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7 Tips for Bloggers with Learning Disabilities

This guest post is by Leigh Stevens of whereapy.

If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid with regard to external things.
—Epictetus

Image is author's own

“Are you stupid? You sure look stupid. Everyone else in this room handles this level of work. If you can’t do simple conjugations you shouldn’t be in my classroom.”

That’s what you get when the middle school basketball coach is also your advanced language arts teacher. Much to my eternal frustration, I was that “stupid” kid. I am dyslexic with an auditory processing disorder, which means I don’t understand verbal instructions very well, but at the time, the school didn’t know that. As a first-grader in the early 80s I was placed in the special education classes: the “speds”. It didn’t help much that I came from a financially poor family, relative to my peers. And I was a girl. And blonde. There was just no escape from the stupid jokes.

I was inspired to write this post after reading a piece by the Blog Tyrant a few weeks ago. As far as marketing goes it’s a standard emotional headline tactic designed to pull you in. It’s a good post. Except that, at the time, it frustrated me in a big way, bringing back all the garbage I went through as a kid. So here’s my response.

Persistence pays

A learning disability can hamper your blogging practice. Not so much functionally—there are people who can help you write cleaner prose. The real kicker is the emotional baggage created by years of verbal abuse, of people insisting that you’re not very bright. It’s hard to have confidence in your writing abilities when it was always assumed that you just weren’t smart enough to succeed.

My experience in school followed the same pattern, over and over. At the end of each school year, I would graduate from the special education reading class, and be placed in the advanced class for the beginning of the following year. Once my new teacher noticed that I couldn’t take verbal instruction, spell, or abstractly conjugate, I was sent back down to the special education class, so I could graduate again, be promoted again, and be rejected, again. Rinse, wash, repeat.

By third grade I had developed strategies to compensate for my dyslexia that made reading very easy for me: I memorized everything through pictures. I process visual and kinaesthetic information beautifully; it’s like when the blind develop greater acuity in their other senses, creating alternatives for making their way in the world. My brain created another way for me to learn, unique to me. Brilliant, right? Not according to my teachers.

Unlike more visible disabilities, atypical styles of learning don’t garner much sympathy or support. If I had a dollar for every time I was accused of “not living up to my potential,” I’d be rich; the ability to pass as almost “normal” can produce massive anxiety.

I hire a copy editor to clean up my posts, and while the ideas, connections, turns of phrase, overall structure and layout are mine, it still feels inauthentic. The fact that I need another person to help me when it comes to writing makes me struggle to feel complete ownership over the work that I create. And that can be difficult. But I suck it up and keep on trying, because that’s what needs to be done.

Tips for blogging with a learning disability

  1. Write with a copy editor. It may take some time to find a writer who understands you and with whom you can develop a “voice.” Learn how to collaborate to create a product you can be proud of.
  2. Strive for publishing only one or two good posts a week. Don’t get too aggressive with your posting schedule, especially when you’re just starting out. Putting too much pressure on yourself will only lead to frustration and burnout.
  3. Ignore all the advice on how to write a blog post in 20 minutes. Accept the fact that it may take you five hours to produce an imperfect 600-word post while an adept writer can whip something up over lunch.
  4. Ignore all the jingoistic advice that says “you can do it if you just try harder!!!” You can’t grow back a leg that’s been amputated—you need to learn to use the tools available to you to get where you want to go. The same thing applies to your brain: if you’re old enough to read this, you’ve already forged new pathways to circumvent the ones that weren’t working so well. If something feels good and works for you, stick with it, regardless of what everyone else is doing.
  5. Continue to read challenging blogs and try to participate in the discussion, knowing that your comments will likely be full of skipped words, switched letters and other indicators of how your brain works. The grammarians may complain, but that doesn’t mean that your contributions are any less important or interesting.
  6. Deal with your past and present emotional issues surrounding your learning disability. Rejection is a standard part of blogging for everyone: guest posts get turned down, comments in the forums get misinterpreted or misunderstood. When you have a learning disability you can expect to experience even more of this, and maybe even by people you respect and admire. A lot of smart people with learning disabilities respond to this by turning inward and developing a rugged and individualist persona, but still feel isolated and alone. Strangely enough, the experience of social rejection causes a 25% drop in IQ—an astonishing effect in a pernicious cycle that actually perpetuates “stupidity.” To counter this effect, I encourage you to keep participating: reach out to people, make meaningful contributions, even if you risk looking silly or being misunderstood. In the right context, it can be good to be vulnerable. Another way to cope with rejection is by practicing emotional resilience processes.
  7. Tell your readers that you have an issue on your About page (and tell them how they can help). You don’t have to write a long soppy story like me; you can just say, “Hey, I’m dyslexic. I’d appreciate it if you’d send me a message if you find a mistake on the blog. Thanks!”

