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Jon Adams: Someone’s had all the flippin mints’ - part two of five / 12 November 2010

white text on a grey background which says 'don't read this'

'Don't Read This' by Jon Adams

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Reading is an unnatural act: 5 November 'Dyslexia awareness week'

A slightly more complex trip as it involved the underground, a new location to find and a stay. Prepared and several maps at hand we caught the train somewhat irritatingly full.

Luckily an uneventful and safe journey other than some group annoyance of an incessant ‘PStick Pstick tictictictic –tic’’ of a nearby passengers music all the way, so loud you could hear every word.

The excitement of heading up towards Camden Town was only nullified by the thought of having to walk in the opposite direction from the ‘Market’ where you can get just about anything from Tibetan ‘singing’ bowls to having your feet nibbled publicly by a hoard of small and assumingly hungry fish! We found the London Irish Centre (Some great pictures on the wall) and sat in the main hall at the ‘speakers’ table halfway through the first day of the ‘BDA Educational Conference 2010’. 

This I will remember for asking of a neuroscientist a simple question. ‘Are we genetically designed to read’? He had just spent a very interesting 40 minutes explaining the differences picked up by different imaging techniques of activity in the brain between Dyslexic and non dyslexic. It seemed to me from what he was saying that reading was very difficult and you could say quite an ‘Unnatural act’ - a task so involved it needed different parts of the brain ‘to communicate and attempt to make the best of it. 

The answer that came back was unsurprisingly short and quizzical - ‘no’. So the deduction is - and don’t call me ‘Mr Monk’ - the current assumptions need turning on their head... Dyslexics = evolved + 100% natural. We are not deficient or ‘missing something’. People are just trying to get us to do something we were never designed to do - and imposing on us ‘values and unnecessary judgements that they decide upon because we are in the minority.

After this and the conference closing we returned to the Hotel near Euston – we have never done this ‘chain’ before as , due to my Aspergers we tend to stay in ‘only one’ – no changes’ - then there are no surprises or ‘other peoples imposed chintz tastes’ and it wasn’t bad – small or more politely compact but not at all bad (not a drop of art anywhere in the room, well not until we had stayed and left!)*.

We had been invited out and met in the lobby other delegates and staff –soon made welcome we all walked a short distance through the November 5th ‘Blitz’ to a nearby hotel’s restaurant. It was very ‘Aspergers’ friendly – in other words totally empty! and stayed that way throughout the evening bar two others who came in near the end. Ordered successfully* (despite the distraction of confusing ‘Discretionary’ with ‘Dictionary’)* and spent an unusual (for us) two hours of informed and entertaining conversation around experiences, dyslexia, positive vetting and the best tasting ‘spinach’ I have ever had. Soon back, once showered and in bed with ‘netbook’ I prepared and ordered the pictures for the next days talk.

So here is the ‘sting in the tale’ - if you are reading this without any form of ‘assistance’... I am sorry to say that maybe you are becoming a ‘freak of nature’! A somewhat Ironic and contentious point as I am somewhat ‘falling on my sword’ using the written word as the medium to tell this story.

Keywords: dyslexia,visual arts