Category Archives: dyslexia

Going Retro

This week I’ve been immersed in activities that I thought were well and truly relics of my past life. What, you ask, has prompted this backward step?My almost nephew will be turning five in a month, and thinking about this caused me to have a crisis at the passage of time.

Alexander has now overtaken me in many areas, and I witness regular, effortless, neurological development that many times alternately astounds me to tears of joy. For over a year he has been able to do jigsaws with over 100 pieces which I, with my visual issues could not do at his age, or even now. I am having a good day if I cope with something that says age 3 plus, though I never saw the point of putting the thing together in the first place. For me, it was a torturous activity far too resemblant of physio or occupational therapy to make it it to a pleasurable pastime.

I like to get useful, mostly educational type gifts. When at Christmas, Alexander sat next to me reading what I think was the ladybird book of the Christmas story, I looked on in wonder as he read aloud the entire book complete with the back cover that said it was suitable for toddlers. I had to point out that it wasn’t referring to the person doing the reading. Just as I marvelled at how easily he learned to walk, I was floored by the ease and fluidity of his reading and was overcome with utter relief for him that he will be able to experience other worlds, learn facts and express more than I would have been able to do at the same age. I like to share the books of my childhood with him, in turn recapturing my lost youth, or perhaps more accurately my inner child.
It was to this end that on Sunday I found myself purchasing an audio book of ‘A Bear Called Paddington’, by Michael Bond. For the uninitiated Paddington is a small bear from ‘Darkest Peru’. He is sent to England by his aunt Lucy after she moves to a residential home for retired bears. He somehow finds himself on a railway station platform, is found by the Brown family wearing a label saying, ‘Please look after this bear’ and in the logic and kindness that seems only to exist in children’s stories, they do just that. No questions asked.

Paddington has a very literal thought process, gets into scrapes and has adventures. He also seems to have a negligible ability to spell, which endears him further to me. Sometimes I think he is me in bear form, he certainly seems to have as many obscure adventures.

I swore that, after my previous experience with emergency call buttons, hell would freeze over before I had one again. Well, it’s chilly outside and after having found myself stuck on a bedroom floor, discovering why dogs don’t like laminate, as you cannot get a purchase on it, I have had to relent.

I was most impressed that the Social Worker managed to get this sorted out within a week and a half, even taking into account Christmas break. I had a phone call telling me that an installation operative would be calling to fit me with the necessary kit. He came at the appointed time and began demonstrating the equipment. When installing the box he had to move my ornamental Bilbo Baggins, made for me by my dad’s artist friend. In this I discovered a kindred spirit and while he was working we had a lovely conversation about Tolkien.

When he had finished he got me to have a test run, I pressed the pendant button and a reassuring, automated voice told me not to worry, that I would be connected shortly. The test run went well and the responders on the end of the phone seemed to really be aware of the need for their service. A far cry from my last experience, about 10 years ago.

It is heartening to discover that even in a climate of cutbacks and closures of services, positive progress has been made. I now feel much safer, as a result this has made me more independent. Strangely, it has also made me feel more youthful as I know I will be able to sort out a problem without relying on family support. I feel positively retro in all senses.