MP praised for ‘beautiful’ description of living with acute dyslexia

An MP has been praised after he offered a “beautiful” description of what it is like to live with acute dyslexia.

Labour’s Peter Kyle shared the insight in a thread on Twitter, which he posted after receiving some “sneering and brutal” comments about his spelling on the social media site.

“I want to say something about living with acute dyslexia because Twitter can be a pretty unforgiving place for people with unseen challenges,” he tweeted.

“What’s it like? Imagine a car where the gearbox (my eyes) isn’t connected properly to the engine (brain).

“Sometimes words are just shapes… I can see the shape but it simply has no meaning.”

Mr Kyle said the last time he was assessed, when he was aged 30, his reading and comprehension age was estimated at eight years and three months.

The 49-year-old said he struggles with some words more than others, such as “loose” and “lose” which required him to keep a reminder on his desk, and was recently met with derision when he misspelled “border” – instead using “boarder”.

He added that “most people were forgiving, hundreds were not”, adding he had been called “thick” and “stupid” and told to “resign and let someone with a brain take over”.

“I’m very resilient, but it reminded me of a time when I wasn’t,” Mr Kyle said.

MP portraits
(Chris McAndrew/UK Parliament)

Despite “painful” experiences of reading Shakespeare the MP said most teachers were kind and he “had a lot of affection” for his school, but he left without any usable qualifications.

He said he returned when he was 25 to start again, adding: “Just imagine the humiliation of walking into that classroom.”

He was later accepted to Sussex University and left six years later with a degree and a doctorate.

Mr Kyle said he copes now by using spellcheck tools and working “harder than most”.

“So if you’re part of the spelling police there’s 649 other MPs out there, enjoy!” he concluded.

Mr Kyle subsequently received praise from colleagues on both sides of the political divide.

Health Secretary and Conservative MP Matt Hancock tweeted: “Massive respect to @peterkyle for speaking out so openly about his dyslexia.

“Important to remember: being (dyslexic) makes spelling difficult, but it’s not a weakness – it’s a strength.”

Just when you think you can’t love @peterkyle more he proves again he’s a man of courage and compassion – thank you for speaking about dyslexia Dr and breaking it down in this beautiful way. I know it will inspire and motivate many and everyone should read this thread…👉 https://t.co/bhB4KsKuNR

— stellacreasy (@stellacreasy) October 28, 2019

Labour MP Stella Creasy tweeted: “Just when you think you can’t love @peterkyle more he proves again he’s a man of courage and compassion..

“Thank you for speaking about dyslexia Dr and breaking it down in this beautiful way.”

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