Conquering the Vowels

August 27, 2008 · Filed Under Dyslexia, Go Play in the Sand, John Tipping, Phil Beadle · Comment 

A E I O U. You can throw them at me in any order and I can now SOUND THEM! Why is after 42 years I can now do it. I have practised and practised and they nowmake sense. You see, before they were just shapes. I knew what they were called – I could say their names – but I couldn’t sound them out. Now I can! Dare I believe that this is the start of a miracle? I have just had the one lesson because my teacher has been on holiday but bless her, she kept emailing us on her Blackberry to make sure I was OK. She knows how difficult it is to concentrate on something that seems so simple to everyone else but can seem like a mountain to climb to someone who is dyslexic.

I has been an interesting week. I have been busy doing all sorts of things. One minute I am at a networking meeting promoting my book (I sold 18 in one day on Friday!). It is weird because as I pass the book over I look at that person and think, ‘ooops, they are about to find out about some of my most inner thoughts and feelings’. But so what! What is the point of writing your life story but only putting in half of the story. There may well be a few people who are a but upset by things I have written and I am sorry about that, but it forms part of my life and I am just writing about my own feelings. If they want to, they can write a book about their feelings too – no one is stopping them!

So, one minute I am in my suit at business meetings and then the next I am in my U V Shield T shirt

The U V Shield Teamputting up Security Film on some windows and then I am digging a hole putting in road signs. Never a dull moment! Here is a picture of me and Sam, my Step-son who comes out to work with me. He is only 15 but has loads of practical sense so is a great asset. We have a good laugh when we are out working. He’ll be back at school soon so I will be back on my own again.

This week I am swapping between putting up window film and helping my mate Colin put in my Mum’s bathroom. Challenging! I would never make a plumber that’s for sure.
Last Wednesday we went up to London to meet Phil Beadle for dinner and a catch up. It was a really nice evening. Phil is really interested to see how I get on with my reading. He is convinced that I can do it as long as I find the ‘key’. He is helping us to promote the book. He and Jill did a lot of talking and I did a lot of listening. The thing with a dyslexic brain is that it takes longer to process information, so once you have worked out what has been said and then thought of something sensible to say, the conversation has moved on to another topic, especially if you are trying to keep up with Jill and Phil!! That’s why everybody thinks that I make random comments – I am always a couple of topics behind! I don’t mind. I think it makes me ‘mysterious’!

Learning to Read!

August 16, 2008 · Filed Under Can't Read Can't Write, Dyslexia, Go Play in the Sand, Phil Beadle · Comment 

Ruth Miskin Read and Write programmeI am having reading lessons! I am 42 and am having reading and writing lessons for the first time in my life that actually make sense. I learned more about how letters sound in 2 hours yesterday than I have learnt in my whole life.

A lady has taken on the challenge and is convinced that she will be able to have me reading and writing in just weeks. Wow! Now that is a challenge. Maybe I will then be able to write my own blog instead of asking Jill to do it for me.

We are using the Ruth Miskin programme of books and letter cards. I have homework to do (just 15mins a day) for the next 2 weeks until my next lesson. It is designed for children but I don’t mind that – not if it works! I just can’t imagine what it must be like to be able to just glance at words and immediately know what they mean without having to really think about it. I am very excited about it and really feel this could be what I have been looking for. Phil Beadle got through to some of the people on the Can’t Read, Can’t Write programme, but not me. Jim is also having help so we will see who gets to read first! Phil is pleased that I am having some help. He wants to see me succeed. So do I.

It is all about how the sound is made with your mouth. It is really difficult to explain but it is making sense with me. I then have to pass what I have learned on to someone else. It is supposed to be a child but I would like to help someone like me – a big rough guy – to be able to read and write. How mad would that be – me teach someone else!!

Meanwhile, back to the world of pounds, shillings and pence, I have to take an exam on Monday called CSCS. It is specific to the contstruction industry and I have to have it to be able to go and work on site. It is all about Health and Safety. They understand dyslexia in the contruction industry as a lot of workers struggle with the written word which is why they choose the industry in the first place. So, they have sent me a CD Rom with lots of sample questions on with voice over so I can sit in front of the computer and listen to the questions, then listen to the four choices of answers and then choose what I think is the right one. I am taking the Operatives and the Supervisors one (which is quite a bit harder). So, I will let you know how I get on.

