Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Bruce Jenner Dyslexia

Bruce Jenner was dyslexic as a child and remembers his early childhood education as being torturous. He was always afraid to go to school, feeling that he was inferior to other children doing better and often called lazy by his teachers.

It has to be noted that Bruce had a very low self-esteem. However this began to change when he was introduced to sports. He soon realized that dyslexia made him different and unique.

It has to mentioned that Bruce Jenner had to work really hard and persevere to overcome the obstacles in life. This special man who achieved greatness in sports, he quoted as saying: "I always felt that my greatest asset was not my physical ability, it was my mental ability."

Bruce Jenner is the host of Demystifying Dyslexia, a documentary that shows the challenges of living and learning with dyslexia.

It has to be said that it is common for school-age dyslexic children to fear school, teachers and reading. That is the reason why Bruce's behavior in the classroom , when he was a child , was mislabeled by teachers and as a result made him often daydream in class. 

Jenner described the school experience from Kindergarten through 6th grade as torturous. When glasses were suggested, Jenner's eyesight was tested at 20/20. Finally a school doctor recognized that he was dyslexic.

Today, dyslexia is a condition doctors, teachers, parents and the public at large are more aware of. However, Jenner cautions that dyslexia is still misunderstood. Most dyslexics are intelligent, creative people who have what he describes as a "short circuit" in processing reading, writing, spelling, and expression. Jenner describes a common misunderstanding that dyslexics see backwards, and says that is not so. 

The International Dyslexia Association describes what occurs in dyslexia:"Dyslexia results from a difference in the structure and function of the brain...problems in language processing distinguish them as a group. That means that the dyslexic has problems translating language to thought (as in listening or reading) or thought to language (as in writing or speaking)."

Bruce Jenner was undeniably lucky be cause the educational system finally recognized his dyslexia.

Bruce Jenner is active in dyslexia foundations and shares concern for children who grow up with dyslexia.

You may wonder:" What is Bruce Jenner's experience with dyslexia?" Check out below some extracts from Bruce Jenner's interview on "ABILITY Magazine" about his learning difficulty. 

" I was growing up in the 50's and 60's. Back then they didn't even know what dyslexia was. I probably went all the way to junior high school before a school doctor told me that I was "dyslexic." My reaction was, do you mean I'm going to die from this? Was I a bad boy? He said, no you'll be fine, go back to class. That was about the extent of it."

" It caused more problems as a young kid, because the simple process of perceiving words on a piece of paper was hard for me. Many people think dyslexic people see things backwards. They don't see things backwards " Bruce Jenner claimed.

" If you are dyslexic, your eyes work fine, your brain works fine, but there is a little short circuit in the wire that goes between the eye and the brain. Reading is not a fluid process. What happens is that you will start reading across a piece of paper and you can make out the first couple of words. The eye is working, the brain is working, but somewhere along the line that system breaks down some, so as you are reading along there will come a word that doesn't come up off the piece of paper and register like it should, but you are forced to read on. So you go to the next word, because your eye is continuing to move. When the time comes for your brain to process the information, the second word comes up faster than the first one. So when it's in your head, all of a sudden, it comes out backwards and you think of the word backwards. The truth is everybody does it from time to time. People dial telephone numbers and they get a wrong number only to find that they've read the last two digits backwards. Everybody does it, but dyslexics have this tendency to a higher degree. Dyslexia also varies in how severe it is. Some dyslexics make fewer mistakes. There are some dyslexics though that are at the point where they cannot even read words as they are driving down the highway. Dyslexia can get that bad. Mine isn't that bad, but it can be that bad. It can be a very big problem " Bruce revealed.

"The biggest problem with dyslexic kids is not the perceptual problem, it is their perception of themselves. That was my biggest problem. I thought everybody else was doing much better than I was. I'd look around to my peers, and everyone else could do this simple process of reading, but for me it wasn't working. If you are a kid, reading is really important stuff. My biggest fear was going to school. I was afraid the teacher was going to make me read in front of class, and I was going to look bad. I didn't only have a perceptual problem, I was also so nervous and so upset. The process just didn't work. I lost enthusiasm for school and I flunked second grade. The teachers said I was lazy. " Bruce quoted as saying.

"In the fifth grade I discovered something I could do better than the other kids. One day the teacher set up a bunch of chairs, and she had everyone run to the chairs and back while she timed us. I had the fastest time in the whole school! That was the first time I had ever really accomplished anything in school. Everyone was patting me on the back saying, good job Bruce! I liked the pat on the back. So all of a sudden sports became very intriguing to me. It became important especially later on when I was a little older. I would show up on the football field and challenge a guy who was a good student, good reader, and BOOM! I'd clean his clock! I said, boy, I like this, this is fun! I could do it better than most of the other kids in school. So for me sports became my little niche in life. "

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