Will's Blog - How I Process the World (2)

THIS BLOG WAS WRITTEN SEVERAL YEARS AGO, AT A TIME WHEN WILL WAS LIVING IN A SHARED HOUSE. It will be put into an animated format which will eventually replace the written text.

In 2009 I was diagnosed with severe dyslexia, for me, this means that I process information differently.

I also have a severe weakness in working memory, which means I often find it difficult to process and retain information.

This often causes problems as I often forgot to do the simplest of tasks like turning off the cooker or lights and locking the front door.

I also find it difficult to retain and process written information, meaning that I often don’t fully understand the information I have just read, even though I can read the words perfectly.

 

A few years ago I came across a format called Easy Read, which is a way of producing information in simple sentences with visual elements.

I found that not only was this format easier for me to process, but I was able to fully understand the information. I also found that I was able to retain the information better.

This actually makes a lot of sense, as dyslexic people tend to be visual learners.

Often visual learners have good spatial awareness meaning they are instinctively able to find their way around.

This is not the case for me as I have also been blessed with Dyspraxia and Aspergers.

Notice that I see this as a blessing as both conditions bring very positive attributes but they both also bring some very real challenges.

It is these challenges and solutions that we will be looking at in this blog.

 

The biggest challenge I face on a daily basis is people's perception when people first meet me. They see a very capable and intelligent individual and therefore do not understand why I struggle with the simplest of tasks.

Something as simple as making a cup of tea can create a number of challenges. Even though I know exactly how to make a cup of tea, actually implementing the steps in the right order and finding all the necessary utensils and ingredients is a whole different matter.

 

A couple of months ago I moved into a new shared house and was constantly forgetting the simplest of tasks like turning off the lights and locking the doors.

Even when I had been living for some time in a house, I still felt completely lost and disorientated. I would constantly forget which draw the cutlery or which cupboard the cups and plates belonged in or which cupboard was who's.

Over the past week, we have been putting visual cues around the house to remind me where everything lives and belongs.

 I expected this to help me remember where everything lived but what I didn't expect was for the feeling of disorientation to lesson, as previously I would often catch myself aimlessly wandering around the house looking for something but never being able to remember what.

 

The day we put up the icons I can clearly remember coming down into the kitchen and walking straight to the kettle and turned it on, then reached down to the cupboard and grab a mug, walked over to the cupboard where the teabags and sugar were kept, then over to the fridge for the milk.

For once I didn't feel lost and I hadn't had to ask where everything was but more than that I felt like there were reference points that I could relate to meaning the environment suddenly made sense.