10 years ago I knew nothing about dyslexia, I was ambivalent, neither a believer or disbeliever. I’ve always been someone who would rather listen than talk; understand than tell. Dyslexia, though, was abstract and not something I could relate to.
I’m ashamed to say that 10 years ago, whilst I didn’t try to tell my dyslexic colleague that dyslexia didn’t exist, I didn’t exactly empathise either. I did try to listen without prejudice though.
Now, I find I have a lot to say, a driving urge to ‘tell’ and communicate, driven by the desire to raise awareness about dyslexia and the consequences of ignoring this invisible but enduring difference. I live with the consequences of this every day with my son.
There have been 2 powerful documentaries on TV this week: George Michael and Chris Packham. Different stories, different personalities but a common theme. The theme for me, seemed to be a society that could not listen. We each of us have to take individual responsibility for that.
There has been a lot of talk around mental health and well-being of late. How can we better support each other in these challenging times? A good place to start might be to actively listen.
It is tempting, in debate, to use the discussion to bury oneself further within the comfort of a long-held conviction; much harder to challenge ones views and appear vulnerable.
This week, I was asked to challenge my own beliefs around dyslexia. Can I see it through the eyes of a sceptic. I’m going to try because I know I will learn something.
Dyslexia is not so abstract, it is present in classrooms, workplaces and homes around the world irrespective of class or notions of ‘intelligence’.
Can you listen to parents, scientists, specialists, can you listen MOST IMPORTANTLY to the individual. Can you learn something?
Can you listen without prejudice?