‘Its only consistency is its inconsistency.’ Universally, this is one of my favourite lines and sayings. It optimises and appropriately sums up the world of dyslexia. Contrary to popular belief, dyslexia is not solely based on reading, writing and spelling. Instead so many other areas of daily life can also be affected and influenced. In discussing dyslexia as ‘inconsistent’, I aim to emphasise how different and unique all dyslexics are in order to shed light on what dyslexia truly is.
Given that dyslexia is a diagnosable categorised neurodiversity, where individuals can show patterns of difficulties and strong points, it is so easy to simply assume that all dyslexics think, process and learn in the same way. However, this is highly misleading and reductionist. There is no ‘one size fits all’ framework that covers the characteristics of all dyslexics. All dyslexics are unique and possess their own quirks, strengths, weaknesses, and personalities. Although individuals may share common characteristics, ‘in house variations’ are prominent and immanent. Because of these important and significant differences all dyslexic individuals should be treated and considered holistically, as a person as a whole, rather than being made to fit into a rigid category.
Going beyond merely reading, writing and spelling, dyslexia is a far more complex neurodiversity that can encompass numerous areas of daily life. I have compiled a list noting many, but vitally not all, dyslexic traits as shown above. Crucially, this outlines a mixture of common yet also more obscure traits that are often left unconsidered, such as how dyslexia can influence one’s personality, behaviour and potentially mathematical understanding. The main point I am hoping to emphasise is that all dyslexics experience dyslexia differently. Although common ‘clusters’ and traits can be evident, focusing on the variations and differences is just as important in order for dyslexia to be fully understood and appreciated.
As I delved further into the relevant literature another interesting point of thought came to light; how symptoms and difficulties presented can also vary within the same person/individual. Subsequently, I have come to name this ‘within-person variation’. Stress levels, fatigue or tiredness, illness, hunger and time constraints are all recognised as factors that can extenuate an individual’s dyslexic traits. On reflection I have definitely noticed times when this has been evident. When I’m well-rested and in a good frame of mind I can be very productive and efficient. Yet, on other occasions, I’m hopelessly haphazard and can barely function. Particularly when tired I get confused, struggle to focus, and forget how to spell random words or how to do random tasks; like turning on the correct hob and how to work an office printer/scanner. Therefore, depending on various ‘person-centred factors’ and the task or situation an individual is present in dyslexia can vary in its prominence and severity.
Within contemporary society dyslexia can be shrouded in misconceptions and generalisations. In order to help combat this, this post aims to highlight and reduce the mysteries surrounding its symptomology and identifying features. As explored above, dyslexic traits can vary both amongst individuals and within the same individual. Ultimately this depends on numerous factors including personality, wellbeing and the task at hand. Emphasising these important variations is crucial to gaining a better understanding and appreciation of the complexity of dyslexia as a neurodiversity.