The life of a neurodivergent can vary greatly. On some days outsiders may barely notice any outward neurodiverse traits or signs of dyslexia from myself. I am happy to plod along with my daily work tasks and activities without too much confusion or anxiety. In vast contrast, on other particularly bad or challenging days I feel as if my dyslexia is horribly apparent and abundant for everyone to see. As discussed in my previous post ‘The Dyslexic Variation’, the dyslexic traits and characteristics displayed by an individual can vary immensely. This can be attributed to numerous factors; including fatigue levels, illness and any stress or anxieties relating to the task at hand. Consequently, how an individual is thinking and feeling in particular may influence how that task or potentially the whole day pans out.
More often than not, and a majority of the time, my day-to-day living falls into the first category; where I am content and able to attempt/complete my designated activities. As dyslexia is a hidden disability and neurodiversity, its signs and signals can be covert, subtle and less obvious on the eye. This can occur for two main reasons. Firstly, the individual can be comfortable and successful with the tasks they are facing. It is common place for dyslexics to gear towards tasks they know, are familiar with and have successfully mastered, in order to avoid unwanted apprehension and anxiety around the unknown (Dyselxia.com, 2008). On a crucial note, this does not mean that they would be unsuccessful with new tasks. In stark contrast, when given the time and resources they individually need dyslexics can excel in new tasks due to their excellent creative thinking and resilience levels.
Secondly, dyslexic characteristics can appear covert due to the expertly created coping strategies dyslexics employ. Coping strategies and ‘life hacks’ can be uniquely tailored to various tasks, activities and situations. As an exemplar, in order to combat worries or concerns over grammatical and spelling errors in work related emails and reports I will ritualistically check content and other small details in order to reduce the potential for errors. Furthermore, it is common for dyslexics to work best and prefer procedures to be noted/written down, or even videoed if appropriate, and create reminders or lists so steps can be looked back upon, remembered and checked as many times as needed. This can be particularly useful as many dyslexic individuals are visual learners, meaning they can physically see when specific steps and milestones have been achieved.
Times of immense stress for dyslexics and other neurodivergents can be triggered by numerous tasks or situations. Although to outsiders these may seem menial or trivial, they can be extremely stressful, laborious and time consuming for the individual. For example, dyslexic adults may find reading aloud, completing forms, organising bills/paperwork and completing reports or other long written tasks very challenging. The stress and apprehension relating to these tasks may only last for a few minutes until the task is completed. Conversely, it may last for several days as individuals may unnecessarily worry that they have made a mistake or completed the task incorrectly. Therefore, these uncertain times of worry and emotional stress can be commonplace and form a large section of the life of a dyslexic. Interestingly, existing research has viewed stress and anxiety to be a ‘secondary symptom’ of dyslexia (see useful links below for further resources). This emotional side of dyslexia can often be overlooked and forgotten, despite being prevalent and forming a large section of the life of a dyslexic.
On a more personal level, rather unsurprisingly a large amount of my daily life and routine is spent reading, writing, researching and thinking about dyslexia. Ridden within this productive routine, I also spend vast amounts of time being particularly clumsy, procrastinating and day dreaming about delectable sweet treats! I do really enjoy reading other people’s/company blog posts, topical articles and journal articles in order to broaden my understanding and knowledge of this complex neurodiversity. Crucially, these shape and inspire the content and debates of future blog posts. It is not unusual for fellow dyslexics, their parents/family and even teachers to research and wish to know more about the world of dyslexia, or any other neurodiversity. This is often the case as individuals, friends and family members may wish to understand the nature of their neurodiversity and why individuals behave, learn and process information the way they do. Furthermore, by understanding and gaining knowledge of neurodiversities individuals can be in a great position in order to help support and empower others and/or themselves.
As has been explored the daily life of a dyslexic can differ immensely. During some days and situations stress, worry and the emotional ‘secondary symptoms’ of dyslexia can play a major role in the routine of a dyslexic. Contrastingly, during other days and tasks dyslexic traits and characteristics can be almost invisible. This can do due to a person being comfortable with tasks and/or due to the triumphant nature of the coping strategies dyslexics deploy to help them succeed within their daily activities. Ultimately this post aims to help uncover the complexity of dyslexia. In particular I hope it allows individuals to understand more about how dyslexia works, why dyslexics behave the way they do and the impacts dyslexia can have on a day-to-day basis.
https://www.dyslexia.com/about-dyslexia/signs-of-dyslexia/common-characteristics-of-adult-dyslexia, accessed on 11th May 2020.
http://www.dyslexia.ie/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/Living-with-Dyslexia.pdf - accessed 3rd May 2020
For more information on anxiety and ‘secondary symptoms’ of dyslexia check out one of my previous blog posts from November 2019 The Dyslexic-Anxiety Overlap at: