Parenting a Child with LD or ADHD

Offensive Dyslexia T-shirts

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Joined: Apr 22, 2008
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Posted Apr 22, 2008 at 2:11:45 PM
Subject: Offensive Dyslexia T-shirts

A month or so ago, my 10 yr old daughter (who has dyslexia and auditory processing disorder) was out with her Dad running errands. When she came home, she told me that she saw a teenager wearing a T-shirt that said something that made fun of being dyslexic. To be honest, I can't remember exactly what it had said, but we talked about how some people have a very inappropriate sense of humor and think it's funny to make fun of things that they don't understand. We've always treated her dyslexia as a gift. We let her know that it is the very thing that makes her who she is and that people with dyslexia are the ones who have the ability to be much more creative and intuitive than people who don't have it. She is, quite frankly, proud to be dyslexic.

Now, today, I just saw a boy at my son's school wearing a t-shirt that said something like: I Dyslexia then a heart at the end. I didn't say anything, but now I wish I did. I can't believe shirts like that exist.

Is there a better way to deal with this if my daughter runs into this again? It breaks my heart and it makes me so mad.

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Joined Jul 11, 2005
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Posted:Apr 22, 2008 2:24:30 PM

I guess there are two ways to look at it. You can look at it as offensive or you can look at it as an attempt to show the fun side of being dyslexic. There are many dyslexics who would look at that shirt and automatically switch the heart and words so that it made sense. Thats how their minds work.

My son had a dyslexic teacher in high school. This teacher, on the first day of school, wrote on the board "Dyslexics Untie!". My son, who is dyslexic, walked into the class and said "Dyslexics Unite! How awesome is that!"

Dyselics have a wonderful sense of fun and their minds work in extremely creative ways. Teach her to enjoy those unique things about herself and encourage her to look at the fun life can bring.

scifinut mom to: ms 16, bp/adhd/anxiety/complex ld mr. 20, add/dyslexic I hear and I forget I see and I remember I do and I understand. -Anonymous

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Joined Feb 06, 2005
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Posted:Apr 23, 2008 4:13:06 AM

I agree with scifi, that their are 2 ways to look at it?
A major focus of all learning disabilities, is with trying to get the broader community to understand what they actually are?
But the difficulty is with getting them to stop and pay attention, while it is explained to them?

Though this is where humour can actually be used to grab someones attention, for a moment.
Where the general approach used, is to present something that is a contradiction to how it is typically seen or heard?
Such as the 'Dyslexics untie', or your heart example.

At first it doesn't automatically make sense, until they untangle it?
Which in a very minor way, gives them an insight into the experience of Dyslexics.

Of course, on the other hand, it could also provide a wrong insight?
But it can be a useful tool?

I might mention a t-shirt banner that a member on my maths disorder: Dyscalculia Forum came up with:


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Joined Apr 22, 2008
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Posted:Apr 25, 2008 1:30:03 PM

I understand what you are both saying, but the fact that my daughter has always had such a great attitude about her LD's and still felt hurt by the T-shirt was disturbing to me. I do know that as she gets older, her "great attitude" will certainly be tested.

I think she would have also laughed if a teacher (especially a dyslexic teacher) had written that on the board (Dyslexics Untie), but to see a teenager wearing a t-shirt making jokes about dyslexia makes it seem much more like mocking and not joking. I think the source of the joke makes a difference.

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Joined May 05, 2008
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Posted:May 07, 2008 3:29:43 PM

No, there is only *1* way to look at it. Through the eyes of your child. Clearly, her feelings about it are that it is rude and cruel. And she is right.

I can also understand poking fun at something and embracing it. But i can't believe youa re swuggesting in this situation to handle it this way. Because, it is supposed to be ppl like me who are 'socially retarded.' not you 'normal people.'