One last note. Because Problogger has such an international audience, I feel comfortable mentioning that bloggers with processing disorders are a lot like bloggers for whom English is a second language. The stigma attached to grammatical and spelling mistakes in the blogging world is palpable, and if you’ve ever felt bashed for having less-than-perfect English, I want to let you know that you’re not alone! Kudos to everyone who blogs in a second language.

Your turn: Do you consider yourself to be a “‘real” writer? What kinds of limitations have you run across in your practice? How do you work past them? Feel free to comment. I’d love to hear what you have to say, no matter how you say it.

Leigh Stevens is a certified massage therapist, artist, humorist and co-founder of whereapy. Special thanks goes out to Heather Gaskill, social worker and copy editor extraordinaire.

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Comments

  1. Fabric Fascination says:

    I really enjoyed reading this post. Although I don’t have a learning disability that I know of, I have certainly been rejected many times in my life and can relate to that pain. Very interesting about IQ dropping with social rejection. Makes sense. Also that fighting through that rejection is strengthening.

  2. Very interesting as I have a learning dissability. I’m dyslexic. Blogging is very hard for me.

    But persistence and practive has paid off.
    A lot of what you have said here in this post I can relate to. Most already apply.

    But from a person with an obvious learning dissability, here is my suggestion to others who might have similar.
    Don’t give up
    Don’t be ashamed
    Don’t think less of yourself

  3. Shannon says:

    Thanks for sharing your story. Have you considered talking to students and teachers about this? I think this would be great to encourage kids with learning disabilities to do their best work no matter what.

    • Leigh says:

      Oh Shannon! That’s a lovely idea but I would have to work myself up to it – Maybe as a one on one conversation or part of a small group. No public speaking for me, yet — I have pip-squeaky voice and due to the auditory processing thing it’s hard for me to unlock the words in my mind in real time. I very much depend on reciprocal conversation :)

  4. Hi Leigh,

    I completely understand your implication in the first sentence. I have scribed university examinations for dyslexic students and I must say that I totally enjoyed the experience. Dyslexic students are wonderful, talented, reasonable, yet dyslexic. And, nothing makes them inferior to other students. As long as the school or university knows about them they will be doing great!

    Blogging with dyslexia is really a challenge. And the tips you have given here are very reasonable and practical. I especially like your point about ignoring the advice that says “you can do it if you just try harder!!!”. That is certainly true. It will be great and will work out only when you accept the fact and make suitable alternates and equip yourself to survive.

    This is such a wonderful post, and I am reflecting back on my experience with dyslexic students.

    Cheers,
    Jane.

    • Leigh says:

      Hi Jane! I have a special place in my heart for my special ed teachers… it’s heavy cognitive and emotional work to adapt to each students needs. It’s wonderful that you were able to help and advocate for dyslexic students.

  5. Definitely sounds like there’s a voice in this post. That 25% drop is nuts, I’ve heard similar things but didn’t know it was that significant.

    • Leigh says:

      Jack, it’s amazing how much damage can be done from shaming/rejection – I think the researcher said it was the most dramatic results of any study he had undertaken. Thanks for commenting :)

  6. Kerry Arslan says:

    Thank you for this post I hope it gives more people with learning difficulties the confidence to start blogging or running a website.

    I suffer from dyslexia and it did at first put me off writing blogs as my spelling and grammer can be very poor. But something I have learned over the years is that Learning Difficulties are not a disability they enable you to be stronger in many other ways other people can’t be. We often see things differently or in a better light to others, we have different ways of thinking which some people might call thinking outside the box.

