Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Dyslexia as an Adult - the beginings of a plan

So, maybe I should write out a bit about what my plan of attack is going to be.

STEP ONE – Figure Out What is Wrong
Well, the first step was figuring out what was wrong. It took me a very long time to figure out that it could be my dyslexia. I think just because I have always been able to pull through despite it, find ways around it, that kind of thing. But I’ve never had a job that relies so strongly on the skills dyslexia impairs for me. Long before I figured out it was my dyslexia I was beating myself up for not being able to do it, for being stupid, for not finding a way to learn the things I needed to learn.

I’m not sure what made me realise what was going on, but suddenly one day something clicked.
So, I started researching like mad. I admit that I didn’t know much about dyslexia before, I have sort of avoided it in the past. I talk about it in a joking way, I bring up the fact that I flip letters, I talk about how I always write ‘reslut’ instead of result and did so on a white board in front of a big group of colleagues before. Because when I’m joking about it then it’s not a problem, it’s not serious, it’s not something to worry about, just something to tell anecdotes about. So, off I set to do some research. Well, by “off I set” I mean Google and I had a long talk that night.

I found out some interesting things and I saw myself in a lot of the literature. It didn’t really mollify my feelings at all, but at least I have a bit clearer idea of what’s going on.

STEP TWO: Get Documented
So, these steps are not as linear one might like. Once I figured out what was going on I knew I needed to get assessed and documented. There are several reasons to do this. The first is from a purely practical level – if I’m going to be going into my workplace and telling them that I’m dyslexic and need to be accommodated and get help dealing with it, things like people to edit my work, someone to help me develop an outline, maybe different types of work, whatever the accommodations may be.

I made a doctor’s appointment. I was supposed to go on December 19. Unfortunately my doctor was sick and couldn’t come into work that week, and was away the week of Christmas and is away the week of New Year’s. So, my appointment is January 3rd.

The point of going to a doctor is to get a referral to a specialist who can do the assessment and maybe help me. There are other options for referrals, but testing runs in around the $800 - $1000 mark I think, and I’m going to need a doctor’s referral to have any of that covered under my benefits.

So, steps have continued before step two has finished…

STEP THREE: Disclose at Work
I have to say, this is something that terrified me. Terrifies me still, because the disclosure has happened with one person, but there are still two more key players to go, and I honestly don’t know what to expect as the fall-out from this. Bottom line, it still keeps me up at night, we’ll have to see how this plays out in the next couple weeks (my manager is still away next week)

STEP FOUR: Figure Out What the Fuck is Next
This is a bit of an iterative process, so I’m not sure what the next steps are.

I think I need to make an inventory of the things that I have challenges with so that I can do a direct link in developing coping mechanisms.

I will talk to the psychologist who does the assessment to find out what kind of tools are available to me.

I will try and figure out how to build up some semblance of confidence at work again.

I will develop a plan that I check in with on a regular basis. I will assess my progress to see if what I’m doing is helping or not.

I will learn to accept that there are some things that I just won’t be able to do well. I’ll be able to do them passably, but not exceptionally. And, that I don’t have to be good at everything in order to be worth something.

Which brings me to a last point. It’s time for me to get my ass back into therapy. Not because it’s going to help me with the dyslexia, but because somehow I need to extricate my self-worth from my work life. I need to know that I am worthy, that I try my hardest and sometimes that’s okay, even if it doesn’t result in the best product. I’ve got some definite feelings of worthlessness going on here and it’s time I got to know those feelings and politely ask them to please vacate the premises.

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