“Before starting the story, it’s important that you know that it’s very difficult, it’s very difficult to tell the difference between someone who has dyslexia and someone who doesn’t.”
If you, the reader, had difficulties reading the sentence above, know that this is usually the daily life of many people in the world diagnosed with dyslexia. Often, even in childhood, they are confused with lazy or disorganized students. They receive reprimands from parents and teachers for always being scattered and for taking too long to copy from the board to the notebook. They can swap letters, skip lines, write letters backwards or repeat syllables. They can confuse left with right and some have difficulty fixing content.
For everyone to experience the routine difficulty of someone with this condition, the 53-year-old author Marina Miyazaki, from Paraná, decided to write a book on what she calls “dyslexics” – with the mistakes that most people with dyslexia make when they need to put on paper what they mean. As she herself explains in the work, “For the first time in a book, non-dyslexics will adapt to dyslexics, not the other way around, as has always happened“.
In the book Dislexicando (Editora Jandaíra, 2015), a girl decides to tell everyone about her dyslexia, but not in a conventional way. The work reproduces small spelling errors (such as in some sentences in this article), repeats words or syllables and tries to lead the reader to unravel the labyrinths of his mind and his way of thinking.
With a critical tone towards adults (parents, teachers and specialists), whom the narrator calls “They”, Marina shows how the lack of understanding about dyslexia makes children even more lost, unmotivated and, often, with self-esteem. compromised. In a lighthearted way, the work allows readers to understand that the diagnosis is not a conviction and that the disorder does not prevent anyone from learning, studying, working, driving or achieving dreams.
“It’s a children’s book for lay people about my issues with dyslexia, almost an autobiography”, says the author. “I wanted to make a book about us for ourselves. Because experts make their books for them. It’s their technical dyslexia book for themselves. They don’t talk to us,” she defended, who discovered the disorder as an adult.
“I found out after I had children. Because for me, the mistakes I made were things that happened to everyone. I knew it got in the way, but I didn’t know it was to that degree. When you have a child, you start to see that they don’t they do those things that you do. But they just started, unintentionally, to diagnose me. ‘Is it today? Look! See it straight because if it’s Mom, it’s going to see wrong’.”
A mother of five, Marina reports that living with the children made some of the difficulties she always had even more evident and highlights that the disorder is not limited to spelling mistakes.
“It’s the memory that’s a little messed up. When you read something, you write it down in your diary, but then you don’t look at it. [na agenda] or, when you look, you look at the wrong day. Or, you write down the time that was supposed to be the date. It was supposed to be the 17th and you write down 17 hours”, exemplifies Marina, who says, between laughs, having already left her children at a party house, on the wrong birthday.
“When I went to get it and asked how the party had gone, the youngest said that the only problem was that João Paulo [o aniversariante] had not gone. I thought it was child’s play, until the owner of the buffet came to ask me, when I was already in the car, if I wasn’t on the wrong birthday and even tried to return the gift to me”, he recalls, making it clear that he managed to transform the embarrassing situation in mood.
Despite several setbacks — in the first contact made by the report through social networks, Marina changed one of the numbers and provided the wrong cell phone to the reporter — and “stories” that after a while became a joke, she defends that dyslexia is not a ” seven-headed bug” and bets on affection as a transformation engine in the teaching of atypical children.
For the author, schools are not prepared to deal with the different and there is a lot of emphasis on children’s mistakes and failures. “The assessments, for example, are made by typical people and they want us to fit in. The problem is one of teaching, not of learning”, she highlights.
“I feel at an advantage”
Plastic artist, type designer and photographer Tony de Marco, who illustrates the pages of the book, agrees. “Today, for me, it’s very clear that dyslexia is responsible for the way I am and for the things I’ve managed to do throughout my life. I no longer see it as a difficulty or something that gets in my way, on the contrary, I feel in advantage of being dyslexic”, he says.
Tony discovered dyslexia in 1975, at age 12. Early diagnosis, however, did not help him much since, at the time, there was still no clear understanding of what it was about. “It wasn’t until many years later, when I started to read books translated from English on the subject, that I identified with and came to understand my condition better.”
The partnership between Marina and Tony began to be traced virtually through Twitter, where Marina maintains the dyslexic profile — the place where she began to expose herself as a person with dyslexia, writing, purposefully, with deviations from the cultured norm.
Although this condition has no “cure” (not least because it is not a disease), the author emphasizes that it is possible to learn to live with it. “My message is this: dyslexia is not this terror that they put on. Most people with dyslexia have a much higher than average cognitive part, they have enormous creativity. So just let us discover the best way to learn — people learn differently from each other, both typical and atypical. And, moreover, adults who struggle because the difficulty, as I said, is teaching”, he reinforces.
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