Thank God for Spellcheck – Spell Check (Sometimes)

wordThe first time I thought I was the “smart kid in class” was when I won my one and only spelling bee in 6th grade.  “Smart kids” win spelling bees, don’t they?

Read this out loud:  Spelling is not a sign of intelligence.  Good spellers simply have strong auditory and visual processing skills and great memories.  (Hmmm, I already see the problem for individuals with dyslexia.)

Answer this question:  Who was considered the “smart kid” in your elementary class .  Of course – the one that won the spelling bee.

Individuals with dyslexia are poor spellers.  It isn’t that we can’t spell, it’s just that spelling requires both the auditory and visual processing areas of the brain to work together to connect sounds to letters. Then the information has to move to the motor areas of the brain  to put it on paper.  So many ways exist for those letters to be mixed up by the time they come out your hand.

If I am writing by hand, you may see this pattern.  I will right wright write you a letter.  I know how to spell “write” but it doesn’t always come out of my hand “right”.

A dyslexic with lots of auditory discrimination problems may not be able to hear and translate to spelling similar sounds.  Take experience/apparence  appearance (which I just spelled incorrectly).  Usually I have the issue with whether it is ence or ance.  Today I totally missed the other syllable. My visual memory (plus the red line under the word)  took over and helped me to correct it.

How about the words that you have to know because it’s English (but not really)? “Khaki” (Persian) – sound that out guys!  So you have to rely on visual memory to remember the word.

And our spelling is variable (because we have so much variability in our nervous systems).  On days a dyslexic’s allergies are acting up, blood sugar is off, emotions are interfering,  we may not even be able to spell simple words, or our own name, correctly.

Come on, guys!  Is spelling about INTELLIGENCE or processing strengths?

But people are constantly judged on their writing/spelling skills.  Writing is often the only picture/impression of a person that we have.  So it is important that dyslexics  develop compensatory skills, such as spellcheck, voice recordings, and support people to review written work, to create written products that allow them to communicate.

But for the rest of you with good auditory and visual processing/memory skills,  the good spellers.  The next time you get a written note that has a misspelled word or you see a quick post to Facebook, try to look beyond the spelling to the person and the meaning.  You may find out that the one that sat down first in the spelling bee, has a lot of other gifts to share.

Words I can’t spell (many times)


Nutritious:  Even spell check can’t help when you spell  nutritious  like this   “ nutrious”  – it took me 4 times and variations to get it right.  I knew it was wrong but I couldn’t adjust.