Ben Foss has dyslexia:
for the firt time in my life I officially love book. Its because I published one. It is a step by step plan to hepl dyslexic like find the path that will help them love books too. For somenoe who always felt left out when everyone becan discusing literature, this is profound moment.
As sysleci person realin is like having a bad cell phone conneciton to the page. Information drops out andI cannot get the content. When I listen to a book on tape or talking comunter it like having a land line. While mainstream people “eye read”, I ear read” and blind people who use Braille “finder read”.
Despite his learning disability, Foss was able to succeed in school, graduate from college, and, later, earn a law degree and a business degree. In the blog that he writes for the National Center for Learning Disabilities, Foss is most effective when he describes his self-consciousness (and self-doubt) at being different from his peers:
When I was a kid, I desperately wanted to understand the joy of reading. This desire quickly turned into a deep sense of shame. I assumed my slow eye reading must have been my fault for not trying hard enough—rather than the problem being a flaw in the design of the book itself. I created elaborate camouflage—I even won a local bookmark-making contest! I wanted everyone to think I was “well read,” but all of my energy was going into hiding who I really was.
The point he is trying to convey — that young people feel shame when they perceive themselves (or are perceived by others) as different — gets to the heart of the heartbreaking matter regardless of the differences among children:
For starters, let me tell you that when it comes to dyslexia, most people focus on reading or spelling. They should instead focus on shame. Shame is a feeling that you’re unworthy because of something you are. It’s different from guilt, which is feeling bad about something you did, like stealing or cheating. Shame comes from not feeling normal. But what is normal? As my mom told me when I was a kid, quoting the humorist Emma Bombeck, “Normal is just a setting on your dryer!”
If you’re terrible at a thing you’re asked to do every day—in my case as a kid, reading—you begin to assume that you must be the problem, and you try to hide it. That is shame. The key to success as a dyslexic person is to understand your strengths and weaknesses. This can be very scary, and it takes time. Finding joy as a dyslexic person or a parent of a dyslexic child involves first understanding the facts, then starting to tell your story to people you trust, and eventually creating a practical toolkit—including books on tape or a computer that will write down what you say—which allows you to play to your strengths.
We’re all unique. No one is perfect. We all need help from others at different points in our lives. It’s when we all become helpers (rather than the inevitable help-ees) that the human spirit really shines. Sometimes the best way to help is simply to listen and understand. Ben Foss’s blog is a great place to start.