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Understanding my limitations and re-learning how to work: A case of Adult Dyslexia

The spelling for Enviornment has an 'i' in front of the 'o' and 'n' in front of the 'm'. For the first 22 years of my life I could never remember.

Picture courtsey: Sarvdeep Singh Arora Photography

The right side is the side you use for writing and eating. Right is on the right, the other side is left.

Nobody can read your handwriting, it looks like gibberish to others.

Oh how horrible that you can't process the new maths theorem in class, right away because the words get blurry, but you have no eye condition.

I had these experiences and more growing up, never thought much of it. I was an average student in school and top of the class in college, so I never bat an eye about why I face these difficulties.

Yale university's dyslexia website says about 20% of world population has dyslexia. It is the most common of learning disability around the globe. And yet we never knew of it until Amir Khan and Darshil Safari did their heart wrenching portrayls in Taare Zameen Par. Even then I never applied the logic to me as my case was never that severe, at best my dyslexia was mild and thus never diagnosed.

Cut to the days of college where the densest kind of critical theory was the one subject that i could not ace (even almost failed in the first semester) because it had so much information and not really structured in a way that was conducive to my learning needs. My notes were of no use to anyone but me because the handwriting was incomprehensible to untrained eyes. Frustrating.

Reading here one such critical theory book, at my own pace.

When I joined my first job as a writer I would often mispronounce words with 's' and 'sh' sound or stressed on the wrong syllable of the words that I did not speak often. Of course in a toxic enviornment (hey, I spelled it right in one go!) it was ammunition enough to mock another person. They didn't mock me with any particular malice, they just needed a comic relief in their otherwise sad life of being on the laptop coding for 10-12 hours a day. Still, really frustrating.

5 years later, I finally work in a nurturing supportive team where I am allowed the time and space to understand how I work best and what are the difficulties I face.

In one such reflective moment, recently, I realised I have trouble understanding long emails with no breaks, bolded sentences or highlighted areas. It takes me 2-3 attempts to read through it all. Too much information on any new subject in one go? I am a blank. Need me to remember words? Not happening. So I decided to be tested for learning disabilities and finally I had an answer 29 years later for most of these annoying moments in life- mild adult dyslexia. Mild frustration, peak happiness.

Why does my dyslexia diagnosis make me happy?

Because finally I have answers. Finally I understand where these small moments of everyday frustration arise. Finally I can find solutions that work best for my mind.

My imposter syndrome does not have to get worse, my public speaking could maybe improve a lot. All of this is possible because I was allowed and encouraged to understand my mind, my working style, and my comfort zone. I was asked over and over by many people at different points- what seems to be the problem? How can we make it better?

Next step is to understand how I learn/recieve information best and communicating that with those around you. I have done that in the past 1 year a lot and it helps immensely. Same information if sent in bullet points, in a structure- I can ace the understanding and the task. Just have to take it slow.

No one in my team sends me emails with instructions without giving context anymore. They know I need it. And when they do, it helps a lot.

This does not make me dumb. This does not change my level of intelligence (yet to test my IQ), it just means I learn different. There is no rush. Nothing to be afraid of. No one is running past me, this is not even a race. We are all facing our own set of difficulties while carrying our unique set of skills. We all have to find our productivity spots.

Dyslexia does not necessarily have to slow down your journey. It only has to remind the hyperactive mind- take a breath, you have got this!


Note- Link to website where you can do an initial test for dyslexia before you meet a specialist:

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