by Scott P. Smith
Residing in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, Scott Smith was thirty years of age
at the time of this writing. He holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree
in electrical engineering from Georgia Tech. And is currently working
as a computer programmer.
He does not consider himself a typical dyslectic (If there is such a thing)
and has not formally studied dyslexia.
The following was copied from his description of his type of dyslexia
to a public forum regarding dyslexia.
Copied with permission from Scott Smith.
First let me describe my condition:
Diagnosed in fourth grade. I have a relatively mild form of dyslexia.
Was either worst or second to worst is spelling and reading from first to
tenth grade (in a class of about 50 students). Took 4 years of special classes. I never had a significant problem with
vocabulary or grammar. Am above average in logic, visualization, and
spatial skills. Always tested to have a high IQ which helped me to
compensate. Always did better than expected on standardized tests
(which really helped a lot all through my school years). I have always
had above average reading comprehension. I had a hard time with calculus
in college because of the new symbols that I had to learn. For me, the
decoding and encoding skills needed to read and write calculus equations
were very similar to the skills needed for reading and writing English.
I am absent minded. Am very bad at transcribing phone numbers or any
other string of numbers someone is telling me.
I never saw letters backwards, never saw letters move, etc.
My problem was simply that I could not turn a string of letters into
a word. I saw each letter, one at a time while reading
L I K E - T H I S .
For me, each letter seemed very significant. I could not see the forest for the trees.
Diphthongs (ph, th, gh, etc.) were murder.
I could not pronounce the “ir” in bird (I said “boyd”)
until I was about 11 years old (weird - it was the only sound I had
trouble with). When I finally was able to pronounce “bird” my
classmates were disappointed because they liked to make fun of it.
I now read at normal or above average speed.
I am still a poor speller (thank God for spell checkers).
Here are my opinions. Some or all of these may be common knowledge,
or common sense, but I think it’s worth saying.
I believe that dyslexia is really a collection of neurological
conditions that differ quite a bit but are all given the blanket term:
dyslexia. I believe people read words, not letters, and in my case
I could not “see” the words, just the letters. Now, I do see words when
I read, and the letters disappear. When I read, I recognize each word
instantly as if it were a Chinese cruciform. When I was younger,
I lacked this ability. I still have trouble reading uncommon words,
because (I think) my brain has not yet stored the collection of letters
as a single picture. When I encounter new or very uncommon words,
I revert back to looking at each letter, one by one, trying to connect
them together to make a word.
To anyone out there still having trouble reading (especially young
people) all I can say is don’t give up, and read as much as possible.
You’re not stupid, you just see things differently. Get books having to
do with things that really, really, really interest you. This way you
will be motivated to keep on reading because of your interest in the
subject. As a young teenager, I got hold of some erotic literature and
it was probably the best thing that ever happened to me. I couldn’t put
the book down, and I even went as far as to lookup words in a dictionary
to get the full meaning. It may sound funny, and it’s a little
embarrassing admitting it, but it really did help me improve my reading
skills and it was probably the first time in my life that I found reading
pleasurable (which I think is a very important step in overcoming a