Dyslexia Superpower: Making grown people cry! (34/52)

What a good week! Apart from the namecheck in today’s FT.com article, ‘Inside the project to fix Britain’s low-performing businesses’, I’ve connected with four people who have reminded me that each of us with dyslexia and our supporters have there own personal [and more than likely moving] story to tell. 

Firstly, my father read-through my now 33 posts as the Dyslexic Professor. Not only did it bring back memories for him and a chance to reflect on all those decisions made in the dark (we just didn’t know any better) but also allowed me to revisit that sense of failure the education system ingrained in me.

By the time I went to boarding school, aged 8, I was already struggling – a feeling only enhanced by homesickness. Interestingly, I recently returned to this school (now apartments for the over-60s) and walked by the classroom which did so much to reinforce my sense of failure. It’s hard not to feel a bit moved by that little person in grey shorts and long socks – although I’m pleased to see knitted ties are back in fashion!

Secondly, through the power of LinkedIn, I connected with Professor Tim Conway of the The Morris Center, which seeks to put into practice the learning from research-based evaluations and treatments of dyslexia. Tim sent me a link to a moving account of a parent struggling to find the best way to support their dyslexic son and illustrated the power of appropriate intervention.

And finally, the next two connections came as a pair. Following a recomendation from a University Vice-Chancellor who read my article in the Times Higher Education, ‘I have decided to go public as the Dyslexic Professor’, Rosa Weber and Sally Gardner made contact and we finally met this week. We all share a passion for moving the dyslexia agenda from a disability to a difference and ultimately a superpower! I think the best name for us is – dyslexia activists. Meeting with fellow activists is a simultaneously cathartic and empowering experience.

Sally’s personal story is moving and needs a separate blog (maybe even in her own words). Now a successful author [my summer holiday reading!], she is challenging the established thinking in schools and prisons. Rosa and Sally have founded an enterprise to take this agenda forward: NUword – imagining a world beyond the word dyslexia.

Imagine what could be achieved by an organisation full of dyslexia activists!

What could the collective noun for dyslexia activists be? Taking inspiration from Sally’s school and prison talks about dyslexia and her analogy to swans (quite rightly, Sally draws a picture of swans looking serene as they swim upriver but are, in fact, paddling furiously below the waterline), I wondered about:

  • A ballet of swans
  • A bank of swans
  • A bevy of swans
  • A drift of swans
  • A eyrar of swans
  • A flight of swans (flying)
  • A flock of swans
  • A game of swans
  • A herd of swans
  • A lamentation of swans
  • A sownder of swans
  • A squadron of swans
  • A team of swans
  • A wedge of swans
  • A whiteness of swans
  • A whiting of swans
    (Source: http://www.animalsandenglish.com/swans.html)

Given the amount of discussion at our first meeting, I did wonder about a gaggle or flock of dyslexia activists!

Nigel LockettThe Dyslexic Professor
University dyslexia support