There is a theory that says, the way each individual experiences the world may be unique to that individual. The theory states that although we all agree strawberries and tomatoes are red, what our brains interpret as the colour red could be totally different. This theory could hold some water, as the world we experience really is only our brains interpretation of light and sound waves bouncing into our eyes and ears, chemical analysis of air samples in our noses and electrical pulses from our nerve endings. When we get in to the animal world things get even weirder. Bats could potentially hear colours and snakes taste sounds!? Just imagine a conversation with a Bat. Me: “have you heard the new track by Beyonce?’ Bat: ‘yeah, I love the green and orange of the rap by JayZ.’
Personally, from what I’ve experienced of the world I would say the human experience is pretty consistent, when there are inconsistencies, those inconsistencies are constant within a large group; Dyslexic’s being one such group.
Although there are some variations, there is a consistency to the process mine and other Dyslexic brains use, compared to a Lexic brain completing the same task. In the past friends and family have tried to understand the frustration and difficultly I find in tasks that they see as routine. Conveying my experience to them is a little like talking to a Bat about music. Our experiences of the same process are so different it’s almost impossible. That may soon change, as today; my attention was drawn to a simulation that takes us a few steps closer to sharing the Dyslexic experience.
Through Your Child’s Eye’s is an online simulator which allows parents, teachers, friends and family to experience some of the frustration and fatigue we suffer when reading, writing and organising our thoughts. The simulator was created by understood.org and can be found here: https://www.understood.org/en/tools/through-your-childs-eyes
One thing this simulator highlighted, is that us Dyslexics seem to be a lot more persistent and tenacious than our Lexic counterparts. Most Dyslexics that I watched try the simulator found the tasks hard but quietly persevered. Lexics on the other hand, in a surprising number of cases, easily gave up or purposely sabotage the tests to get it over and done with. Very interesting!
To use the simulator you first choose the age group of the person whose experience you would like to simulate, you then choose from a list of five tasks Dyslexics may struggle with.
(This site is in Americanese so if you are not familiar with the US grade system click here for a UK comparison.)
Each simulation starts with a video from a Dyslexic, detailing some of the issues and feelings they have when completing the chosen task. This is followed by a short video from an expert to give a bit more insight (you can skip these if you wish). You then move on to the simulation itself. I tried the reading and writing simulations. As I already have difficulties with these two tasks it was hard to tell how accurate they were. I could however see how they may give a Lexic some idea of some of my frustration. The organisation and attention simulations were another story.
I am super organised and now after a lot of self-training am able to focus my attention pretty well. Being thrown into a world of hyper concentration, frustration and confusion was an eye opener and will now make me more sympathetic, understanding and patient when dealing with people that have these issues.
At this point I decided a Dyslexic trying to review a Dyslexic simulation wasn’t the most scientific of tests, so I roped in the services of a Lexic mate. I first made them try the writing test as this best illustrates the way Dyslexia affects me. I watched as they speeded through the first sentence and was almost sadistically amused by the look of confusion when they realised the sentence they had just written, was littered with spelling mistakes. They then went back to correct the mistakes, but upon reviewing the sentence again, realised there were yet more unseen mistakes. They soon realised that to successfully complete the sentence, they would have too slow their typing to almost a third of their original typing speed. They also needed to spend a huge amount of time and energy checking every single letter was correct. I tortured my Guinea pig further by making them complete each of the five tests, by the time we got to the final attention test, they point blank refused to do anymore.
Now, whether these tests are an accurate representation of what we experience is debatable. Dyslexia affects each and every one of us in a different way and this would be impossible to simulate. But after years of telling my friends how difficult I sometimes find simple tasks, I feel this was the first time I got some real recognition of exactly how challenging life can sometimes be.
If you are reading this and have a loved one that suffers from Dyslexia, I would highly recommend having a go at this simulation. As well as giving you some insight in to the effect Dyslexia has on their daily life, there is also some helpful advice at the end of each test. If you are Dyslexic, then I’d say dare your friends and family to take on the challenge. It’s loads of fun to watch the frustration slowly build as a routine task becomes a battle of wit, tenacity and persistence. Ok maybe I’m a bit mean, I’m guessing you are nicer to your friends and family, but hey what can I say, that’s just how I roll.
Speaking of amusing reactions to this test, I think it would be great if people would record there reactions to the test on their webcams and up load them to YouTube. Let’s make Dyslexia appreciation go viral! Tweet a link to your video to @thecodpast and we’ll share them at the bottom of this post and create a playlist on YouTube to share with our audience.
For more information here or follow this link to try the test for yourself https://www.understood.org/en/tools/through-your-childs-eyes