I was trying to think of what to write for BADD 2007. I’ve been trying really hard to avoid some trite comments from the Accessibility advocate that I am.
Then it occurred to me that my dyslexia is a disability as real as any other. It’s certainly something that gets a few laughs in the office. Lots of people talk about having a
dyslexic moment as if it’s something you can turn on and off. While I don’t really find that bothers me it’s still an interesting idea that it propagates. It’s almost like that offhand comment implies that dyslexia is just about taking a lack of care.
It isn’t entirely far from the truth. Most people don’t realise I am dyslexic, I’m pretty smart, literate, and I read faster than a lot of people I know. I’m also great at Maths. I don’t sound very dyslexic yet do I? However the more tired I am the more noticeable it gets. I think my brain is compensating pretty well most of the time, but tired robs it off enough ‘cycles’ that it has to let slip just so I can function at all.
I can’t actually read long words, or I find it very difficult. When I was in primary school they thought I just was a normal kid doing normal kid reading. In fact I was doing what I’ve always done, I guessed long words from the first and last couple of letter based on context. It turns out I find it really hard to break a word down and then assemble it from it’s pieces. Strange eh?
I think the point I’d like to make is even very capable people (if I can call myself one) may be disabled in some way. Disability is not about how much you are able to do something benchmarked against the rest of humankind, it’s about how much of your potential is being restricted from you. Many, many ‘disabled’ people live full and wonderful lives. What we need to do is make sure people look to remove barriers so that people can reach whatever their potential is, and enjoy their many varied capabilities.
For more info on Blogging Against Disablism Day see the post on Diary of a Goldfish.