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Peter Kyle: MP with dyslexia hits back at 'spelling police' Options
Posted: Monday, October 28, 2019 8:15:51 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 7/8/2010
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A BBC article which I thought was interesting.

The title of the thread is the article headline because I couldn't think of a good way to introduce this without adding my own bias, so I have left it to reflect someone else's bias. Whistle

I don't know the guy or his politics (apart from reading he is a Labour MP) but I think he has something very interesting to say - that last line.

Frankly I have always been of the opinion that it is damaging that people who enjoyed school are so much more likely to become teachers than people who hated it. They just don't understand how horrible it can be. And along the same broad lines - the more variety of people who become MPs the better - not just the oxbridge educated or the lawyers.

I didn't post this in politics because that is not the point here and I didn't want it go get bogged down with that baggage - it is about the wider culture of positivity and acceptance.

But most of all - kudos to the guy who must have felt a failure at school for having the gumption to believe he could get a degree.

Labour MP Peter Kyle has asked social media users who call him "thick" over his writing mistakes to go easy on him as he is "living with acute dyslexia".

In a candid Twitter thread, he said the platform could be an "unforgiving place for people with unseen challenges".

The MP for Hove and Portslade, who was elected in 2015, said he gets picked up on his tweets every day.

"Mostly it's kindly or humorous which is appreciated. Sometimes it's sneering or brutal," he tweeted.

Mr Kyle said the last time he was formally assessed he was told he had a reading and comprehension age of an eight-year-old.

He said he was recently given a hard time for spelling "border" as "boarder".

Most people were forgiving, he said, but some responded by saying "resign and let someone with a brain take over".

Most people were forgiving, hundreds were not: ‘thick’ / ‘can’t be an MP if you can’t even spell’ / ‘stupid’ / ‘resign and let someone with a brain take over’ etc.

Mr Kyle, 49, explained that his learning difficulty meant it sometimes felt as if his eyes were not properly connected to his brain.

"Sometimes words are just shapes," he wrote. "However much I try to engage my brain, the connection just isn't there. I can see the shape but it simply has no meaning. Frustrating, huh."

The MP described how his dyslexia caused him embarrassment at school, where he was forced to read Shakespeare aloud to the class "one painful word at a time".

I was put into ‘remedial’, a class with kids experiencing quite severe learning and behavioural difficulties.

I was sent to a quack doctor who make me wear a wooden contraption on my head every evening.

This was the ‘80’s not 1880’s!!

I knew none of this was right for me.

He left school without any qualifications but said he decided to return aged 25, adding "just imagine the humiliation of walking into that classroom".

'It's Dr Thick to you'
He went on to attend the University of Sussex, where he left with a degree and a PhD in community economic development.

He wrote: "Above all I know I must work harder than most to achieve the same: prepping, writing, corresponding, reading...everything!

"This isn't depressing, it's liberating. Once you know this you have the tools to succeed."

Mr Kyle dismissed suggestions that he should get members of his staff to check his tweets for mistakes, saying he would prefer they do "something valuable".

He also told the "spelling police" that there were 649 other MPs out there, adding: "If after all that you still want to hurl insults the very least you can do is get my name right... it's Dr Thick to you!"

His post has been widely shared, with fellow Labour MPs Harriet Harman and Yvette Cooper among those to praise him.

Ms Harman said "everyone needs to read this thread", while Ms Cooper said it was "really inspiring".

Health Secretary Matt Hancock tweeted: "Massive respect to Peter Kyle for speaking out so openly about his dyslexia."

Mr Kyle told the BBC that he had no idea his post would get such a big reaction but he was excited that it seemed to have connected with people.

He said he was hopeful that speaking about his experience would give someone who was starting out on a similar journey as him "some kind of optimism".

"Most people from my background don't end up as MPs, which is tragic," he said.

Posted: Monday, October 28, 2019 1:55:01 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/19/2011
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An inspiring story, and he is to be congratulated for his accomplishments.

I've heard others say that twitter, especially, has become a sewer because anonymity permits people to become vile and vicious, and that does seem to be so. And Facebook is often not far behind. I avoid both just for that reason.

