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How Christmas changed my life - by a Dyslexic
- Genevieve Dawid

When I look back, I was quite a privileged child in more ways than one. I had a wonderful family and friends, lived in a lovely house with a large garden to play in.  We went on marvelous family holidays by the sea, and traveled abroad, something I adored. I didn't have a private education but went to a local school that was "state of the art". However, for all this idyllic childhood, and the wonderful new facilities the school had to offer, learning was a nightmare for me as a child; I just hated trying to learn and so school was a place where I didn't achieve. I had no idea how other children knew the answers to questions and understood figures and numbers. I kept the same school reading book for weeks on end; one of my worst struggles was with writing my name.

 

Then one Christmas, my elder brother, who was a great artist, received a drawing set. He would do a drawing and then show Mum. When it came to my turn, instead of trying to create a picture, I took the note pad and drew each of the letters of my name over the whole page - but not in the right order nor in a straight line, as I didn't know how.

 

When showed Mum what I had drawn, she looked closely at it.  "Well look at that, you do know the letters of your name, don't you?"; she said, and then asked me if I could put the letters in the right order, and in a straight line. I shook my head.

 

Mum took a ruler and wrote the letters in order, in a row. Instantly, I could now see each word. Using a ruler I copied the letters in order, again and again, until I got it.  I had finally learnt to spell my name! Next Mum got my school reading book and used a card over the page, revealing one word at a time. I could now make sense of it. We progressed to me holding a card under each word to separate them so I only saw one word at a time. In this way, during the school holidays, Mum taught me to read.

 

I returned to school thrilled that I could now read and write and was instantly taken out of the additional remedial class. However, the teachers were furious with my parents and accused them of interfering with my learning! Despite the fact that for the first two years at that school their methods hadn't worked for me, they didn't like it that my parents had found a way to help me.

 

With practice at home, within weeks I could read any book for a child of my age. It was like a miracle.  I continued to have some difficulty with spelling and grammar, my mathematics was poor and every new thing that I had to learn was incredibly difficult, but my parents had proved to me that there was always going to be a way.  They just needed to help me identify the problem and together we would find the answer by finding an alternative way to learn. This was a revelation to me.

 

That Christmas, a simple plain sheet of paper and pencil allowed me to transcend what was in my mind - to see a solution to something that I knew was a problem, but couldn't explain.

 

From then on I always had an exercise book and pen nearby, and using the page like a mirror to reflect what was in my mind, the problem was copied as a visual image on a page. Seeing it on the page enabled my parents and me to identify and resolve the problem.

 

You have to know your own mind to identify the problem, before you can go forward, and then you will go forward with speed.

 

Gradually my mother found many ways of teaching me, and these things I included in my book, The Achiever's Journey.  As I got older, I started interpreting my mind through writing and drawing. Interestingly, many other people found this useful, including those without any learning difficulties. I couldn't believe it, what a revelation to find out that others didn't really know their own minds either.

 

As my education continued, I still found the school's teaching methods virtually impossible to learn and virtually gave up. I learned in secret at home and to cure my boredom whilst at school, I started to share the benefits of transcending the mind, and spontaneous words and drawings using paper and pencil, with my classmates.

 

About the Author

Genevieve Dawid is a published author and highly successful consultant, mentor and lecturer for dyslexics, individuals and corporations. Her book "The Achievers Journey" is a partial biography and explains how she mastered her dyslexia and dyspraxia.

 


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