When I started to school back in the “dark ages,” no one identified dyslexia as a learning disorder. Although I made high marks, there was a constant struggle going on inside my brain that kept me in a constant state of confusion. I could not for the life of me discern the difference between the letter b and the letter d. The numeral 3 looked exactly like the cursive capital E. I couldn’t distinguish between left and right. When I started in the school marching band, the other students made fun of me because I wrote L and R on the toes of my tennis shoes.
I could go on for days about the struggles with dyslexia, but I believe the point is made. It was not until someone revealed that President John Fitzgerald Kennedy struggled with the disorder that I realized I was not alone.
As if that problem were not bad enough, I had an even greater problem—Attention Deficit Disorder. In my school days that was not recognized as a learning problem either. It was a discipline matter. In reading class something in the text would cause my mind to wander to a completely different world. If I heard the band rehearsing, I likely as not used to pencils to drum out the cadence on my desktop.
Both my teachers and my parents accused me of being lazy. No one ever suspected the jumble of different things trotting around in my imagination that kept me from concentrating on any one thing for more than a few seconds. Only when something I was really interested in came along that I could focus on one particular task. Art, music, and drama were my things. Now in my later years, it’s photography, reading, and writing.
The most devastating phrase to a person suffering from ADD is “do it later.” It’s a way of putting out of the mind something that should be tackled right away. It produces environmental clutter to help eliminate the mental clutter. Unfortunately, however, the clutter on my desk only acerbates the problem. “I’ve got to get this mess cleaned up. . .oh, well, just one more game of Solitaire.”