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Eileen Simpson in her memoir, Reversals: A personal Account of Victory Over Dyslexia provides a first-hand account of what it’s like to grow up dyslectic.
Born in 1918, motherless at two, fatherless at six, and brought up at a time when many with learning disabilities were branded mentally retarded, Simpson’s life was tough.
Simpson, her teachers, and her family were frequently exasperated by her inability to read, her gibberish in letters and homework assignments, and her difficulties in walking from home to nearby stores without getting lost.
She got by in school by being quiet and dutiful; copying off the exams and papers written by others; and listening closely to lectures as her class notes were just as hard for her to decipher as they were for others.
Finally, at twenty-two, her future husband, poet John Berryman recognized her disorder as dyslexia.
With this identification, she found she was not alone, many people, including famous writers such as W.B. Yeats and Lewis Carroll suffered from it. This knowledge also helped to spur her on to bigger dreams.
Within her lifetime, she earned a master’s degree in psychology from New York University and became a psychotherapist as well as a writer. Besides Reversals, her books include: Orphans: Real and Imaginary; Poets in Their Youth: A Memoir; and Late Love: A Celebration of Marriage After Fifty.
Simpson states in Reversals (published in 1979 and republished in 1991) that one out of ten people have dyslexia, it is found more commonly in males than females, and runs in families.
For an interesting overview of Simpson’s life, click here.
For a list of famous people with dyslexia and related learning challenges, click here.
For more information on learning disabilities, click here.
Kathryn is no stranger to struggling with learning disabilities. She was diagnosed with them as a child and with training, self-discipline, and lots of hard work she ended up going to the best schools in the world and becoming a published writer. Her most recent book is Rumble Tumble Joy: A Journey for Healing, Inspiration, and Wholeness. Find out more at: www.kathrynVwhite.com