Last night I watched a programme on television about Henry (The Fonz) Winkler and his struggle with dyslexia.
When he was growing up, people assumed Henry was stupid. Even his parents called him ‘Dummer Hund’…(dumb dog), His dylexsia made schooling very difficult for him. Teachers assumed he wasn’t trying hard enough or that he lacked intelligence.
It wasn’t until he was an adult, a successful actor and a parent that he was diagnosed with the disorder, and then, only because his step-son was being tested as he had similar learning challenges.
I can barely imagine trying to function in a world where all the letters and words are a jumble…a nonsensical mish mash of symbols. The closest I can get is the confusion you feel when you are in a foreign country and don’t understand the language. Imagine having to deal with that every day of your life and being branded stupid as well. Imagine not being able to enjoy reading, easily, fluently, quickly. Imagine…having…to….stop…..to….figure…out….every….word and not remembering them when you saw them again. Think of all the reading you do every day; not just books but the incidental reading too….the signs, the labels, the instructions, the warnings. How would you cope in a jumbled world?
I know that I would hate it. My world of words is so very important to me. It brings me closer to my friends, helps me connect with more people every day. It gives quiet joy and contemplation and allows me to give free rein to my creativity. I rejoice in words and I am glad that, over the years, I have been able to introduce many children to the joy of reading.
I am in awe of Henry Winkler and the others like him who have managed to find ways to live well within a world of jumbled words.