Author Archives: Waynopo - Page 2

The Real Me: A look at Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, and Learning Disabilities


SUBJECT: The Real Me – A Composite Picture

FROM: The Dyslexic Student in your Class (assisted by Jo Polk, Language Science Teacher)

I just wanted to write you a note to say thanks for all the time and trouble you put in working with me at school every day. Also, there are a lot of things I would like for your to know about me, but trying to put my thoughts down on paper is the hardest thing I do, so my Language Science teacher said she would help me try to tell you what I’m really like.

I know you are interested in what I’m really like because you had me fill out that questionnaire about what I liked best. Well, I told you the food I liked best was hot dogs, but I hate hot dogs! What I really like is spaghetti, but I couldn’t spell that. I also told you my favorite subject is math, but I had to put that down, because I couldn’t spell “science.” So I never can say what I really mean when I’m writing because I can’t spell what I want to say. My teacher says that some studies show that there is a relation between violence and an inability to say what you want to say, either because of a poor vocabulary or because the words are just “tied up” inside of you and won’t come out no matter how hard you try. Sometimes I do just feel like I’m going to explode!

I know that I must be a puzzle in class sometimes because, even though I look like the other kids and act like them, most of the time, I just can’t seem to do my work as well as they do. Maybe you just think I’m kind of weird and that’s why I wanted to try to tell you what it feels like to be me.

This is kind of what it feels like: Do you remember what it felt like when you had that earache and had to have drops and a piece of cotton in your ear? Or when you had your eyes dilated and words looked blurred, and you couldn’t read very well? Or when you had a broken finger or arm and had to do everything with the “wrong” hand? Or how frustrated you feel when you can’t bring up the word you want? Or you can’t remember someone’s name? Or you drink too much of what you want? Or you drink too much coffee and have a case of coffee nerves, and you feel all jittery and uncomfortable inside – and no one else really knows it?

Then suppose you’re struggling with all these things – and the principal walks in to appraise you – and stays six hours! (A whole school day!) (Mom said I should put that in to help you see how I feel, because she said even a TEACHER gets blurry eyed and jittery when she’s getting appraised – whatever that is!) If you can imagine all these things then maybe you feel something of the way I feel at the end of a school day. So sometimes I go home and blow up at Mom and Dad – and they ground me!

I can do some things pretty well though. For instance, I’m a fairly good math student, but words are almost meaningless to me. (That’s what dyslexia is, you know – “bad words.”) So when you give me vocabulary terms to learn in math – they might as well be Japanese! Same way with computer terms or word problems. You see a lot of times I can solve math problems in my head, but when I have to write them down, I make a lot of mistakes – especially if they involve subtraction or multiplication facts.

And I know you must wonder why I almost never get everything copied down from the board. Well, I’m what the doctor calls dysgraphic, which means that my hand just won’t always do what my brain tells it to, so my writing is cramped and out of line and has poor spacing. Besides that, I’m left handed, and I just never did learn to hold my pencil correctly.
Because it’s so hard for me to copy from the board I very
often don’t get home with a complete vocabulary list or notes to study, so I make a bad grade on my test because I didn’t have all the information to study.

Of course copying from the board is usually not as hard as copying form a transparency. Besides the fact that the lights bother me, the letters sometimes blur and seem to move, so by the time I relocate a word that I was working on, the transparency has been moved, and I’m completely lost. That’s usually when I kick Bobby to make him mess up too. And if you’re talking while I’m trying to copy – forget it! I don’t get the notes copied and I also miss what you’re saying!

Just think how confusing it is to try to work with these handicaps in a room with twenty-five or thirty other people moving about and making noise. I also have to try to resist what my teacher calls the “visual static” of highly coloured bulletin boards maps, pictures, charts, posters, etc. I like these – they’re pretty! But the “gatekeeper” in my brain lets in too much of this stimulation and it boggles my mind.

My teacher says all of this stuff makes me have an “output deficiency.” She says that means something is different about the integration process – that after sensory information is received by my brain, something different happens in the neuronal, electrical and/or chemical processes somewhere in my central nervous system. This different neurological organization often keeps me from responding properly to stimuli. (She’s always talking weird like that! We just try to overlook her.)

