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Dyslexia has been like a double-edged sword. What I’ve come to realize is I am who I am. I’ve started looking at my dyslexia more as a gift than a burden

Dyslexia, My Gift


By —— Bio and Archives August 14, 2017

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I wrote this column to encourage others with dyslexia.  The layout is simple.  The paragraphs without parenthesis are my original words.  The paragraphs with parenthesis are my editor’s corrections.  Please share with others who struggle with dyslexia!

Growing up I didn’t know I had dyslexia.  I couldn’t read until I was in the third grade.  I’ve struggled my entire life to comprehend what I’m reading, to spell words properly, to understand the meanings of words and enunciate them.  Having to go back and read something three, four, five or more times is frustrating.  Especially when I still don’t understand it.  Now, if I hear something I don’t have the same struggles.

(For some kids, school always came easy. Reading, and even writing, seemed to be second nature to them. But in my case, school was a constant struggle. I couldn’t read until I was in third grade. I struggled to comprehend what I read, to properly spell words, to understand the meanings of words, and to enunciate them. Reading something three, four, five or more times was frustrating—especially when I still didn’t understand it. I dreaded tests. In fact, I hated them. My palms would sweat and my stomach hurt. To this day, I still hate the thought of taking a test.)

Oh, how I hated tests. My palms would get sweating and my stomach would hurt.  To this day I still hate the thought of taking a test.  Most of my teachers in school and professors in college and grad school assumed I wasn’t serious.  I’ve always used humor to cover up my inabilities.

(What I didn’t know all those years was that I had dyslexia. Most of my school teachers and college and grad school professors assumed I wasn’t a serious student because I always used humor to cover up my inabilities.)

Focusing on a task has always been difficult.  From school projects to work projects.  I will be deep in thought working on a proje …. “Squirrel, did you see that squirrel run by!  That was amazing!  It had a bushy tail and was holding an acorn in its mouth” … what was I doing?  It’s annoying, frustrating but I’m learning to manage it.

(Focusing on any task has always been difficult for me… from school projects to work projects. I will be deep in thought working on a proje…. “Squirrel! did you see that squirrel run by? That was amazing! It had a bushy tail and was holding an acorn in its mouth!” …What was I doing?)

In my mind, I know the difference between edition and addition.  It’s simple.  But at times when I write something out I will be thinking edition and write addition but my mind doesn’t throw a red flag.  Sometimes I can read over it numerous times and never catch it.

(My dyslexia has been both annoying and frustrating, but I’m learning to manage it. In my mind, I know the difference between edition and addition. It’s simple. But sometimes when I write, I will be thinking edition and write addition instead. And my mind doesn’t throw a red flag.  Sometimes I can read over it numerous times and never catch it.)

The embarrassment of being in a meeting and having to write something down.  The immediate thought is “oh, I hope they don’t use a word I can’t spell!”  Until a few years ago I would cover it up or use another word.  Now I announce up front that I can’t spell very well and then make a joke about growing up in the rural south.

(It’s embarrassing to be in a meeting and have to write something simple on a piece of paper.  Sometimes my immediate thought is, “I hope they don’t use a word I can’t spell!” Until a few years ago, I would cover up my inability to spell or simply use another word to substitute for the one I couldn’t spell. Now, I have learned to let go. I announce upfront that I can’t spell very well, then make a joke about growing up in the rural south.)

 

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My handwriting looks like a chicken did a rain dance.  Until recently I just thought I had poor handwriting until I realized I do it on purpose so you can’t tell if I’ve misspelled a word.  There, their, there is just plain ignorant!  Whoever came up with words like this should be taken out and beaten.  I often misspeak, misuse or mispronounce words and don’t even realize it.  It is or can be quite embarrassing when it’s brought to my attention.

(My handwriting looks like a chicken did a rain dance. And until recently, I just thought I had poor handwriting. When in fact, I discovered that I have always written illegibly on purpose so no one can tell if I’ve misspelled a word. I often misspeak or misuse or mispronounce words without realizing it. It’s often quite embarrassing when it’s brought to my attention. And for the record, from a dyslexia sufferer’s point of view, the words there, their, and they’re are just plain ignorant! Whoever invented words like these should be beaten.)

Now, problem solving is another thing.  Give me a mind game, puzzle or challenge and my mind works in odd ways.  I can walk into a room and immediately notice if a corner is lower than the other corner.  It can be a 40-foot wall and I can tell if it’s a half inch off.  At times, this is an amazing trait to have but most of the times it’s annoying.  Pictures that hang an eighth of an inch off or anything that should be symmetrical and isn’t.

(Now, problem solving is another thing. Give me a mind game, a puzzle or a challenge, and my mind works in odd ways. I can walk into a room and immediately notice if one corner is lower than the other corner. It can be a 40-foot wall and I can still tell if the floor is a half inch off. I notice pictures that hang an eighth of an inch off level. And I notice anything that isn’t symmetrical when it should be. At times, this can be an amazing trait to have. But most of the time, it’s annoying.)

 


Numbers and math come easy to me.  I remember telephone numbers that I haven’t dialed in 20 years.  Invoice amounts from years ago I can recall with exact precision.  If you are ever around me watch for my fingers to tap together or on my leg.  Repeating the pattern.  Everything must be in even numbers and I don’t even realize I’m doing it.

(Numbers and math come easy to me. I remember telephone numbers that I haven’t dialed in 20 years. I can recall invoice amounts from years ago with precision. If you are ever around me, watch for my fingers tapping together or on my leg, repeating a pattern. Everything must occur in even numbers—and I don’t even realize I’m doing it.)

I remember faces but have a hard time recalling names.  I have a horrible memory of things in the past but am good at thinking outside the box.  I enjoy public speaking and communicating with people verbally.  I’ve completed two books, written hundreds of columns and am working on my third book.  Thankfully there are amazing editors in the world!  I can’t tell you the names of roads I’ve driven on for the past 30 years but have an amazing sense of direction of recognizing land marks.

(I can remember faces, but have a hard time recalling names. I have a horrible memory, but I am good at thinking outside the box. I can’t tell you the names of roads I’ve driven on for the past 30 years, but I have an amazing sense of direction and recognition of landmarks. I enjoy public speaking and communicating with people verbally. I’ve completed two books and written hundreds of columns. And I am currently working on my third book. Thankfully there are amazing editors in the world!)

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Dyslexia has been like a double-edged sword.  What I’ve come to realize is I am who I am.  I’ve started looking at my dyslexia more as a gift than a burden.  I’ve started focusing on the things I’m good at and finding help with areas I struggle with.

(For me, dyslexia has been a double-edged sword—both a gift and an affliction. What I’ve come to realize is, I am who I am. I’ve now started looking at my dyslexia as more of a gift than a burden. I’ve began focusing on the things that I’m good at and finding help in the areas where I struggle.)

Click here to learn more about Nathan Tabor



Nathan Tabor -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Nathan Tabor is a dedicated husband and father who lives in Kernersville, North Carolina. He is passionate about applying God’s word to his personal and professional life and helping others do the same as an executive coach, speaker and business growth consultant. He is a businessman and entrepreneur who has successfully founded and owned over 25 businesses since 1999 that have grossed over $150 million in sales. Learn more about Nathan at NathanTabor.com.

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