Month: January 2017

Dyslexia: A lifetime in Reverse

Amateur Diagnosis

It wasn't until the sixth grade that someone accurately diagnosed the condition. My french teacher, nevertheless, asked me to read the letters of a word out loud en français. Upon completing the request she asked me to perform it a second time, as I had incorrectly recited one of the characters. Again, I fail to complete the task correctly; looking at me with concern and then inquiring if I had Dyslexia. Completely embarrassed to be given such a "derogatory label" I immediately shut the notion down and carried on with the rest of my school work; but it was this defining moment that everything started coming together.

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One night my bedroom light flashed on, awakening me from a pleasant sleep. My mother was upset, to the point of being frantic, informing me that we were leaving. Along with my kid sister we spent the remainder of the evening at a friend's house. That was the night my parents separated, I was seven years old. As a single parent, my mom did what she had to do to provide food, clothing and shelter, which meant that we moved around a lot, which also meant we attended a lot of different schools. At the end of the next school year I was specially selected to repeat the second grade; citing that the family break up was to blame for my lack of focus in class.

I spent the next two years in remedial classes, because I just couldn't keep up with the academics. I flourished in artistic endeavours but fell short in reading, writing and math.  In the fifth grade I grew tired of feeling stupid and like an outsider. It was time for a change, I wasn't going to spend my time doing what I considered "baby work". Biting the bullet I refused to go back to the "Special Ed" program and did my best to keep up with my peers in regular classes.

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Comprehension

Perceiving the correct order of things and then recalling it that same way.

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Attitude

Not only does one view things differently. One views oneself differently as well.

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Stigma

Not only is there internal conflict, but social ramifications arise as well.

Progressing through grade school, high school and then college I always had to put extra time and effort in to ensuring everything was right with the world. My first job after graduating college was in the Commercial Film Production Industry as a junior tape operator. I only lasted three months at this particular place. During the late 90's production companies still shot commercials on film and had them transferred to videotape for editing. It was my job to take the videotape and sync the reel-to-reel audio tape to match.

As an overnight job it was time sensitive because Editors would be screaming in a few short hours to start their work. To make a long story short, let's just say most nights were stress filled. I was hauled in to the boss' office after a particularly rough evening. He and the Vice President wanted an explanation as why one of the jobs was not done on time. After venting the laundry list of events that had taken place, my final retort was the "Dyslexic Card". The Vice President's arms flailed in the air, "So that means you are going to be slow at everything!?!" I could see it was going be a rough battle anywhere I went. So I learned how to cope; double, triple, quadruple checking everything I did just to cover myself.

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As technology progressed things became much easier. Computers with voice recognition software, text to speech, and spell checking, all increased my productivity and accuracy. Audiobooks allowed me to absorb information at a faster pace than reading. I was finally on a level playing field which helped build confidence and self-esteem.

Things still fall through the cracks from time to time though. I do not see letters or numbers backwards as normally portrayed, but there is difficulty in recalling the order of things in the correct sequence. Sometimes, I literally see things that are not there, but with the blink of an eye the entire scene completely changes. I also get my directions mixed up between East and West a lot... that makes things interesting when traveling.

I was always more drawn to the arts growing up. Pictures, colours, sounds, and music were always easier to understand and comprehend. As I ventured into business I learned to use the technology around me to enhance my weaknesses. Systemization is probably the most effective way to combat an issue like Dyslexia, because once the proof-reading part of a project has been approved the production process becomes much more streamlined and efficient.

When asked what my advice would be to young people today who are experiencing the affects of Dyslexia, my first response is to never use it as an excuse. Do not play the "sick card", everyone has their own set of problems to deal with, we all need to overcome our own challenges. My second piece of advice is to admit your mistake, take ownership of it, correct it if possible and move forward. Do not let it hold you back from trying new things and experiencing life. There are a lot of people who shut themselves away and do not expand their comfort zone because they feel inferior. Bravery comes from doing something even though you are scared out of your mind. And finally, never quit. You will never finish or accomplish anything if you quit. When you stumble, get up and try again, it is all apart of the on-going development process.

Eye on Innovation

Eye on Innovation

It does not happen by itself. It does not just appear out of thin air. Nor does it come without experimentation or sacrifice. Innovation is an idea, backed with the belief that there is a better way.  It is a process of trial and error, a question that must be answered either through purity or manipulation. There is no such thing as failure when it comes to this operation, because true innovation does not spring from expectation, but rather curiosity.

Only by pushing the boundaries beyond what is capable today, can we create a future of tomorrow. That's the key right there, start today. From mere thoughts, into actions, can we achieve the goals we set, live in the places we love, and have all the necessities as well as the luxuries that life has to offer.

So the first question to be asked is, "What do you want to do?" Take that thought and turn it into something that did not exist before. It's not about money, it's not about ego, fame, or credit. Innovation is the art of giving the breath of life to obscurity and watching what the outcome will be. Build something, paint something, sculpt, write, plant, collaborate, and educate. See how far you can go and never give up on the process until you have that curiosity quenched.

Create Automobiles

Take some scrape metal and turn it into motion.

Robotic Innovation

What's to think about, just start doing something.

From Page to Stage

Learn from the masters and make it your own.