But some of these things that are different about me make me really good at things like art and music and drama. And everybody in my house brings me things when they need to be fixed. I’m a great swimmer and golfer. And I’m learning photography as a hobby, and I can usually think of a solution to problems that’s different from what everyone else comes up with – and I fell good about that. I’m inquisitive too, and I want to know how everything works.

But yeah, I know I’m in trouble a lot. You’re probably thinking about the bus conduct report I got last week. But how was I to know when the bus driver said, “Hit the seat!” that she meant for me to sit down. Instead, I whacked the seat with my lunch kit and tore the upholstery and she got mad! Why don’t adults say what they mean?

Another thing about me is, what I’d really like to do is to play sports, but it seems like I’m always doing something wrong in football practice. When the coach calls us into the muddle (seems like that to me!), I try to concentrate but my auditory mis-perception problem gets in the way, and I hear what he says, but I just don’t understand what he means. My dad says too, that I can remember some things like an elephant, but that my short term memory is not so good, so I forget the plays. Then when I get on the field and run right instead of left, well.

But I always have too much homework to play football anyway, so I thought I would try band, and I could practice at night after I got my homework done. Boy, I’ve got my problems there too, though. The director tells me I must look at him and if I do, I lose my place on the music, and all the lines and spaces and notes run together and I’m just lost. And the rhythm! I know I couldn’t hear accent in words, but I didn’t know that I would also have trouble with the strong and weak beats in music!

Well it may not matter much, because I don’t want to be a football star of a musician when I grow up, anyway. I want to be a veterinarian – or maybe a surgeon like my mother’s brother. Maybe I can make it, because Mom said my uncle couldn’t have made it through medical school without a reader. I told Mom I couldn’t believe they have basal readers even in medical school.! (Those things will haunt me all my life, I guess!) She said that wasn’t what she meant -just like the bus driver!

Well anyway, my parents say it was the luckiest day of our lives when we moved to this school and I got put in classes with teachers who try to understand and work with me. They said kids like me used to drop out of school – but, then those kids didn’t have teachers like you!

I’ve got to get out of here. It’s 5:30 already and dinner’s at 6:00. Yikes! That’s not 5:30 – it’s 6:25! Oh, no. I’m late again! Mom says I have NO sense of time!

Well thanks again. See you in class tomorrow. I’ll be the one rummaging through my backpack trying to find my pencil and paper. So now for long!

Jo Polk 10/1/87

Copyright (c) Jo Polk – All rights reserved.

Regarding Dysgraphia: (personal note)

My whole learning process is oriented toward hearing, not seeing. It was how I coped with this disability. I never even knew I had it. I just knew, it was hard to learn subjects like math, which is all visual. I had to tape lectures in college and listen to them again. Trying for copious notes just didn’t work. It is probably why my eye/hand co-ordination is so poor, and why I do very poorly at video games. I grew up feeling like I was a clumsy”“klutz” and never knew why. I was never good at sports,never good at art, drawing, or so on. Cursive writing is impossible for me. It’s why I print, and use block letters, to this very day. Stroke by stroke, I form each letter.

I discovered this, when I was doing volunteer work at the Orton Dyslexia Society, in the San Fernando Valley. (They have an excellent chapter in San Diego!) I wanted to better understand some of the other kids I meet, who have learning disabilities, as well as myself.

Dysgraphia, like Dyslexia, is covered under the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA). If I ever return to school, I will be provided with a note taker, at no cost. Early diagnosis, is important. I went most of my life, thinking that I was ”“different!” I was! But now, I know why. Note that the official diagnosis (for me) was made by a Psychiatrist.

There is solace in numbers. CS Lewis said this: ”“Perhaps the most liberating words ever spoken in any language are these:You too? I thought I was the only one!”

And so it goes –

Wayno Guerrini
September 10, 2000

I was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, in August, 2008.

This is especially poignant:


Cases of dysgraphia in adults generally occur after some neurological trauma. Dysgraphia may also be diagnosed in a person with Tourette syndrome, ADHD or an autism spectrum disorder such as Asperger syndrome.

This explains a lot of my childhood struggles.

Dust vs Dirt

Dust vs Dirt

Probably most of us remember the passage in Gen 2:7 about God creating man from dust, and from Gen 3:19, that we will return to dust. But…what about in between? The parable of the sower comes to mind from Luke.

