The stories are not respectful of authority and ideologies – or what might be described as conventions. The book is a celebration of a youth finding his way from where he came.

If you know a dyslexic, have them read the blog stories and then hopefully the book.

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Scroll down to the earliest blog entries; they concern dyslexia.

By Chris Stanton

Category: News, Dyslexia, iBook

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