Dyslexic tales

Do you consider yourself disabled?

That is what I saw on a form I was filling out. Do I? I mean technically I am but to I consider myself disabled?

Oh, meet me in the street and you will see nothing. In fact you will probably notice nothing. I don’t blame anyone for not. I do not have a neon sign above my head flashing that there is a disability. And I’m almost forty which means I’ve lived with my issues for a long time, and have found out what makes me appear normal. And I use all the tricks I’ve learnt.

So what have I got?

  • Dyspraxia – basically I am clumsy. There isn’t a lot I can do about this, but you will never see me in high heels. I would probably break something, or me, if I ever tried to walk in them without a stick. Even in flat shoes I will still fall, but I tend to bounce.
  • Meares Irlen – this is a kicker since I draw. Everything I see is purple tinged due to the corrective tint on my glasses. I mean, it can make my art darker. My black shadow is pitch black and my lighter areas not so light.
  • Dyslexia – another kicker since when I’m not drawing I’m writing. Yes, I’m an author… But I’m lucky in that my mum used to be an English teacher so I have an editor on the doorstep. She doesn’t edit my posts, so bear with me for punctuation and grammar.
  • Asperger’s – yes I have mild autism. No you won’t notice. Why? Because I have worked hard to overcome it. I used to be unable to look at people when I talked to them. I would look anywhere but at someone. A friend helped me over a year to meet her eyes as we chatted. Then I moved back home and did it myself. Five years later it had become natural and now only when I’m really nervous or, if the person I’m talking to is angry, I won’t. Other wise I am normal.
    Of course you might also find me aloof. Think about being in a world that is a little confusing and being encased in a bubble. You can breach the bubble but it takes effort from you and the other person you are with. That is what my interactions are like. To be afraid to have a cuddle, but to crave it completely. And that is the irony. Despite the autism I want to be touched and held. I want to be kissed and worshiped, but I can’t ask. My bubble won’t allow it. Of course I’m getting better. Play nights are great. You have to ask to try something. I’m hoping that eventually my bubble will disappear. I just hope it happens before I’m eighty…

So, back to the form:
Do you consider yourself disabled? Yes or No.

Which should I pick? I have a certificate that says I am mentally disabled with a variety of learning disabilities…

Yeah, right. I’m not. Not in the least.

With a grin I tick the No box. I may technically be disabled but do I consider myself to be? No, not in the least. I am me and no amount of labels will change that. I do not feel disabled, so I can’t be.

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10 thoughts on “Do you consider yourself disabled?

  1. What a stupid question! Surely it would be better to ask if there is any support you need rather than asking you to label yourself.
    I consider you to be you – an individual with needs and aspirations and gifts and emotions. And that’s enough labelling!

  2. You’ve done a great job of adapting :-).

    The hardest part (I think), when you’ve learned to live with & adapt, is when people don’t understand when disabilities give you difficulty. I deal with that a lot between me, hubby, and son (for different reasons with each).

  3. I have Dyspraxia as well! and when watching women strut so elegantly in their high heels that make a 5,6 lady almost the same height as me (I’m 6,2-6,3!) whilst stumbling round in my Timber lands I often wonder how they pull it off! I don’t think I make it obvious either, its not tattooed or branded on me and people don’t set off alarms when I walk into shops with breakable objects in them and I’m even allowed in kitchens now.
    Good post, just recently published one of my own on living with Dyspraxia and would love to get your thoughts if you have time.

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