Lab Cat

26 Apr 2008

Changing Views

Filed under: Carnival, Personal, scientiae carnival — Tags: — Cat @ 12:00 pm

For the next Scientiae Carnival FlickaMawa asks us to discuss our changing views of ourselves. In particular she wants to know if we have changed over the last decade or less. Well, I am going to stretch this out a little to when I was a teenager.

I am going to start with FlickaMawa’s name. I keep reading this as FlickaMama, and I have to make an effort to remember that it is not. One reason for this is that I am dyslexic. Probably very mildly compared to some people and I have to all intents and purposes overcome it.

As a young teen I could not spell for toffee. Apparently I always spelt girl – ‘gril’ and the end of my parents’ street name (___field) would drive me nuts. Nope, I could not even spell my address without sweating about it.

Unlike many dyslexics, I love words. I love to read and one of my ambitious back in the dark ages was to write. Eventually, I could not cope with my bad spelling any longer. So I decided that any word that I was unsure of, I was going to look up in a dictionary. Any word and any level of uncertainty. I probably spent a day or two looking up the word “friend” fifteen times. What is it with all these words containing ie? I still have problems with recieve receive.

Over a number of weeks I noticed an improvement. Over a number of months my parents did. I no longer needed to look most words up. Finally my Mum, a remedial English teacher, stated that I was cured of dyslexia, which she had never met in her professional life before.

That was until I started learning foreign languages as an adult. Then it all came tumbling back. Additionally, I took a botany course which required me to learn all those scientific names. Do you know how many letters some of those plant names have? Part of the final grade was based on spelling them correctly in the certifying exam. Perhaps if you change “ae” with an “ea” or miss out the “e” entirely, you get a completely different plant? I would have got a better score if it was not for my misspellings.

So I have lots of sympathy when FlickaMawa says she has to learn equations for her qualifying exams.

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2 Comments »

  1. Hi Cat!
    Indeed, it sounds challenging to deal with dyslexia and be graded on spelling, especially when you know that if you’re actually writing a piece about these things you could use spell-check or look it up quickly on the internet. Sigh…
    -Flicka Mawa

    p.s. Flicka Mawa means “Cute cat” in the personal language of my husband and I. Because we’re total dorks. I learned later that flicka might mean “girl” in some other language…swedish maybe. Anyhow, so I totally sympathize with it not appearing correctly to you, since it’s a made up name.

    Comment by Flicka Mawa — 26 Apr 2008 @ 1:37 pm

  2. […] Lab Cat tells us about how she learned to deal with her dyslexia as a teenager, and overcame this disability by forcing herself to look everything up in a dictionary until she had memorized the correct spelling of things. It paid off and she says “finally my Mum, a remedial English teacher, stated that I was cured of dyslexia, which she had never met in her professional life before.” […]

    Pingback by May Scientiae Carnival: Career paths, perspective, and changing self-image « A Cat Nap — 7 May 2008 @ 5:51 pm


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