Dust is worthless. You can’t grow anything in it. It’s dirty. Messy. Filthy. Sterile. Shaken off feet. (Matt 10:14) Think: Dust Bowl!

But dirt contains all the things necessary for growth. (See The parable of the sower in Luke 8:11-15). It is fertile and rich. You can plant things in dirt, and they will flourish and grow 10 or even 100 fold.

Where are you today? We’re big guys now, and we still play in the dirt 🙂 . But are you the dust in someone’s eye, or are you the rich bountiful soil that grows food to sustain life? Dust is worthless. But dirt has real lasting value. Adjust your agenda. Make the time for someone else. Build a bridge into someone’s life. It can be virtually anything: off roading, movies, music, tv, sports. Communicate the character of Christ. The simple ABC’s of human friendship.

Be the dirt in someone’s life, and grow something wonderful.


We try….

This is my first posting for “thot” (thought) for the day.

These will be taken from various things I come across.  Either on the internet, reading, or from a sermon.  Something that is important to me.

Many ideas will probably come from one of 3 sources:

1.  My main daily devotional:  The 365 Day Devotional Commentary, by Larry O. Richards.

2.  Our Daily Bread

3.  Our Daily Journey

This first entry is from the 365 Day Daily devo for October 5:

God doesn’t demand that we be perfect as we seek to please Him. He only asks that we love Him — and that we try. — Larry O. Richards

God uses failure, sickness, breakdown, sin, personal tragedy, and sorrow to reduce His people to usefulness. Unless the servant of God learns to depend utterly on God and to forsake self-dependence of any kind, he or she remains too strong to be of much value. — Robert C. Girard

Maybe it’s NOT the end

Maybe it’s NOT the end

I was lamenting to my friend Jeff earlier today, how I feel so un-accomplished. So alone. So isolated. I stand on the precipice of 60 in less then a year. As I look back, there seemingly is nothing of importance that I have accomplished in my life. Sure I have had my successes and failures like everyone.

But being disabled/retired is not what I thought it would be. Many hours spent toiling at nothing of significance. Finding creative outlets from the boredom and tedium of the day. Autism makes it especially difficult for me, to relate to other people. I crave friendship and fellowship, but it seems to come less often. Gone are the halcyon days of social banter and interaction with fellow co-workers. Instead, I find myself talking to my cats. Companion animals. They are the only ones in this stark corner of the universe it seems, that fully understand me, and my social awkwardness.

Jeff took the time to say: “Wait a minute? You really think the best part of your ministry is in the past? Let me tell you….” and he proceeded to explain how many of the greats in the Bible, did not start their ministry until very late in life.

Abraham was 100 years old, when he had has promised son, Isaac. (Gen 21:5). Moses sat idle for 40 years (Acts 7:23 and Acts 7:30) before God called him to lead the nation of Israel out of the bondage of Egypt. He was 80. The Apostle Paul was about 50 when he was called. John wrote The Book of Revelation near the end of his life, about 92. Jesus didn’t start his ministry until he was 30 years old.

It seems God has to train us, and strip us of self pride before we are ready to be used. Jeff carefully reminded me, how my life has impacted his. “I look to you, for guidance, wisdom, and understanding. I can not find that in someone that hasn’t experienced life.”

I had to understand that God may have me on the sidelines at the moment, but He is working in me something far greater then my mind can fully conceive. God will still use me, even if I am in failing health. I just have to be available.

“Therefore we do NOT lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed, day by day.” (2 Cor 4:16 NIV)



Tucson says Yes to Civility

Amidst a backdrop of monsoon weather today in Tucson, it would seem that is NOT the only thing storming in the Old Pueblo.

A handful of protesters gathered at the busy intersection of Campbell and Speedway, (near the University of Arizona’s University Medical Centre) to protest the Pima County Republican Party’s decision to raffle a Glock handgun, similar to what accused Tucson Shooter Jared Loughner used on January 8, 2011. Loughner’s is accused of killing 6 people and injuring 13 others that day, including 8th CD, U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D).

