She has trouble with grammar but that doesn’t mean she is not smart. Lenka from Pardubice is studying at a philosophical university. Even there she still gets remarks about her grammar mistakes. The biggest problem is looking for work, according to her.
You are dyslexic. What does that mean for you in daily life?
People keep telling me I’m just lazy and to double check for mistakes, which isn’t true. I just can’t sometimes see them. Me personally, I have a problem with recognizing similarly sounding letters such as s/z, b/p, d/t, i/y so I make mistakes in subject and predicate. I can’t hear if the sounds are hard or soft so I can’t determine what i/y should follow. Of course there are rules to learn but when we, dyslexic people, should justify something, it becomes a problem. Or at least in my case. There are several levels of dyslexia and that’s what it all comes down to. People are different, so is their attitude towards dyslexia. Some try to overcome the obstacle, some are fed up with the constant reminders and some appreciate it. It depends.
How do you feel it?
I am the type of person that can handle criticism well, especially if I can learn something. But it needs to be constructive and to the point. Instead of telling me: look, you got a mistake here, it should be like this because…, they tell me or rather write to me: you have an error, stop doing those, are you dumb? I often hear that dyslexia is just an excuse for laziness.
Does it have an impact on you?
It depends, it does hurt when people say bad things about me but that isn’t a big deal. The worse part is tied to dyslexia itself. There are many job positions that require you to write perfectly. In our society, if something is written it should be grammatically correct. Otherwise the reader stops to think whether the author is uneducated or just ignores the rules of Czech language. Mistakes take away from credibility and lower the quality of the content. If I work at a company and I write e-mails for someone, there can’t be any mistakes. Thanks to that we are automatically disqualified from certain positions.
Is it a solvable problem?
You can hire someone for proofreading but then you bother them several times a day. I remember when I was a kid, I wanted to be a basic school teacher. But thanks to my dyslexia I never even tried it. Just like I’ll probably never try any administrative work where I would need to use written expressions. I study philosophy now, so I am on the academic grounds, even with dyslexia. In my field, we write a lot of essays. To eliminate at least some mistakes I let my friends check my work before submitting, but not all errors can be caught.
Do you feel pressure to write correctly while studying?
Yes, it is expected of me there. I’ll share one tidbit from the opinion of my opponent, who graded my bachelor’s thesis. It said that the student completely ignores the neutral gender. I am not sure what the author meant by this but I found it funny at the time. But as you can see, even people with dyslexia can graduate from university. I even enrolled in Latin for a semester and after I passed the exam our lecturer told me I was her first dyslexic and that i pleasantly surprised her. Apparently I did even better than students who did well in languages. Sometimes it might not be so bad to have dyslexia because you need to prepare more and better than others.
What should people realize when succumbing to prejudices against dyslexia?
They should think about the opinion they accepted, whether it’s actually true. They should educate themselves about the topic. I have a feeling that people know very little about dyslexia. And us, people suffering from it should realize that the world is different for everyone and if others want to bug us about our condition, they will find a way. It is futile to extensively think about those situations. On the other hand if the criticism is constructive we can all take something away from it.