We are off to see Mamma Mia tonight, AGAIN (how sad am I?). We loved it so much. Full of sunshine and music – great ‘feel good’ film. If you haven’t seen it yet I really suggest you do.

My book, ‘Go Play in the Sand, John’ is selling really well. We are constantly working on the PR to get the word out there. It is about dyslexia of course as that is such a large part of my life, but it is also about how changing your attitude can change your life – almost with the flick of a switch – it happened to me so it can happen to anyone!

Last Episode – Can’t Read, Can’t Write Channel 4

Did you see me on the tele? If not you can see it on the Channel 4 website. I had no idea how they were going to portray me and what Phil was going to say but I think they did a pretty fair job. When you agree to go on these programmes you never really know how the final programme will be edited, but I was happy with what came out. Phil is a decent bloke and he realised that he wouldn’t be able to help me long term. My dyslexia is too acute really but he is convinced that I would be able to read if I had consistent one to one tuition – something which doesn’t really fit into my life.Miffed Mowser as seen on Channel 4\'s Can\'t Read, Can\'t Write

Not only that, but I don’t think people realise the sheer amount of mental effort that I have to put in to sound out even the most simple of sounds. My phonetic ability is just so poor. I concentrate so hard that I sweat and my head literally starts to throb. On the programme I am not sure that really came across.

I also felt that it showed me in a bit of a negative light that I didn’t try very hard (hence I got a B!!), but I can tell you, I was giving it everything I had – I wanted so much to learn to read just like Teresa and the others. Poor old Jim, my mate, felt the same.

One thing – did you see the bit with me looking out on the garden in a whistful manner? DID YOU SEE MY CAT? Mowser was sitting on the table sporting a rather nifty collar and looking pretty miffed about the whole thing.

In case you missed it, here she is!

Anyway, now that is over with I can concentrate on all the good things in my life which I can be grateful for – and I have many. My book is selling really well since being published on Monday. I really hope it inspires people to make the most of every day and go for their goals and dreams. I am. Many people concentrate on what they haven’t got, instead of what they have got. I was like that. I was so bitter that I couldn’t read and write. I am not like that anymore. I have Jill to help with my reading and writing as well as my software so I just adapt and get round things. It is just a different way of thinking. Winston Churchill was dyslexic. He wrote loads of books – he just dictated them to his version of Jill! Easy when you think that way.

I have found out recently that everything in our lives happens because of the way we think. I now make sure I only have positive goal related thoughts and I act the same way and guess what – I am drawing to me all things that are good. Want to know what I am talking about? Then treat yourself to a book called The Secret. Then you will find out. I bought the CD set – only £9.99. It changed my whole way of thinking and I now truly believe that nothing is beyond my capabilities (although becoming a ballerina may be!!).

My book explains how I came to this realisation. Amazing!

Go Play in the Sand, John

August 1, 2008 · Filed Under Go Play in the Sand, Kavanagh Tipping Publishing · 1 Comment 

Great excitement. We have published my book ‘Go Play in the Sand, John’. It is published by Kavanagh Tipping Publishing. Frances Kavanagh ghost wrote my book for me and she is in partnership with Jill. It is going to be ready on Monday and we have already had loads of orders.

On Wednesday I did some filming for BBC South East Today. They did a really nice news piece on the 6.30 news. You can see it here

In the book I just talk about my life. The first part is called The Pit. Things were a bit grim at times. I remember having to sit in front of my 11 plus paper not being able to read the questions let alone answer them. How strange that they expected kids like me to do that! The second part of the book is called The Awakening which happened about 5 years ago when a simple change of attitude changed my life. I suddenly started to see all the things I had, instead of feeling bitter about what I didn’t have. From then on, I just started putting things in place to replace the reading and writing which I couldn’t do.

Technology has helped hugely and I would like to pass on my thanks to Shirley Meakins, my mate who helped me to get Access to Work to provide me with not only the equipment but also the training I needed. I don’t think I thanked her in the book which was bad of me, but without her, I wouldn’t have got as far as I have.

Monday is the last one in the series Can’t Read, Can’t Write and I am IN IT! It is official becasue it says on the Channel 4 website …’this week we meet John…’ That’s me. I bet I am going to make a right spanner of myself. Never mind.