Rummanah Aasi
  I'm very happy to be part of the Counting to D blog tour! Today I have author Kate Scott discussing the stigma of learning disabilities and how we can change our preconceived notions. Be sure to check back tomorrow for my review of Counting to D. 

Enjoying the View from Holland by By Kate Scott

  The parent of a disabled child once explained her situation like planning for a trip. For nine months, she read all the guidebooks, studied the language, and made plans for the trip of a lifetime. She was headed to Italy, and it was going to be great. Italy was a wonderful place, and she was excited. Finally, after all her preparation, she arrived, instead, in Holland.
    There is nothing wrong with Holland. It’s also a great place. No worse than Italy, just different. But none of the guidebooks she read in preparation were of any help, so she had to reassess her situation. She had to learn a new language. It was overwhelming and a bit scary at first, but she soon fell in love with Holland and couldn’t imagine why she’d ever dreamed of traveling to Italy.
    I think this is what most parents of disabled children experience. My own mother, the parent of two dyslexic children, recounted this story a few times when I was a child. I’ve never been to Italy, and I have a hard time understanding why so many people keep dissing the Dutch.
   In addition to writing a book with a dyslexic main character, I am also dyslexic myself. Because dyslexia is a genetic condition, I have more dyslexic than non-dyslexic relatives. I’ve heard plenty of negative statistics that make dyslexia sound like a dismal condition. But every single dyslexic I know (and there are many) is well educated and highly successful. None of them would consider themselves to be disabled at all. Different, sure, but sometimes, different is good.
   Samantha Wilson, the main character in my YA novel, Counting to D, is a very bright dyslexic teenager. Experience has taught her that it is often far easier to maneuver life without reading than it is to actually read. Samantha has lots of coping skills that enable her to not only survive, but excel. This concept surprises many non-dyslexic people, but it’s obvious to every dyslexic I’ve ever met.
   There are some things that are very difficult for most dyslexics. For example, I endured almost 500 hours of private tutoring (paid for by my parents, not the public school system) in order to achieve a second grade reading level. My spelling is still atrocious, and I have no expectation of it ever improving. If you wanted to, you could call me disabled.
   Thankfully, I also have a very good memory. I am naturally gifted in math and science. I’m highly creative and have a very active imagination. I have excellent spatial awareness and pattern recognition abilities. I’m a licensed engineer, a small business owner, and a published author. In short, I’m your typical, everyday, run-of-the mill dyslexic.
 The term “thinking outside the box” is a clich√© used to describe unique thinking. Every advancement in human history, every scientific discovery, every artistic masterpiece, every new idea has come from an individual looking at the world in a new way—“thinking outside the box.” Dyslexics are born outside the box. Personally, I’ve never figured out how to get inside the darn thing, nor do I want to.
   I’m sure Italy is a wonderful place. Lots of people love it there. But me, I’m happy here in Holland. And from what I can tell, being able to spell is totally overrated.

Thanks so much for stopping by, Kate. Curious to know more about Counting to D? Check out the book description below:

The kids at Sam’s school never knew if they should make fun of her for being too smart or too dumb. That’s what it means to be dyslexic, smart, and illiterate. Sam is sick of it. So when her mom gets a job in a faraway city, Sam decides not to tell anyone about her little illiteracy problem. Without her paradox of a reputation, she falls in with a new group of highly competitive friends who call themselves the Brain Trust. When she meets Nate, her charming valedictorian lab partner, she declares her new reality perfect. But in order to keep it that way, she has to keep her learning disability a secret. The books are stacked against her and so are the lies. Sam’s got to get the grades, get the guy, and get it straight—without being able to read.
5 Responses
  1. As a special education teacher, I hate the term 'disability'. People that struggle with learning specific things have a learning DIFFERENCE. They can learn, but they just do it differently.

    I'm excited to pick up Ms. Scott's book; I have a couple students presently that I suspect are dyslexic. Well, I teach them as though they're dyslexic and they're becoming more successful readers. I think some of my students would appreciate reading about a dyslexic character, her struggles and successes.

  2. Oh I like the sound of this and I agree with what is written here. I do have some dyslexia but it doesn't affect my reading. It does in other areas of my life. So, I can still identify with the author and I love that she tackled this "problem" in her book. Great post!

  3. Hmm, I think this may be the first book I have encountered with the MC having dyslexia. Honestly, when I saw disabled, I was expecting something else. I guess dyslexia has become such a common word but still misunderstood. It's hard for me to grasp what it's like being dyslexic so I'd love to read this novel and find out what life is like for the MC.

  4. Aylee Says:

    I've never thought people with dyslexia were disabled either. Having dyslexia definitely doesn't mean that you're unintelligent and I'm glad this author shows that!

  5. Anonymous Says:

    What a fascinating and eye-opening guest post! It's so wonderful to hear how accomplished Kate has been despite struggling with dyslexia. It's definitely an important distinction - disabled vs. different. I love this ->"Dyslexics are born outside the box. Personally, I’ve never figured out how to get inside the darn thing, nor do I want to." Thank you for sharing this thoughtful piece!

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