Posted in Writing

Living with Dyslexia– What still trips me up after 20 years

If you came here from my other Writing Characters with Dyslexia blogs, welcome. This one might be slightly more personal but should still help you get a better understanding of how to write your characters. Dyslexia, as I have said, is different for everyone, but here is what I still have trouble with after years of help.

Sentence Structure

If you were to meet me in person or text back and forth with me you would find a lot of run on sentences and misplaced words. Maybe you can even tell just reading my articles. I use words I know how to spell rather than the first word I thought of. For instance ‘tired’ becomes ‘exhausted’  because the latter is easier for me to remember. When talking, I will really closely mimic people I look up to using emphasis in the same places as them and the same word choice.

Tone of Voice

I get so carried away trying to figure out what people are saying that I don’t listen to what their tone of voice is saying. I’m awful at sarcasm even though I use it quite a bit. No one can tell when I’m being sarcastic and I can’t tell when they are either. This is applicable to all cues you get from tone of voice.

Spanish and French

Any language that uses the same alphabet as English is near impossible for me to read or understand. However, I’m much better at Japanese because EVERYTHING is different. I learn from the ground up all over again and can’t relate it to English in the least.

Commas

Even though I know the rules of where to place them, commas illude me. I have to use auto correct to get them in almost all situations. I also will combine sentences with commas instead of using a period. Thank god I live in modern America!

I hope this helped you write more realistic characters or understand dyslexia more. If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me either in the comments or on my contact page!

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Posted in Fiction, Writing

Writing Characters With Dyslexia Part 2!

Last year I wrote my most viewed article, Writing characters with dyslexia. Today I’ve come back to clarify and expand on writing these quirky characters. Keep in mind, this is how my dyslexia affects me and it might not be the same for others.

First, The science

So when you think synapses are fired in your brain. That triggers another one to fire and the chain is what creates the way you process the world around you. (At least that’s my understanding.) So when someone who is dyslexic thinks the same thought, different synapses fire and it takes longer for us to figure out the same information.

This also means we can come up with ideas others never would!

We think about each idea longer and think about it differently that normal people would. This ends up in us coming up with out of the box ideas and odd ways of doing things. For instance, my dad and I are picking up pinecones, he holds open the bag and tosses them inside. I go find a box and put the trash bag inside it to act as a trash can outdoors, my way is much easier. This principle is also true for concepts. Someone reviewed a novel I plotted out and told me the idea was too complex for normal people to fallow.

Dyslexics are usually called 3D thinkers.

I can imagine what a room looks like from any angle without walking there. I can figure out what it would look like to be shorter, taller, on the ceiling, upside down, all while sitting in one place. I never get lost walking around Chicago. When I leave a building my mind always forms a mental map of how to get back home. I can never give anyone directions though. When I try to figure out how to get somewhere, I start at the place I want to be and work my way street by street backward to my current location.

Memory

I have a great memory for places, textures, and objects but I will not remember your face. I am just enough on the autism scale that I hate looking into people’s eyes. At 19 I still find it hard to look in my parent’s eyes. I wouldn’t make full, sustained eye contact with my boyfriend until I had been dating him for upward of three months. So when I meet someone new I am much more likely to remember their shoes that the color of the hair or what they looked like at all.

I can’t make eye contact with myself in the mirror

 When you meet me you will think I look like a train wreck, my hair will be messy, I might have something on my face and my hands will by stained with dirt and paint. The reason for this is I hate mirrors. I can not look myself in he eye. The first time I remember doing so was middle school. So I don’t look in the mirror when I brush my hair, I won’t wash my face unless I’m in the shower. I don’t even like washing my hands because of the mirror.

I hope this look into my life helps you understand how to write dyslexic characters better. As you can see, it’s much more than just the reading, writing and math parts I covered last time. If you have any questions or want me to expand further, feel free to tell me in the comments!

You can also check out the things that still trip me up after years of tutoring Here.

Posted in Uncategorized

Writing characters with Dyslexia

Growing up dyslexic I can confirm that the hardest part is learning to spell dyslexia. For you writers out there, let me condense some of your research and give you a good starting point. Let’s start with the physical changes to the brain.

There are lots of different kinds of dyslexia that effect different parts of the brain. Simply put, there are the people who struggle with writing, reading, math or a combination of the three. Though the idea that the left and right parts of the brain are reserved for analytic skills and art skills respectively, the brain is wired differently for dyslexics. Information is essentially rerouted through different parts of the brain. Dyslexia is currently on the autism spectrum so that’s a good thing to research.

Trouble with reading.

Keep in mind that this is all how I experienced dyslexia. Letters are most often what we get mixed up. Specifically, “B” and “D” whose lowercase forms are almost exactly the same. For me, I only read the first 3 or so letters of a word and the guess the rest based on context. When I was young I would only read the first letter and then one letter later in the word. Another issue is word order. My eyes go faster than my brain can compute so I often read (and even type) the word that comes after the current word. For example: Are there only two cans of paint? Might turn into: Are there two cans of paint, only?

Conjunctions still tripped me up as a teenage and spell check is what taught me how to read them.

Writing with dyslexia.

In addition to the things under the reading section, there are many issues with writing. Capital letters have always confused me.  I still capitalize random letters in a sentence, usually a word I want to put emphasis on.

Where to end a sentence as well as Word order, have always Confused me.

Translation: I’ve always been confused by both word order and where to end a sentence.

The last thing is many, many spelling errors. When in dough, we spell things how they sound. Spellcheck is one of my best friends. The worst thing is when I spell a word so wrong that spell check can’t find it.

My most common errors:

Reallistic should be realistic.

Cowaparate is actually cooperate

Crismas means Christmas

Sean is supposed to be scene

Sighen should be sign

And any name presents trouble

Math. Stupid math.

I have issues with all three of these but none are quite like math. + becomes -. Dividing turns to multiplication. 1205 might be 1502. Checking each line is the only way I get anything right. I do steps out of order, my notes are messy numbers are written backward, I leave out parts of numbers. Oh, by the way, if your dyslexia is introduced to algebra, expect them to start out with y= X*2 and end up with W=z2 (not like that was even a math problem, to begin with).

Some dyslexics are amazing at math. I really like to write but can’t do math to pass a class. Adding in my head is still terribly hard. Telling time is difficult, and you better hope I have a calendar because tomorrow is Thursday the 5th and the day after that is Wednesday the 7th .

A note on our thoughts.

Being dyslexic doesn’t men were dumb, I started college at age 16. We just think differently. I wrote my first books at age six, and entirely in camera angles. Without tutoring, however, we can get the lowest grades in the class. Come up with a redeeming quirky quality for your dyslexic character. Something artsy is most realistic.

Find part 2 Here!

Or find out about things I still struggle with after years of tutoring Here.