The following Inspirational Dyslexia Life Story and poem ‘Make the Letters Stop Dancing’ was sent to us by Andrea Boff Sutton, a remarkable woman who has harnessed her ‘dyslexia’ and turned it into an amazing resource.
I hope that you enjoy this poem as much as I did – I’m sure that Andrea’s story will inspire and motivate people – dyslexic and non-dyslexics alike – to further develop the creative abilities of their minds… it certainly has for me!
Thanks once again Andrea,
All the best from Dyslexic Brian
Wonderful Dyslexia: Embracing the Wiring of My Mind by Andrea Boff
Throughout my childhood, my grandmother saved all my drawings in a special place in her kitchen. I still have some of them (thanks to her) and they date back to when I was 2 years old.
The point is, I always thought in pictures and in 3-D (even though I only have one working eye). Something in my brain enabled me to “see” space without stereo vision.
Even as there were abilities, there were liabilities. My mom would send me to the store for bread and milk and I would return with eggs and butter (knowing that I was supposed to get some sort of staple) but my memory just would not “hold” on to the ideas. Time was a mystery to me, so I was always late for dinner. I could not tell left from right and drew and “L” and an “R” on my bike handles, jeans, and hands. Simple tasks like “cross referencing” two lists, or organizing my school work was just about impossible and frustrating.
But it was the discipline of drawing that taught me how to think. I had an imaginary pencil and with it I drew imaginary lines in space. I drew houses, and hinges on the doors. By spinning the doors I realized that they created “cylinders” in the air. The planes of the house taught me perspective and geometry. I understood 3 dimensional space. That was the beginning of everything.
Today, I thrive. I am the Director of Experience Design in the Creative Department of a Fortune 100 where I design and build complex web properties. My ability to see in 3-D is tapped every day as I plan the tracks that users take through the web. Once I was afraid to speak of the Dyslexia and now I see it as a design resource in myself and others. Dyslexia has helped me understand that there are powerful differences in the ways human minds are wired and I respect others wiring even as I respect my own. There are many ways a mind can be wired – dyslexia is just one – and they are all very fascinating. I embrace this wiring. I know the pitfalls and the glories of it and that there is so much to learn from a person with a 3-D mind.
Make the Letters Stop Dancing
When my mom first opened books
across my lap for quiet looks
the pictures dazzled at a glance
and every word got up and danced.
The “T” and “H” spun with the “E”
and all for the delight of me
but they would not be still enough
for me to learn to read the stuff.
They would not sit on the line
so I stopped them with my mind
imagining them spatially
I sucked them down with gravity.
They quivered on the sentence shelf
till I could read them all myself –
And when I finished paragraphs
I let them all back up to dance.
Andrea Boff Sutton © 2009
Visit Andrea’s website www.boff.myexpose.com