He was awarded the OBE last year for his work with Dyslexic children in this country. Henry works with Dyslexic children for one simple reason Henry himself is dyslexic and he wants to make a difference. You can imagine the trouble he had reading scripts. Now I never knew this. I don’t have TV and I don’t often read newspapers and even then I skip read, which is how come I didn’t know ‘why’ he got an OBE.
So when I picked him up on his spelling, on twitter, last year he had every right to be angry. Did he get angry? No he simply replied ‘This is true I cannot spell.’ And still I did not understand. Well I am, after all, a bit of a twat as you will all know.
The last thing I would want to do, would be to make fun of anyone who is dyslexic. My daughter Kim is dyslexic. She wasn’t diagnosed until she went to University (she got a 2.1).
I am very fortunate, my father taught me to read before I went to school. I could read everything, didn’t understand it all, but hey, I was 4. I have no knowledge of a time when I couldn’t read. The problem I had was no one would believe I could read which in my case was somewhat debilitating. I remember one teacher being amazed that not only could I read but I could read upside down, I was eight. During those periods when we all read out in class, I was always several pages in front of the other kids. When it came to my turn I had to find where we were in the book. It appeared I wasn’t paying attention or I was struggling to read, I found this so frustrating. Whilst I could liken it to the problems that other kids had being unable to read, for me it was going to get better. Eventually, as I grew older no one would question my reading ability. From starting High School it was just accepted that I could read. The trouble being of course that before that ever happened I had lost the will to learn and would never regain the enthusiasm I once had.
If you have dyslexia it must be so frustrating to be out of the loop. Teachers teach. Pupils learn. As pupils learn the teachers progress on to more difficult topics and the pupils learn more. Imagine how difficult it must be to learn if when you open a book all the words on the page jumble up or appear to slide off the edge. If particular words become fuzzy, or morph into something else, blocks of colours for instance, how would we read a book?
Talented people can help. Henry Winkler is talented. He writes books for dyslexic children. He goes into schools, both in the US and here and he helps dyslexic children to understand that they matter and this is the first step towards their understanding of the written world they live in.
There was a chap in our class at school who had a cleft palette, Barry. We kids didn’t know that this wasn’t related to his inability to read, (he had the worst repair job I have ever seen in my now 61 years).
People with dyslexia are their own worst enemy simply because they are so good at hiding their problem. I only knew two people with dyslexia when I was at school, Barry was one and my brother was the other. Of course we didn’t know of DYSLEXIA just that some people “were stupid” and could not read. Kids can be evil.
Henry Winkler over came his problem, mainly by hiding his problem but also by being extremely funny and I think it is very brave for him to say on his twitter profile:-
Actor, director, producer and author. AND I'm in the bottom 3% academically in America.
He may be in the bottom 3% academically but he is in the top 3% good guys.
Please, google Dyslexia. Find out about it, understand. then maybe you wont make an ass of yourself as I did.