    I know of several very successful blogger’s who have learning difficulties so never let it stop you or put you off, whatever you want to do you have it within you to succeed.

    Kerry

  7. Lori T. says:

    This was so refreshing to read, Leigh. I applaud your success and your creative ingenuity in getting around the system. You are an encouragement to me!

    4 of my 5 children have learning problems and we have dealt with dyslexia, Irlen syndrome, auditory processing, non-communicator issues, fine and gross motor skills, and speech problems. I ended up keeping them home, homeschooling for years to avoid the social problems you had to face. I read aloud a lot to them, including high school Physics text books. My son graduated from high school last year, with a complete transcript and honors marks in some classes!

    They are each finding their own success, slowly. Some days are still a struggle for a couple of them. Thanks for showing us that limitations don’t have to limit you.

    My favorite dyslexia statement is: “Dyslexics Untie”

  8. Wonderful post! I’ve never thought about the subject much. Would be interesting to find out what types of blogs are easier to read for those with certain disabilities. Layout, content and such. And that teacher you had- what an idiot. Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
    — Albert Einstein

    • Leigh says:

      Hey Alessandra – your comment reminds me of the Comics Sans study – apparently that font increases reading comprehension (most likely because readers need to slow down to read it). I’m not sure I could handle comic sans on my site but every site can provide alt image tags and other usablity standards :)

  9. Annette says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. You’ve inspired me to look at my own challenges (totally different than yours) in a different light and to be more positive.

  10. Your advice is so practical and spot on! And I agree there’s a culture in the blogging world around mocking people who supposedly don’t write “coherent” posts or comments (ie, anything with grammatical errors or misspellings). The assumption is that they’re lazy or stupid, but you rightly point out that they could in fact have a learning disability or are writing English as a second (or third or fourth) language.

    When I was in grad school I had my partner (who is a phenomenal editor) edit all my papers. Even after my professors assured me that it isn’t academic dishonesty (since almost all of them have co-workers look over their papers before submitting for publication), I still felt “less than” because I couldn’t produce as strong of a paper without that editing help.

    Thank you so much for bringing light to issues of ableism in such a well-known forum. Congrats on such a fabulous post! :)

    • Leigh says:

      Christy – you’re lucky to have an in house editor – gosh, everyone should have an editor!

      Mental Floss has a post I love: “6 Wordsmiths Who Couldn’t Spell” – my favorite is the guy who invented Scrabble!

  11. Jen says:

    Leigh, this is a beautiful, honest, and helpful post. Your story resonates so deeply and gives me hope. Your tips are so thoughtful and wicked smart. I agree that this would be amazing to share with students and many more!

  12. I salute your courage and persistence, Leigh. You -can- do it, and you have done it, and there’s not a stupid bone in your body. Fie on any who would hint otherwise.

    In 7th grade, during a session where we had to stand next to our desks and read an assignment aloud, I spent a tearful ten minutes beneath the jeers, cat-calls, stares and laughter of my classmates while I struggled to get through a sentence that contained “rhetorical” but which I saw as “theoretical.”

    I could see the word; I could hear “rhetorical” in my mind, but between there and my mouth, the word twisted itself into “theoretical.” Each time I tripped over the word, the teacher commanded me to read the entire paragraph again, and soon his taunts joined those of my classmates. A dozen times the laughter grew louder until I was, literally, saved by the bell.

    I love to write. But even now, 48 years after that classroom horror, you will not get me to stand up and read that which I’ve written. Add that to auditory processing and retention skills that are about as good as this lamp on my desk, and you see why your story resonates so strongly with me.

    Thank you for your inspiring and instructional post. It can’t have been easy to write, but its healing touch has been felt and appreciated.

    • Leigh says:

      MK thanks for sharing your story too — it saddens me to know how many people have been verbally abused in the name of education. The way a teacher handles the situation can make all the difference in the world.

