• Mark Hannafin

Me & Mi Dyslexia

Why Dyslexia!

Let’s start off with the word dyslexia. Who came up with this super simplistic word to describe a learning disorder for people who find it hard to read? I mean… come on!! No wonder I was so confused as a child, I’m still confused and now I’m 27. Why not call it the Whoopie Disorder or Swapie Swap? As it turns out I have trouble spelling those words too…

Taking the liberty to do a quick Google search to find out its origin, it turns out that it comes from Latin, Cos everyone knows Latin. The word Dyslexia means “Difficult Language” which does accurately sum up the experience.

“The word dyslexia comes from the Greek words dys, meaning difficulty, and lexia, meaning language. Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. ... Dyslexia is characterised by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities.”

School and dyslexia

Let’s take a trip back to school. Still to this day one of the most difficult and frustrating experiences of my life. Picture 5-year-old me sitting in a classroom wanting to learn, willing to learn and wanting to be a good boy. I remember ‘Table Champs’. Any one remember this? Only 15 minutes of the day where you have a chance to win a sweet if you did your tables. For me, a 15-minute punch to my confidence. Table Champs is a maths game, where all the students stand up and the teacher picks 2 students at a time and gives them a maths equation: 3+3, 9x7, 4+10 and so on. The quickest to answer the sum stays in the game. This continues until there are two students left and the winner gets a sweetie! Needless to say, I never won. There was that one day I somehow got to the finals of the 2+2 tables only to be beaten. TBH I was Devo.

What about the class work? Easy right? Haha not for you Whoopsie Boy. While everyone else got finished their work shouting “Teacher I’m Done” (Like….whatever Susan…..no need to brag….God) and got to do the colouring exercise; not Mr. Whoopsie - you had to finish all your work before you got to do the colouring. I never did get to do colouring. All in all, school was a strange experience. It wasn’t all bad, however. I made friends for life and did learn something. Like this one time at the age of 11 or 12 (I can’t remember), I managed to go 2-3 months without doing any homework! How I pulled that one off while living in a house where my mam was a teacher in the school and my dad the Principal, I don’t know. It is still one of my greatest accomplishments to this day. Did I get rewarded for my accomplishment? Nope! I had to get counselling. Boo Erns.


Today at 27, I am starting my own business and have had several satisfying jobs. I have a certificate as a care assistant and a BA honours degree where I even managed to complete a thesis. I am inspired by how many successful people there are who have overcome their challenges and learning difficulties to achieve greatness in life. How about Albert Einstein developer of the laws of relativity? Or Walt Disney? (whoever that is!). Or Richard Branson, one of the richest men alive, Or even Whoopi Goldberg, winner of an Oscar, a Grammy, a Tony and an Emmy. These amazing people I’m sure, have similar stories of school if they even finished for that matter! Yet I’m still sure they have experienced hard times but never allowed it to hold them back.

Times right now may be hard with Covid-19 and the uncertainty in the world. Yet for some, times have always been hard. When you are confined in your house remember those who are confined within their minds; who struggle to deal with day to day life never mind the added stress of a virus on top of it all. We’re all in this together and all safe inside together. As contradictory as that sounds it’s the reality we face right now. Reach out to friends you haven’t talked to in ages, take this opportunity to spend time with family, start the FB page (hint, hint: like my page!), read a book, take up a hobby or even paint the house! Time is yours to do with as you wish. If you ever complained about not having time, now you have more time, so don’t find other things to complain about. Look for what is good and be grateful for life.

Mistakes will happen.

I wanted to show you these images as the real reason why I wrote this article. This is the image of the article you just read about dyslexia without being corrected. Even now I have to use spellcheck, Grammarly and get work proof read by someone else. I’m not perfect. I make many mistakes. I always have and I always will; and so will you! Have the courage to make mistakes. Show the world these mistakes and learn from them. I will always need someone else to check my work before publishing it and I’m okay with that. It doesn’t make me less able. It means I accept myself. Learn to accept who you are and love yourself and others as they are.

Stay safe and wash your hands, not you hnads!