Tucson Ward 6 City Councilman Steve Kozachik (R)

A surprise to many, was Ward 6 Tucson Councilman Steve Kozachik (R). Kozachik, himself a Republican, came out in support of the rally. He is the other side of the Republican party that does NOT agree with the raffle.

Protester Susan Thorpe

I interviewed Susan Thorpe, one of the protesters and she had this to say: “Raffling off a Glock as a fund raiser? I mean what an outrageous act to do. Why would you raffle off a Glock? Why would you choose to promote violence?” Calls to the Republican Party Headquarters in Tucson, remain un-answered.

Dave Croteu (manager) and Mary De Champ, Tucson Green Party Mayoral Candidate

Green Party Tucson Mayoral Candidate Mary De Camp was also present at today’s rally and had this to say: “I think the Green Party should auction off a gun safe. I respect the right of other people to bear arms, though I am a pacifist myself….we do have non-violence as one of our 10 key values.”

It would seem that no one in the Pima County Republican Party wants to own this. There is much conjecture and speculation, why this was done. Councilman Kozachik said: “Why not raffle off an ipad?” The already splintered Republican party, heads into the Novemeber elections, in just a few short weeks.

Remembering 9/11

Flag Half Staff

Flag Half StaffRemembering 9/11

Charles Dickens in A Tale of Two Cities sad it best. It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. This is a journey each of us has undertaken. No one is immune from the influences of that fateful day: September 11, 2001. The day our world changed.

What unfolded is etched indelibly in the mind. The horror of seeing planes crash into the World Trade Centre Buildings in New York not once but twice, is a scene unlikely to be forgotten. It was indeed: The worst of times. As we saw the towers topple, we could not help but ask: why? Today, ten years later, we know the answers to those questions. The actions taken that day were born of hatred, fear, mis-trust and ignorance.

It precipitated a divisive debate on the agenda of the United States on the arena of world politics. Was the goal to remove the resolve in America for its love of freedom of thought and expression? Or was it to slowly drain this nation of its focus and resources by fighting a war on Terrorism? One ponders these things, if only briefly.

Today — we remember the worst disaster to transpire on American soil. We remember the courageous and heroic actions of United Airlines flight 93. Forty passengers determined NOT to let the terrorists taste victory. Instead they offered their lives as a living sacrifice, so that an untold number, would live. It was not the best of times.

As we honour the victims of September 11, 2001, we pause to reflect the changes forced upon all. Internally, and externally.

Travel is no longer a casual event. Security checks have replaced waiting areas. Background checks now replace trust. Caution replaced a laissez-faire attitude.

Two things that did not change:

1. Our borders are no more secure today, then they were a decade ago.

2. First responders still can not communicate efficiently with each other. Fire departments may not be able to talk to police departments directly. Police may not have the ability to directly communicate with hospitals. Radio Amateurs voluntarily provide vital communication links, because the U.S. Government flagrantly continues to ignore this need.

What lessons have been learned from September 11, 2001?

“Perhaps the greatest horror of war is the systematic transformation of our young men, into heroes.”
“The Outer Limits” — “The Light Brigade”

Wayno Guerrini

And What of Marriage?

And What of Marriage

While I can not say I know what makes a marriage successful, I do know what does NOT make a marriage successful.

These 3 elements were missing from my marriage.  I call them, the 3 c’s:

1.  Communication.  We all have shortcomings and weaknesses.  Honest and open DAILY communication with your partner, is paramount, for a marriage that will last a lifetime.  Horizontal.  Between two people.  No holds barred.  Brutal honesty and truth.  As the Bible says:  “Never let the sun set on an argument.” (Eph 4:26)

But there must also has to be a vertical element:  Honest and open DAILY communication with God.

2.  Commitment.  Marriage is more about commitment, then love.  Is love important?  Certainly.  But knowing that this person is committed to me no matter what, means they will not leave.  This is not a license to abuse or be bossy.  It’s a license to honour each other’s thoughts and ideas, even if you disagree.

3.  Character.  What is Character?  I like the dictionary definition:  “It is the complex of mental and ethical traits making a person.”  The fruits of the spirit.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control.  Against such things, there is no law.”  (Galatians 25:22-23 NIV)

A three legged stool if you please.  Remove any one of these elements, and marriage is pre-destined to failure.