      When I went to University I gave a report on Foucault’s take on the history of the mental asylum – well, in the process I had to say ‘bourgeoisie’ a bunch of times which didn’t come out right at all at first — I said something along the lines of “Bore-geese- ey” the professor just smiled — I eventually realized fixed the mistake by the end of the speech — much to the silent relief of my classmates.

  13. Thanks so much for writing this! I will be showing it to my son, who has Aspergers syndrome, and recently started his own blog. Yeah, it took him half an hour to write a three sentence post, but I couldn’t be prouder of him! I love showing him evidence that his disability is no predictor of his ability to succeed.

    On another note – if anyone here needs a copy editor, as was suggested, I’d be happy to work with you. As the mother and homeschooling teacher of two special-needs kids, I know first-hand how much insight and intelligence can lie beneath words that just don’t come out right.

    • Leigh says:

      Congrats to your son Tricia – that’s great! I’m sure you’re giving him a quality, compassionate schooling – which will serve him well later in life.

  14. Eileen says:

    Wow! I loved reading this, since I too am dyslexic. It seems there are quite a few of us doing well in bloglandia.

  15. Glynis Jolly says:

    Leigh,
    I don’t think of myself as having a learning disability but if I go by what you say in this post, I do. I’m that one who always misspells or uses the wrong word. My challenge comes from a stroke.

    I was writing 4 posts per week but was feeling the frustration so I cut back to three posts each week.

    One thing that would help me is a better grammar program installed with the spelling one. By any chance, do you know of one?

    • Leigh says:

      Funny you should ask Glynis! – I don’t have personal experience with grammar software – I thought about when I was at University but at that time it was still very buggy and not worth the money.

      However… My friend Merritt, who is an occupational therapist, was commenting on this post via Facebook earlier today – and here is what she suggests:

      “We use a product called Co-Writer which I’ve found to be cumbersome for higher functioning writers, but the updated versions are rumored to be better. Assistive Technology is one of my weaknesses as an OT. Google Denise DeCoste. Her school district in Maryland has an amazing website with resources.”

      Hopefully that will lead you in a good direction :)

  16. Thys says:

    Hi Leigh,

    Great post.
    I am from South Africa, English is my second language, and at times I do feel a bit self-conscious.
    Yet here I am in a foreign country, in a foreign language, doing a Bachelors of Writing and Publishing.
    …and it’s great!

    I think anyone with a challenge should see it exactly as what it is… a challenge.
    Push yourself to learn and perfect it. It is often when you become comfortable with something that you fail at it.

    Regards
    Thys

    • Leigh says:

      Thys – that’s awesome, I’m always very impressed when someone can read and speak 2 or more languages – not an easy feat. I have yet to successfully learn a second language in school.

      Were you taught English early on in your education?

  17. Chris Jones says:

    Thanks for the post. I got some writing problems but not any syndromes. You said my problem English is my second language but i am trying hard to keep up with it. Writing good quality content in English is hard for a beginner blogger like me. English grammar is the main head ache in these days it nearly prevent me from writing long posts. I fear about mistakes but your post gives me some confidence. Thanks a Lot….

  18. Blog Tyrant says:

    Wonderful post Leigh.

    I still feel bad that my post title brought up all that stuff for you. While I was hoping to help people with the post (and actually assert that people aren’t stupid, they’re just beginners online) I think looking back that it was a cheap title.

    What you went through in school was terrible. Any teacher that says things like that to a kid should just be let go. I hope that now a few years on things are a little bit different in schools? It “feels” like there is more awareness around but I could be wrong.

    Anyway, you’ve given me lots to think about. Thank you.

    Tyrant

    • Leigh says:

      Thanks BT – your post was is thoughtful and has great advice – that’s why I gave ya got some linky love.

      The thing is, after we first spoke I started to feel self conscious– as in… “Great just, great… now I’m THAT person. Out of 1,000 or so other people who read that I had to go and get my feathers ruffled.” and they made me think more about the long lasting effects of abuse and how could I address that in a meaningful way, you know?

      As an aside, I think it’s important to acknowledge the Power Differential in being a larger blog. Just like when you’re a therapist you have ‘vulnerable’ people who are coming to you for help – as a trusted blog owner you have people (many of whom are less experienced newbies) looking to you for advice. As a host of an influential cool-kids blog you have the power to make people feel like they belong and can succeed or… not.

