Dyslexia takes time

I have a child who is both dyslexic and dyspraxic and she may or may not have dyscalculia. Dyslexia is a learning disorder related to reading and writing. I have a previous post about it. There are three degrees of dyslexia: mild/moderate, severe and profound. My daughter has severe dyslexia. Her vocabulary and use of it is excellent. Her writing and reading, not so much. Spelling and grammar programs have been essential for her schoolwork, and audio books and youtube videos have helped her understand topics her teachers (or I) could/can not explain well enough.

Many dyslexics also have dyspraxia. Both disorders are inherited from my side of the family. She was diagnosed in England at a time when dyspraxia was not an accepted diagnosis in Norway. All of the symptoms and experiences described below have been part of her life. As with dyslexia, dyspraxia is life-long. Certain aspects can improve with a lot of work. Essentially, one has to prioritize which aspects matter in the long run.

When it comes to dyscalculia we might have our suspicions. I’m not sure how well she would have done at school without my tutoring. Probably much worse. Interestingly enough these disorders do not indicate intelligence. Generally people who struggle with one or all of them range from average to highly intelligent. If you need understand the world through IQ test lenses, you will have problem with dys-cal/lex/praxic people.

In spite of her disabilities she is currently (2018/2019) taking a business masters at a university in England. At the beginning of the school year she had to take another test to determine the severity of her adult dyslexia and dyspraxia. As the person testing her concluded the report said: “…. is to be congratulated on her achievements to date.”

Manipulation

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that we cannot be manipulated. That people who are taken in by cults are gullible or stupid. However, all of us are manipulated each and every day of our lives. Conditioning begins the moment we are born into a certain culture, a certain family, a certain language. Businesses thrive on how simple it is to get us to buy things. Usually things we do not need. Even if we are starving, we might choose to pay for “not food”. This video by Theramin Trees is an excellent introduction to the idea that EVEN YOU might be manipulated. 

Who were The Computers?

Socializing over lunch. From left to right, Barbara Paulson, Vickie Wang and Helen Ling. (Credit: JPL)
I have found truth to be malleable in the hands of historians. Writing people out of history or rewriting history so important people are deleted or even replaced with preferred characters seems not uncommon. While some people might have heard of the first programmer ever (Lady Ada Lovelace), the names of the six females who started modern US programming were conveniently hidden from the public. So were their images. In fact, the idea that they were models posing in front of the ENIAC was encouraged. Not until Kathleen Kleiman went searching for female role-models in computer programming did the world get to hear about these six “Computers”: Kay McNulty, Jean Jennings, Betty Snyder, Marlyn Meltzer, Fran Bilas, and Ruth Lichterman.
Any person who differed from the idea of a white male persona were hidden from public mention and public viewing. Many “Computers” who were part of launching NASA’s manned rockets flights, were denied recognition.
The US were far from alone in this regards. British, names like Kathleen Booth or Stephanie Shirley, have probably not been heard of.
It is important that we realize that information will be kept from the public if it suits the purposes of the majority within any field or in any country.

Being human

How do you people stay sane?

When you walk down a street in your hometown or city, or along a corridor on whatever station you visit, how do you stay sane when you see a fellow sentient being who is homeless and hungry, and in need of sanitation and fresh clothes, food and a warm bed, things that you get to enjoy? How do you stay sane when you hear about your neighbor having lost their job, and they’re mired in debt, unable to pay their bills, when you have plenty to spare? How do you stay sane whenever you see an injured stray dog who needs a trip to the nearest vet, with no owner in sight and no one else but you aware of his pain and his plight?

How, meioa, do you and your viewers stay sane when there are so many things you can do to make this universe a better place, day by day, step by step, kindness by kindness, instead of just sitting there complaining about its awful state? How can you and your viewers stay sane whenever you stay silent on matters of social injustice, oppression, and bigotry?

Johnson, J. (2014). Damnation. Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. (p. 318-319).

Eating Disorders

Only if you have suffered from the disease can you understand the extent to which food takes over your life. Someone I love dearly struggles with Anorexia – a nasty disease.

The ways to an eating disorder are many. Aspies are some of the people particularly at risk for such behaviour. Sometimes the eating disorder is the only control we have over what can feel like a chaotic and confusing life. We are certainly not the only ones who struggle with things like Anorexia, Bulemia, Overfeeding, Extreme eating routines and so on. Once you are caught in that prison, it is difficult to get out and like Baird says in her poem, people around you may end up making it even more difficult to escape.

Why we think and behave as we do

There are many theories about why we think and behave as we do. Be they as they may, but the real reason we do what we do, say what we say, and think what we think, lies here:

“Funny Numbers” with Robert Osserman, Steve Martin and Robin Williams

A goal of The Mathematical Sciences Research Institute at University of California, Berkeley, is to communicate its love for mathematics and the mathematical sciences. Professor Robert Osserman (1926-2011) held a series public conversations on how cultural matters relate to mathematics. One of those conversations, entitled “Funny Numbers”, was with Steve Martin (actor, play-writer, author and musician). The San Fransisco Chronicle’s Jonathan Curiel described the December 15, 2002 event as

“Martin taking out a banjo and playing the instrument like a country music star; Osserman saying some things as wittily as his famous guest; and — halfway through — Robin Williams suddenly walking onstage, where he bantered, imitated, cajoled and gesticulated (about math, Trent Lott, French people, etc. ) as only Robin Williams can do.”

I laughed. Three incredibly intelligent people playing with conversation, Osserman helpless with laughter at times, held the public in the palms of their hands.

The videos that were previously on youtube are gone. Instead you may see the entire show on Vimeo: Funny Numbers: An Evening with Steve Martin in conversation with Bob Osserman.

Documentary on bi-polar disorder

Some Aspergers/Autists have no co-morbid conditions. Like the general population, many of us do. One of these is Bi-polar Disorder. As with so many disorders, I wonder how people survive being bipolar and how people survive living with a person with BPD. PBS sent a one-hour documentary about highly accomplished US individuals who are diagnosed as bipolar. Not all who struggle with this disease are able to be what society considers highly accomplished. Treatment is required for a person to live an average and healthy life.

Zeitgeist: Moving Forward, 2011

Dispelling the myths surrounding the outdated concept of nature vs. nurture is part of the documentary Zeitgeist: Moving Forward from 2011. “I have watched humanity set the stage for its own extinction. I have watched as precious finite resources are perpetually wasted and destroyed in the name of profit and free markets. I have watched the social values of society be reduced into a base artificiality of materialism and mindless consumption. And I have watched at the monetary powers control the political structure of a supposedly free society.” (from 7:45)