Month: February 2014

Pentakosiomedimnoi: Spelling and Pronouncing words

People sometimes wonder what it is like to have trouble spelling and pronouncing words. I might have found a way to show them. So I was reading my Greek History text book and came over this word. This is what words look like sometimes when people ask people who are LD to read, spell or pronounce a word.

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Thankfully we have people like Jim Carrey and others  have strategies to help people spell words like Beautiful, Because and Definitely.

Until next time,

MC

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A “Joke”, Some Bad Grammar and Changing the World

At Melonaid I tried to keep my post light and humorous. However, let me get deep for a sec if you guys don’t mind. Don’t worry I am working on my next post and its funny. But I think it is important to tell this story.

I am a History major. As a result, most of the time I am either reading or writing. This is problematic for me a little because I like to do everything but read and write. However I love history so much because I love hearing stories about people who came before me. Plus I get to write interesting papers. For my junior writing seminar, my paper was about the History of Music at Ballparks and how teams needed to use music to keep people focused on the game. Interesting right? I interviewed several people at the Philadelphia Phillies and at the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. I was writing 10+ pages of baseball and music (all things that I liked) while my friends in other majors were writing business papers. Yuk!

I am an ideals man but sometimes it is hard to get my ideas from my head to paper. For most people it is an easy process (head to paper). But for me its like trying to catch an idea that is swarming in my head, translate it from Matt language to “Proper English Language” and then onto paper. Along the way, there are a lot of grammar issues that come up and sometimes words are missing.

For example,

My name is Matt. are you today?

I am not doing it on purpose! I just never understood the “rules of English writing.”  Or I am so caught up trying to translate my ideas to words that I forget.

It reminds me of a professor I have taken a few classes with. He uses art from the era to discuss how to it represented the place and/or time period. I like this format because I can make a good insight and it tends to be spot on. So when he assigned a short written response one semester I thought great I can just write my really good insights and hand them in

I would hand in a clear paper only to be handed it back with black lines underlined , question marks everywhere ???????. It looked like a modern art piece with all the lines and such.

I went to this professor because if you could not tell black lines are bad. I worked with him on my papers and more black lines would be draw. He was like Matt this needs to be plural and vise versa. And, this sentence cannot be 3 lines long!

He told me that, “Matt your ideas are great but your grammar makes it hard to understand.” I think he saw that I had a grasp of the complexity of the topic but it was overshadowed by my bad grammar.

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However I did not give up. I would go to him before every paper and he would help edit it for me and I would revise it and have my mom and others read it to fix any other mistakes. At the end of the class last spring, he told me that he wished more people cared about the papers as I did. I cared but I worked hard to be understood. For as long as a remember people have had a hard time understanding what I was saying and doing because of my speech impairment and dyslexia. I felt like I had the answer to life but nobody could understand what I was saying. I don’t stop writing or talking until my point gets across. As the class progressed my papers improved and improved.

So this week I am in a class with this professor again and he assigns a paper response. I finished the book a week earlier (I know crazy) so that I could have plenty of time writing and editing my paper. I went to his office hours to ask a few questions about the paper like before and continued to edit. On Wednesday, several students had questions about the paper that was due on Friday. One person asked about using personal insights using I or we. The professor said that wanted us to make sure that the grammar was perfect and that there is no I, we and right tense etc. Then out of nowhere he made a “joke”, “and Matt should know because he has been a victim of this several times.”

A Joke? … it did not feel that way. Because hey I know I am horrible with Grammar that is why I put in all that extra time to work on it. But that does not give my Professor or anyone the right to “make a joke” about it. It felt like I was being used as what not to do. What not to do? What work hard, have several people look at your paper etc.? That tends to be overshadowed by a different verb tense of what have you.

I was beat up by the “joke” during the rest of the day. I was just angry that someone I respected would make a joke like that. I decided that I needed to stand up for myself and to tell my professor how much the “joke” affected me. So on Friday I went to see him during his office hours.

I sat down and said that I was really hurt by the joke you made about my grammar. And he could tell from my eyes how hurt it affected me. And he felt horrible about it. He apologized several times and he should have acted more professional before making comments like that. He also said that he did not mean it to hurt me etc.

I accepted his apology.

As I walked outside I realized that people do not know sometimes the weight of their comments. It takes a lot of guts to stand up for yourself and tell someone that what they said is wrong. But if you don’t do it then they would never know.  You have to advocate for yourself because change only comes when you make the first move.

I know my writing is not up to par. But I keep writing. Writing is like fighting a dragon constantly. I remind myself that it takes a lot of grit and will power to constantly fight this dragon. I think if “normal” people had to go through  it they would just stop writing. But for people with LD, we trudge on because our greatest weakness only makes us stronger. I may never be good with grammar, but I and many others have the ideas to change the world.

Would you like to listen to them?