      (and for anyone interested/concerned we talked this over at the time and BT was just a gracious and understanding then)

      • Blog Tyrant says:

        That is a good point you make about the influence of a larger blog.

        I had a pretty nasty experience a few years ago with another blog of around 6000 subscribers – someone thought I was writing some pretty bad “advice” even though it was really helping a lot of people. I had a bit of a crisis and wasn’t sure what to do.

        Sometimes I’m still not sure and often have days where I think I should just keep my mouth shut.

  19. Momo says:

    Hi Leigh,

    Thank you so much for your post! I’m sorry to hear of your struggles, but it’s wonderful and so encouraging to read about what you have been able to do despite having a disability. I have great understanding for what you go through. I have a chronic pain disorder and a lifetime of pain has actually physically altered the way my brain processes information. Not to mention the drugged out haze the essential medication puts me into. As a writer, it can be unspeakably frustrating to write through the fog and not be sure if others are understanding your words or not. I can’t tell you how much it means to hear that it can take hours to make a post. I always feel that I spend much longer than I should getting the words out and correct, but should is a relative term. I’m going to work on being thrilled with what I do accomplish and not what I think I should be accomplishing.

    Thanks again for your important post and I wish you all the best. :)

    PS: If you haven’t read it already, I highly recommend “The Brain That Changes Itself” by Norman Doidge. It’s an amazing book about how our brains are not static but plastic, and that makes them retrainable. Learning disabilities are covered in depth an it talks about how people have been able to literally take control of their brains and override their disabilities. I’ve been working with it myself to deal with overcoming the way I process pain and have had a lot of great success!

  20. That’s a major problem in regards to the school system today. Not everyone has the same learning style and because yours may be different doesn’t mean that you have a learning disability.

    The majority of people in the world are right-handed does that mean that something is wrong with left-handed people.

    In regards to bloggers who’s second language is English; I don’t have any problem if their writing is a little skewed because I understand that they are doing their best to communicate to their audience.

  21. Lorrie says:

    I truly and deeply appreciate this post, I’m so glad you guested here as I probably never would have found you otherwise. I too have a very special brain and had a terrible time all through school. Then I married a very special man and had two very very special boys. It’s still a struggle to not be embarrassed when I see something as different than it actually is but seeing my boys grow into their wonderful unique selves gives me a whole new perspective. I’m even learning to love the different way I think and becoming grateful for it.

    I do worry about certain things as a blogger and have struggled with what it really means to need help with things that come so easily to others but I know we all have something special to contribute and some of the best things are invisible, like loyalty, trustworthiness, creative passion, being ridiculously funny and compassionate. Those things must be at least as valuable as a good editor. We all need each other. Thanks again.

  22. John White says:

    I’d wish to thank you for the efforts you’ve got made in writing this write-up. I’m hoping the same greatest perform from you inside the future also. In reality your inventive writing skills has inspired me to begin my very own blog now.

    I feel comfortable mentioning that bloggers with processing disorders are a lot like bloggers for whom English is a second language.

  23. Denys Yeo says:

    Excellent blog. The internet allows people with disabilities heaps of opportunities to engage with the world – I think that the comments you have made will help people with disabilities expand their ideas on what they can achieve and provide them with inspiration to “give it a go”. Well done.

  24. English is a second language to me, and being blogging in English is a real tough job, since you have to compete with millions of people whose native language is English. But most of the time I found something to encourage myself to continue, it’s a great opportunity to master a language. I realize that I’m developing my writing skills gradually. So what is written here is so true, thank you for pointing out this.

  25. Nikka says:

    Wow. Thanks for such an inspiring and motivating article. Finally an article that really understands my problems! I have ADHD and it has been a great struggle just to articulate my ideas onto a single blog post. Thank you again!

  26. Manoj says:

    First of all I would like to thank you for sharing such a Nice post. I was very week in study from my childhood, never has interest in studies..I always wanted to have good writing and communication skills, but never tried to work on that, always kept dreaming about it… still I am in the same situation.

