Don’t say suffer
As a person who has dyspraxia and mother of a child who has dyspraxia I am constantly disappointed by the language used in articles, posts or publicity when referring to dyspraxia, dyslexia or AD(H)D .
When reading an article or social media post or paper about dyspraxia, dyslexia or AD(H)D it is the language used that often determines whether I give it a ‘like’, share it on my fb page or ReTweet it on my Twitter feed.
I love a good news story or a positive post reporting “success” stories. I want to pass them on , share them, encourage others to do it their way.
Quite a big (and possibly childish) part of me sees the posting of such positive stories as sticking the proverbial 2 fingers up to all those who have ridiculed me and put me down over the years. However, I do get a bit twitchy when these POSITIVE stories are reported with language that has NEGATIVE connotations. It is the terms used in such a reporting style that reinforces a paternal and somewhat condescending attitude.
- Battled against the odds
- Despite being dyslexic
I understand that the accounts are used to raise awareness and dispel myths that are still all too commonplace that
- we are lazy,
- we don’t try hard enough
- we just need to concentrate more
Yet, it is often dyslexia or dyspraxia that is mentioned first rather than the accomplishment itself, such as a published novel, entrepreneurship, exam success. Sometimes the person isn’t even mentioned in the headline – Brave Dyslexic Overcomes Inability To Read To Publish Novel. All too often – for my liking at least – the accomplishment cited is the, “beating or triumphing or overcoming” of dyslexia or dyspraxia rather than the achievement itself. I think what irritates me is the authoritative tone. For me, it smacks of my school days, “the rest of you dyslexics / dyspraxics could succeed if only you tried hard enough.” I understand why the stories are publicised as role models are a recognised way of inspiring as well as reassuring people. I want to keep highlighting these achievements BUT I would like a change in the language used and reporting style. I now know it is not just me who finds it irksome. This post has been anguishing on my ipad for many months but I finally had the courage to publicly post it after reading links tweeted on the same day but by two different organisations. The first was an article by RASP (Rebelling Against Spelling Press) a publishing company who value creativity and delivery of an idea above grammar and spelling – HURRAH! Their aims are akin to those that inspired me to set up Diverse Learners. The blog relating to dyslexia encapsulates my own feelings and gave me the push to get my voice out there too. I want to thank them for that and ask you to read the blog.
The second was TOTKO . I fell into a tweet conversation with TOTKO when they posted that their team – like our team at Diverse Learners – either have dyslexia, dyspraxia, AD(H)D, Autism or mental health issues. TOTKO tour schools and deliver workshops challenging the concept of disability. Only whilst writing this post did I realise it stood for Takes One to Know One. I really do feel like they know me.