Social media, rather than bringing us together, has instead driven us farther apart in too many cases.

It would be nice to see some forgiveness, consideration and respect returned to public discourse rather than the mob bullying so often practiced.
Posted: Monday, October 28, 2019 8:22:26 PM

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Joined: 7/20/2014
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Location: Grover Beach, California, United States
Dear Thar:

As someone who has dealt with a family member who has dyslexia I have a profound respect for the MP and what he has achieved. Who among us has not found spelling difficult at times??? I am a teacher and I teach English and sometimes I have problems spelling words. I am college educated (so what) mistakes happen.

Thank you for this post...thanks also for your diplomacy in it's posting. I have just recently had to deal with the new reality of social media and the future to come. I just faced off with 20 angry parents (these are the ones who took the time to show up in person to complain) out of 65 who complained on social media but wouldn't talk in person. They didn't like my teacher and demanded another teacher or their money back. I am pleased to say the teacher will stay and they will leave. I will not be cowed into doing something because of a group of "terrorist" parents who are not reasonable.

The new future of social media is to create a new form of domestic social terrorism, demanding but not willing to resolve problems or be reasonable. It's a shame. I have said it before and I will state it media is NOT your friend. Social media is creating a generation who won't grow-up and can't deal with adulthood. Don't take my word for it...generational research is proving it.

For anyone that is interested please read the book by Jean M. Twenge, PhD entitled "i-Gen - Why Today's Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood*" * and What That Means for the Rest of Us.

I did not make that title up...

Dr. Twenge nails it and even offers up solutions at the end. As a teacher, this new generation has issues unlike previous ones and their parents are a large part of the problem. We have "snowflakes" being raised by "helicopters" and heaven forbid if the poor kid has a learning issue, somehow it's the teacher's fault. Sorry, I will get off my soapbox...but thanks again for an article that I hope will raise people's awareness of the problem with social media and how it is so destructive.

Posted: Monday, October 28, 2019 11:40:42 PM

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Thanks Thar. ADHD is another disorder that is misunderstood.
Posted: Tuesday, October 29, 2019 4:32:07 AM

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Joined: 11/3/2014
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Location: Leuven, Flanders, Belgium
FounDit wrote:
I've heard others say that twitter, especially, has become a sewer because anonymity permits people to become vile and vicious, and that does seem to be so. And Facebook is often not far behind. I avoid both just for that reason.

I've used both and had mixed results.

I tend to find fewer vile and vicious posts on Facebook. I think because it's less anonymous than Twitter and because what you end up seeing strongly depends on who you're friends with. That being said, Facebook is really bad at doing something about offensive posts. I've reported harassment and discrimination when I found it, but to date they've never done anything about it, even when it was literally against their rules.

Twitter, on the other hand, has far more vile and vicious comments - or at least they're more visible to the masses - but I also found Twitter is much more responsive to people reporting tweets.

Social media is great at bringing people together. Sadly, it's also great at bringing people together against other people.
Posted: Tuesday, October 29, 2019 6:01:52 PM

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Joined: 7/20/2014
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Time has proven social media does more damage than good. It has not proven to be worth the cost in so many ways. The incidents of suicide among teenagers is higher today and one cause is social media. I think that fact alone should make us all think twice about this and consider if it's worth it. I for one have no desire to ever be on social media sites like Facebook, etc. I am grateful I live where I live because I am not pressured to succumb to it. While some might consider posting to a site like this a form of social media I just consider it something I can pick and choose to do, however, there are times when I have to ask myself why I do it. LOL....stepping off my soapbox now.
Posted: Wednesday, October 30, 2019 2:52:22 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 11/3/2014
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Location: Leuven, Flanders, Belgium
While I agree there are serious downsides to social media, I won't go as far as making generalized statements that they do more harm than good (at least not until I see some studies on the subject). On Twitter, I have seen many people find a home in their online communities, feel supported, heard and accepted. I have seen people generously give to crowdfunding projects to get someone a wheelchair or save them from eviction. I've seen people thrive because their voices are being heard, giving them the strength to live and fight.

Social media are a powerful tool, which make them no different from other inventions over the centuries. It's all about learning the best ways of negating or managing the downsides.
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