  27. shira says:

    Wow. I can’t even imagine how hard it must have been with no support. My oldest has SLI (singular language impairment), can’t understand complex directions, is dyslexic and has a host of other learning disorders. He’s having a hard time emotionally even though he has all of the support in the world (it’s not easy to watch other kids do everything easily and it’s all hard for you.) Good on your for succeeding with so many obstacles in front of you.

    -s

  28. Beth Norman says:

    I am so sorry to hear that you had a sad childhood. Like you, I didn’t learn well and was sent to the “special” class for my math. I barely passed anything else and that rolled over into highschool. I was tormented by teachers and students in elementary school. My fifth grade teacher wrote “Beth is batty” on the chaulk board, and of course my mom wouldn’t believe me.

    Blogging allows me to be a person who doesn’t show any probs. I’m bipolar and it is so difficult to hide it, but I do. My family is surprised at me and my success.

    I love how we can be so successful in blogging. Congratulations.

  29. Leigh,

    Congratulations! You just wrote a post on Copyblogger. Every failure in your past was a stepping stone to this success.

    Your advice is full of specific strategies like using a copywriter, setting realistic goals, and being persistent.

    These are great suggestions for everyone–disability or not.

    I know it must be near impossible to forgive the teachers and other students for the nightmare of your education. There is no excuse. Special Education is supposed to be individualized and meet your individual needs. Now, I would hope we have learned more about multiple intelligences (and the different kinds of smart) and you would have been able to be in the AP class with support. This is what inclusion is supposed to be.

    Best wishes as you move forward. YOU ARE SMART and have many gifts to share. Believe in yourself.

    BTW: It always takes me 6-8 hours to write a post too.

    • Leigh says:

      Hi Mary thanks for your support and kind words!

      Yes, the schools have come a long way… but the teachers still have oppressive obligations like “teaching to the test” and almost every other parent I know has to fight tooth and nail to get/keep an IEP for their kid. I don’t want to spend anymore of my time fighting a system, so I will most likely homeschool my daughter.

  30. Fabulous post! I can relate.

    Though I’ve overcome many challenges with chronic fatigue, some still remain. Your post reaffirms the lessons I’ve learned the hard way over the last 4 years.

    Where were you when I started this journey? Keep up the good work, and keep your chin up.

  31. John says:

    Bravo! Thank you, Leigh, for courageously sharing your vulnerabilities and solutions. It’s great to see you’ve gotten such favorable response to your post, too.
    Have you tried using a speech to text device, such as Dragon Naturally Speaking? I know of one well known Internet marketer with a sixth grade education who’s quite a prolific writer, thanks to Dragon.
    Also, home schooling is definitely the way to go. Each child can learn at his/her own pace and in his/her own best way.

  32. Could you please recommend a source/web-site, especially for improving English writing skills? I really need some advice.

    Thanks!

  33. Scrollwork says:

    Bravo, Leigh! Your post advanced my understanding and empathy in great measure. I’m familiar with being judged, because when I first immigrated to the U.S. my Filipino accent kept being pointed out. Now it’s my turn to make sure I see past the manner of delivery and focus on the message being communicated.

    By the way, that post that pontificated about writing a blog post in 20 minutes got me so upset, too. I’ve been a professional writer for 19 years and it feels like someone on the street corner proclaiming to the surgeon, “Yeah, I can do open-heart surgery and suture you up in 20 minutes flat!”

  34. Sinea Pies says:

    This post is outstanding! I am so glad that you took the time to share. I’ve found myself becoming a little impatient with misspelled words and grammatical errors in articles. Now that I have read your post, I will look more for the content, not the fine details! Thank you!

  35. Leigh says:

    Wow – I’m a bit overwhelmed by the response here. I really wanted to get back to everyone individually but I’m having a hard time keeping up and taking care of my kid at the same time. I just want you to know I’m reading every comment – thank You!

  36. Justin says:

    This blog posts hits right at home for. As a person who was diagnosed with multiple learning disorders at a young age I have struggled my whole life in many different areas. I was placed in all the special needs classes in high school and took the mental abuse from people who had no idea what I was going through. I tested out at a 3rd grade writing level when I graduated from high school.