The reality is, Your cchild will run into this attitude often for the rest of her life. Even if she does learn to poke fun at it as suggested. All that does is devalidate her inner feelings of being mistreated and stigmatised. Your daughter is leaning disabled. Not stupid. She is a human being with very real feelings. They need to be honored. Otherwise it will contribute to what is already happening. As the stigma and society eats away at her self worth, and her joy at being alive is replaced by a sense of hopelessness and a feeling of being inferior and not worthy of humanitarian treatment... As she realizes, her whole life is defined by these lables in the eyes of other people....As she accepts that she is 'different' And not only different but shunned. Treated calousely and even condescended down to by those supposed to help her.... She will break.... She will be lucky to ever make peace with it, no matter what face she shows the world. The fact is, her life has been limited by the choices you have made. These limitations will follow her forever. They will affect her social relationships as the cruelty she learns from some will cause her to be distrusting and short with all. Her pay check as an adult, no matter how great her work is, will be on average 30% less than someone without the lable. Her parenting style. will be different because of it. In that i for one would never let those people lable my child. I will be very wary of 'experts.' My ability to listen to them without laughing in their face or just flipping them the bird.... is getting too close to nill. If i had a child with a real problem.... This attitude could be very bad for it. But i think, it is worse, to desgtroy one's kid labling them when a little special attention is all that is necesary.

I know exactly how this story unfolds. Because unlike the priests of the sacred science of lables and drugs, I have actually lived it. It is a rough rough rough road. No one ever really makes peace with it. And few of us ever receive human treatment. We are treated as less than other people. We can read. We read what is wriutten about us. We read the expert's words. We also those that need them have dictionaries for any words too big for them to grasp... The rest of us understand these words well enough on our own.We understand what is said about us that is designed to go over our head. We speak the same language. We think too, and we feel. Maybe some of us with subtle difference that can cause problems in certain environments. But that doesn't negate our humanity. And it doesn't negate our intelligence.

The starting post of this thread, reminds me of the whole Miley Ciris picture.... thing.... You were there when the specialist labled your kid. Now when there is nasty feed back based on the lable you don't like it. Well, then don't have your kid labled because this is now the rest of her life. You could have just hired a tutored that understood orton gillingham and been done with it. You would have then atleast solved the dyslexia issues and kept her unlabled, and her spirit intact. You should have her retested and unlabled. So it is a passing phase rather than a lifetime of hell horror and unhappiness.

Dyslexia has to do with specific brain functions. It does not in anyway compromise the rest. But it has a special name and if you have trouble reading you appear stupid to your peers. They ofcourse, are so mature behaviorally, that the cruelty from that is overwhelming. Plus, by labling you are sending a message she is 'other'. The adults in her life treat her differently, specially at school, the children do and so do strangers. Shoulda thought first like Miley. Who is now embarrassed due to the outpouring from fans and parents of fans that are unpleasant to hear.

But no worries. There is hope. She could turn out like me. Today i study egyptology at a university level. I read and write in 6 languages with varying degrees of fluency to passable decency. I can read and write in hieroglyphs, heriatic script and ancient coptic too. On top of that i am fluent in music notation of the typical western variety as well as that created and used by the ancient greeks. I am engaged to a european PHD of theoretical physics and i live with him managing to study care for 5 pets,keep the house nice, and plan our wedding with virtually no assistance. I must say all this is not bad for someone Dyslexic and positive for ADHD. I love my life. I am very happy. But there were MANY years, of tears self hatred unhappiness and all the rest. Part of what got me through it, was my mom. She never doubted in my abilities. She demanded normality for me equal to that of normal ppl. She held out on meds until i was in my teens and then that was a whole nother episode of ugliness.... I have been very abused and hurt by this system. It seems you have opened the door for the same for your child. If there is anything i can do to help you or her let me know. Because what is to come.... Is so very ugly and so very long lasting with long affects on one's self worth and everything else. Encourage your child to pee all over the 'PHDs' and 'expertise' of the experts. Because every time they talk to her and condescend to her they are peeing on her humanity. Also encourage it, because, being learning disabled can be a reason one has trouble. It is not an excuse for failure. Nor is it an excuse for producing less than adequate work. Nor should it be catered to so that it is 'well done for someone like her.' But well done for *anyone.* Because of the lable you allowed, she will always have to be a minimum of twice as good as everyone else.

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