I was in 6th grade before I could spell music.
I was reading on a “college” level, and spent a lot of my time doing that reading. But I couldn’t spell “music.” I spent about 4 years living through of variations on the following conversation:
Sibling to a new friend: This is my sister Savannah.
Sibling: [Sometimes after I’ve rambled enough to get called “smart,” sometimes not.] Guess what? She’s in [x] grade, and she still can’t spell “music”!
Friend: No way!
Sibling: Yep. Savannah, spell “music”
Me: [attempts several possible butcherings of the spelling of “music” becoming increasingly frustrated.]
This type of conversation left me so frustrated, I forced myself through that one word. Thankfully, with that one word down, my siblings stopped playing this game and let it be.
On my early educational records, it reads “Dyslexia” and for many years it was pointed to both appropriately and inappropriately as an explanation. Sometimes, the issue was more language processing, others fine motor skills. On some occasions it actually was possibly dyslexia, but from reading the experiences of other people with various learning disabilities it wasn’t anywhere near as often as it was said to be the reason.
I know that the difficulties I had learning to read at first- I didn’t read until late in 3rd grade- don’t match the experiences of other people whose late reading skills were due to dyslexia as much as they match other types of visual and language processing difficulties. Some spelling, though, I can see the places it does match- not completely, but enough to believe it’s a factor.
After a while, I came up with ways to get around it- work arounds in my brain when it comes to words and letters. To this day, I struggle to find consistent ones for numbers. So no, I don’t remember your number, the zip code, or any number of things. It takes me 2-3 years for a zip code that I write regularly, and a couple years when my mother changes her number. My sister has had the same number for 7 years, and this year is the first year I can consistently recognize it.
There are plenty of times, particularly under stress, when those work arounds stop working though. They are like any number of other skills- they get harder when someone is sick or under stress. Lately, that’s been a little more common for whatever reason. I think it’s because of long term housing stress. My neurologist says I should ask my psychiatrist if my meds could be involved. I really don’t know.
What I do know is that spell check is amazing for me on a number of levels. And I have learned to spell a wider number of words flat out thanks to it than I miss. But sometimes spell check on a particular program doesn’t work- it flags terms that are spelled correctly, or it misses that a word is wrong.
Usually it’s fine. I fix it, and I’m on my way. But sometimes?
Sometimes I spell occasion “occation” and a particular program doesn’t pick up on it. I send something on, and then even the nice reminders leave me panicking.
It’s not something I can say “look don’t do that” because it is something that is needed, and it’s something I’m grateful for after the initial panic. It’s actually antithetical to my access needs to not have those corrections made in official documents, or in essays submitted places, or the like. I embrace that I need a copy-editor for certain projects, and that I can’t copy-edit for people because of my needs.
But there’s still a part of me that anticipates it.
“Savannah can’t spell. . .”