    Its very tough going through life with challenges, but I have learned that if I want to be successful in life I have to work harder and smarter then everybody else. My 3rd grade writing level has not kept me down. I write for several popular NFL blogs and have a football blog of my own. I always have people read my writing before I publish them to watch out for mistakes. That goes with the working smarter aspect of my life.

    People with disability’s might be lacking in one area, but they do have special talents in other areas. I believe this with all my heart.

    Once again great blog post and if you are one with a disability never let that stand in your way of doing what you love.

  37. Growing up I was put in a special class in grade school for a bit because I was not doing well in school. However I found out that I was just not applying myself or had no interest in the subject. I have really found a love for writing/blogging and I am amazed at what you and other people have done despite what people say you cant do! I applaud you. Thanks

  38. Denise says:

    Leigh –
    I am someone who writes (has written) for a living – technical proposals for business and the like – where it IS important to dot every i and cross every t. Although I make mistakes, like everyone else, in general I spell well, have an intrinsic sense for “English grammar,” and also for re-wording without losing the meaning of the content.
    Enter my two sons – one who is still is high school and faces the possibility of not graduating because his “conventions” (spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc.) are not proficient – according to our state-mandated standardized tests.This son is dyslexic, but now (at 17) tries to hide it, deny it, pretend he does not need help. Because the reality is: the stigma is still there. Yes, the teachers get special training, and he has benefited from that. But not all teachers are created equal; and kids are still just as cruel today as they were when you went to school.
    The older one, soon to be 20, – he gave up; quit school altogether, though his IQ has him classified as a genius. Yes, he had some issues (again, depending on the day – he admits to bipolar or not) – but with the right encouragement and patience – he could have made it. He still can; he just has to find a different path now.
    My point – I “scribed” (with the teachers’ knowledge, and as part of their IEPs) for my kids often. And I was amazed, and still am, at their ABILITIES! Especially regarding the fast-pace changes in the technology of our time – and I admit straight out that I am less even than a “newbie” to the bogging world. I only recently learned the real meaning of “social media”.
    But you make an extremely valuable point in the “get help” suggestion. I was an administrative assistant to a small business owner for 20 years; he has three college degrees, including a Masters+; I have none. He did not send out one piece of correspondence before I proofed/edited – and it resulted in more work for him (and me!) – a good thing. The truth is we ALL have limitations of some kind; the sooner we accept that, and learn how to adapt to them, the better off we all are.
    To those who blog (or market online, or write in any form) despite the challenges their different abilities present to them; my hat is off to you courageous people. And you have my gratitude, too. For reminding me, as my sons did when they were younger and I worked with them every day, of all the ways there are to be smart.
    Thanks for the post – inspiring stuff!
    Denise

  39. Katharine says:

    I have fibromyalgia and with that often have fibro fog which leads to major “duh” moments. The other day my friend was talking so fast about one thing and the other and I had an opinion, but she switched to the next thing that I couldn’t catch up. I finally said…my brain isn’t working that well today which of course made her laugh. I hate feeling stupid! I felt stupid as a child and outgrew that with hard work. Now I feel like I’m starting all over again. My daughter and her friends often laugh about some stupid mistake I made when I’m talking even though they know about my issues. I just laugh it off but often feel that I wish I came off as being more together.

    As far as my blog goes, I write from the heart and am grateful spell check.

  40. stew says:

    hi i have a learning disability went to 3 high schools a special school
    i found school very hard to fit in,
    struggled to make friends.
    I was bullied. I was the dummy in the class. Now late twenty’s i am half way finishing off a diploma at tafe. I am on the way writing my own success story. I want to show the world i can do anything.
    Kids with learning disability need to know they are loved. They need the support andd encouragement from parents especially. If you have a dream and passion in life go for it. I always liked to start a business and i will. Many successful business leaders have no formal education. Some start early some start later in life.

  41. Craig Millner says:

    I’ve tried to find a good gaming website/blog/forum but I didn’t. I requested you to send me a good URL. But your article did a good job for me. It has opened my eyes. I feel really comfortable with blogging now.