Crushed Diaries

A blog for Young Adults

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

My dyslexic cousin

My middle-aged cousin is dyslexic, but when she was a young girl in the Sixties, no one really knew what that meant. All she knew was, she couldn’t read until she was fifteen. Her parents didn’t know what was wrong with her. They even sent her to a female child psychologist who didn’t spot her chronic dyslexia. This stupid woman even said that my cousin’s father was to blame for her inability to read, which was a ridiculous diagnosis as he was a kind old soul who wouldn’t hurt a fly. If my cousin's dyslexia had been diagnosed at the time, her life would have been very different. She could have gone to university and studied geography like she had always dreamed of doing. Her parents tried everything and sent her to lots of different schools, hoping she would learn something, but she couldn’t even read the blackboard. As far as she was concerned, the words were a big jumbled blur. In desperation, her parents even sent her to a private tutorial school, where the pupils were taught on a one to one basis, but even they didn’t spot what was wrong with her. My cousin was only there for a term and hated every moment of it. She just couldn’t grasp what she was being taught. She begged her parents to let her leave school altogether, as she was sick and tired of the whole trying to learn process. By this time, she was fourteen so her parents allowed her to leave. I was incredibly jealous that she didn’t have to do any more homework, or to sit exams. While I was slaving away in the classroom, she got a fun job working in the local market, selling second hand clothes to pop stars.

She was lucky, because she was finally taught to read by Mum's new cleaner, an out of work of actress, who suspected she wasn’t an imbecile, but was dyslexic. (Her daughter was dyslexic too). My cousin could have gone back to school if she had wanted to, but she started to educate herself by reading books on geography, and went on to have a successful career as a lecturer on cruise ships which went all over the world. What did she lecture on? Dyslexia of course. Although, she was now able to read fluently, due to her condition, she had a problem learning her words, so she made sure she taped all her lectures beforehand and learned them all parrot fashion. In the end, she also got married to a teacher whom she met on one of the cruises. He taught at the first dyslexic school in England. And, when she had children, the first thing she wanted to know after counting their toes, was – did they take after her? Were they also dyslexic? Because if they were, she wanted to make sure they wouldn't have to suffer at school like she did.

Copyright: Frances Lynn, 2006


Post a Comment

<< Home