Friday, May 18, 2012

Brain Fair - Dyslexia

Despite having dress rehearsal for The Wizard of Oz ballet all last week, and several performances at Burnsville Performing Arts Center, Eryn also had a significant homework assignment that she got on Tuesday that was due by the following Tuesday.  That's a rough assignment when you're getting picked up from school each day, and then immediately dropped off at ballet until around 9:30 p.m. We were told parents help, so I used some of my time to dig around on the web for information she could use for her presentation board.

Her display, report, and presentation were on dyslexia.  And she did a very nice job.  Lots of info about the definition, how to cope, living and dead folks (famous) with dyslexia, including Einstein, Paul Wellstone, and Bella Thorne.  While my mother was staying with us, monitoring my health, she told me about my grandmother and her dyslexia.  I tried to capture it notes and Eryn used it, so I hope it's mostly accurate given my spotty attention span lately.

"This is an example of dyslexia from my family and how my great grandmother dealt with her brain being different because of dyslexia.  I did not know my great grandmother, although my middle name is taken from her name.  My grandmother Ellen told me this story.
My Great Grandma Catherine was both ambidextrous and dyslexic.  So while she could write equally well with both hands and just hand a piece of chalk from one hand to the other while writing a sentence, she couldn’t tell which hand was left and which hand was right.
This was particularly bad when driving or needing directions.  You couldn’t tell her left or right, you had to tell her toward the driver side door or toward the passenger side door.  Even then, she would still often get lost.  This made her very nervous about taking her driver’s test, particularly after an instructor gave her a very hard time about being old enough to know left from right (he didn’t understand dyslexia).

Catherine was so nervous, she wasn’t getting her license renewed.  She drove on an expired driver’s license for three years rather than take the test and be made fun of by the instructor.   Finally, a friend told her to take two markers and write L(eft) on one hand and R(ight) on the other so that when she was driving, she could read which direction to turn.  She thought that was cheating.  But her friend said that it wasn’t any different than just knowing the directions naturally.  Once she did this, she passed her test and maintained her license."

Eryn working on her dyslexia triptych.  I'm not sure I've posted a picture of my post-accident set up before.  You can see it in the background - wheelchair, hospital bed with pretty ballet covers, wheelchair legs.  Eryn did a very nice job handling the layout and putting construction paper behind the bits.  For a few items we backed them with one or two pieces of sponge board to make them stand out a bit and give the board some levels.  Eryn practiced her presentation for us repeatedly and did a great job.  She really understood everything she was talking about, right down to the areas  of the brain.  And she didn't read everything verbatim, but summarized in a few spots.

Here she is at the Brain Fair where she got to present on dyslexia many times, for anyone who stopped to check out her display.  Nice picture of her by my wife.  She looks so old (and happy).

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