MC

Let’s Talk About Subtitles by Amanda Silverman

Here is a new post by Amanda Silverman. I knew Amanda Silverman from high school. She is currently at Beloit College studying Chemistry. She talks about a problem that many LD people face subtitles (aka reading during a movie!). Enjoy! 

You have all been there before, a group of friends suggest a screening of a random movie or tv show or video that has subtitles. At first you are intrigued by the plot and agree to it. But then they load the video and you see the familiar scroll of words. You try hard to read the things but by the time you finish the first line, the second one has disappeared. At some point you give up and turn back to your knitting project. And that is when you get reprimanded, “You missing out on the movie.”

Or perhaps you are more determined to watch the movie, “wait, can you pause that, I didn’t catch all that?” which prompts the snide, “If we pause the movie we will miss the dramatic tension.” If I had a dime for every time I heard that I would probably only have one dime because that only happened once, but it still irks me. Dramatic flow means nothing to me if I don’t know what is happening. But if you are lucky, you have a nice friend that does what your parents did when you were five and showing you a buster Keaton movie, they read the damn thing out loud. Frankly, I love the invention of the vocal cords. If I had to pay a dime for every time a friend offered to read something out loud to me, I would need to go to the chain machine more often. Sometimes they want me to read an essay or short story they were working on. Other times it is subtitles. Still others we are on tumblr and that last rant took me twice as long to read through than they did. When the world gives you lemons, have a party because chances are you have a friend with a juicer you can borrow.

Well thanks for the time…

Also, I just wanted to put in a disclaimer, I am not dyslexic. I have a disability called NOS 315.9, which is a fancy way of saying between my testing in middle school and high school I learned how to over compensate and confuse the tests. But basically I have slow processing and terrible spatial reasoning skills.

Fun fact, despite hating subtitles, closed captioning is my best friend but I don’t think that is LD related…

Dealing with my Learning Differences: One Jump at a Time By Michael Kligerman

I would like to welcome my good friend Mike to Melonaid. He is the blog’s second guest blogger. When I asked him if he wanted a picture with the post Mike said, ” I want the words to speak for themselves.” So without delay, here is Mike’s post. We hope you enjoy! 

I know Matt from high school. We were both on student government, ran cross-country, played ultimate, and were even in a Steak Club together. I am honored to be a part of his life, his blog, and am very excited that we are both going into education. So, here’s a snippet of my life: Rewind: Age 8: Diagnosed with ADHD. Age 10: Diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. For those who are unaware of Tourette’s Syndrome is a “neuropsychiatric disorder with onset in childhood, characterized by multiple physical and vocal tics”. Some of my tics included whistling, jerking out my arms, and even jumping up and down while lifting up my shirt and looking at my stomach. Needless to say, my life was not always sunshine and cute puppies.

When I was younger my parents supported me in finding a hobby more than legos and talking to my beloved black lab, Kari. I played baseball and basketball and roller hockey and even gymnastics. Picture this: a chubby hyperactive kid who would randomly jut his arms or jump up and down. Now picture him trying to play sports. Years later I was talking to my mom about my past and she told me that when I played basketball in 3rd grade, I would get the ball, drop it on the ground, and just look at it while hopping up and down repeatedly. In early high school, I would stay up until 3 am or so just cleaning the bathroom in my house. I did not really want to be scrubbing over and over again, but I could not help it. My parents would wake up and tell me that I need to go to bed, but it wasn’t that easy. So I went to an OCD therapist. Who knew that there was such a thing? It wasn’t easy, but little by little I was getting better.

One thing about Tourette’s is that, for most people, the tics decrease as they get older. Though this is true in my case, they still can get in the way. Just last fall, I ran a half-marathon in the mountains. Not only was I running 13.1 miles, but I was running and jumping up and down every 15 or so feet. It was extra tiring and slightly frustrating that I had no control and was getting burned out really fast, but that is part of accepting that that is me. I finished and it was GLORIOUS. I am now in my third year at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina studying Outdoor Leadership. I tell people this and they normally give me a funny look since they haven’t heard of Warren Wilson or Outdoor Leadership. Allow me to drop some knowledge. Warren Wilson College is a 900-student liberal arts college where every student must attend classes, complete 100 hours of community service by graduation, and work 15 hours a week at a profession of their choosing (For example, I work at a neighboring preschool as a student teacher in a class of 3-4 year-olds. There are other options such as blacksmithing, farm, carpentry, and even plumbing).

After graduation, my goal is to use my Outdoor Leadership degree to take teenagers with behavioral issues into the woods for a few weeks backpacking or rock climbing or canoeing. I want help them to realize their potential as well as teach them communication skills and show them how to become self-reliant. I want this to be my life because there were many people who helped me through my hard times and guided my realization that I am capable of so much more, I just need to believe in myself and jump in head first.

I used to think that my Tourette’s, OCD, and ADHD were going to be the death of me, but with the support of my family, friends, a wonderful high school, and an amazing summer program, I turned my life around. I believe in myself. I try new things. I am truly happy.