This is a guest post from my daughter Sherri, who like me, is a dyslexic with learning disabilities. She touches on an important subject that many of you might be able to relate to, and possibly have even experienced yourself. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us Sherri!
Dear Social Media Users, Friends, and Family…Social media is a place where we all gather to be “social”. A place to laugh, cry, and let our hair down. The internet has allowed for us to make friends across the ocean and stay in touch with family that otherwise might have not been possible. The world is changing. Social media is a huge way for people to have a party and stay at home. However, that doesn’t mean we should not show empathy, compassion, and love through social media. I don’t normally rant unless something touches my heart.So here’s what I have to say about my fun loving social media…I have noticed lately, the general public’s frustration with grammar and spelling.As a dyslexic with Learning Disabilities, I noticed that those who do not have dyslexia or learning disabilities, seem to be frustrated with those of us who do struggle daily with grammar.Grammar is one thing many struggle with. LD, Dyslexics, Foreigners learning English as a second language, and even our youth.Our youth; some will fall into the category of LD and others are a victim of our educational system. A very broken one at that, and geared towards those without any Learning barriers.However for those of us with learning disabilities the struggle is real and extremely frustrating.I want to say that just because we can’t spell or figure out the correct usage of the English language does not equate to the outcome of our content. Yes, I understand the same word spelt different and a comma in the correct place or not can cause confusion.I do get that, but if you’re smart enough to point out our short comings, then that means you were smart enough to know exactly what we were trying to say, and yes there are exceptions to this as well. But I’m talking in general terms here.For the record it’s not that we don’t want to care about our grammar or spelling, it’s that sometimes we don’t know that we’re actually making a mistake because it looks right to us.I have often heard people say, “oh just ask” or ‘why didn’t you just look it up”. If I did that every time I made a post I would have to have a person standing over me 24/7.To those of you whom have never had any LD or Dyslexia we are not stupid and our thoughts are usually very thought provoking and deep. Spelling and grammar can be confusing.We don’t know something is wrong, so how do we know to look it up?Remember back in Kindergarten or Preschool (or maybe you have a young child just learning to decode now) when you scribbled on your own paper and you showed it to an adult all proud of the message you just wrote, thinking you wrote a message. In your mind you were mimicking what you saw adults do. You didn’t see it as wrong so you didn’t ask to be shown how to do it correctly. Maybe your parents laughed and said “awe how cute”. Thinking it was just a drawing.You didn’t realize adult scribble has an order and rules to it. Well for a person with LD or Dyslexia they can have the same outcome, you think your words (scribble) said something because when you type or write it, it looks correct so you move on.I can remember being told by my teachers to look up a word I couldn’t spell. How can I do that if I can’t sound it out or I don’t know which word is the correct usage or what letter it began with. For example, words with the “S” sound that start with “C” or the “PH” sound that start with “F”. Another example is when you are spelling words such as “and”, “cat”, “dog” (very basic words that are learned in kindergarten), you would never think to look it up because it looks correct to you, but to some dyslexics those simple words can be confusing. Does the word “cat” start with a “C” or with a “K”? That is a thought process that some of us go through and we sometimes don’t get it right.This is something I have struggled long and hard with in my 51 years. I actually was grateful for the opportunity on social media to let my guard down a little and use abbreviations and not worry if I made an error on the correct usage. I mean, after all, I was getting my messages across, you were understanding the gist of it, so did it really matter in social situations if I misused or spelt a word wrong?Of course in my business I am smart enough to have people proof reading my articles and blogs. That doesn’t mean a mistake or two do not slip through (after all, we are all human), nor does it make my content any less valuable.So I have noticed with social media and blogs people tend to get very fussy, however it is easy for a non-dyslexic/ non learning disabled person to see that something is wrong, but maybe not so much for a person with the learning disability.What I’m really trying to say is that those of us with learning disabilities and dyslexia sometimes get it wrong, but you do understand the message we were trying to convey and as long as I’m using the word “their” for meaning “there” doesn’t really make that much of a difference if I accidentally spelt it wrong because my dyslexia has kicked in and on that particular day it looked correct.In this New Year let’s try and show some compassion and some patience for those of us with true learning disabilities. The struggle and frustration is very real and we don’t need you pointing it out to us (unless it is in a school setting). It just compounds negativity that we get on a daily basis.I am not talking about “Street talk” where everything is pronounced incorrectly and not even in proper English. I am strictly speaking for those of us that struggle with the English language legitimately because there is a disconnect in our brains when it comes to decoding letters, numbers, and punctuation.The struggle on a daily basis is real. Some of the most successful people out there struggled with grammar, spelling, and correct usage of words. So be kind and remember that disabilities of any kind are not synonymous with failure.Stay positive always!All my love,Sherri GwenPS. Check out some famous people that suffer with dyslexia and became very successful. If they can do it, so can you!