Los Angelos Times by Joy Resmovits
Here is an article I read in the Dallas Morning News, newspaper. It is an article about ADHD. Although I have never been to see an expert on this, and haven’t been diagnose as having ADHD or mildly dyslexic, all the symptoms are there. From showing symptoms of carelessness, distraction, easily frustrated, impulsiveness, hyperactive and inattentiveness that are related to ADHD, I grew up with all these. Reading about all these things I read about myself as a young child.
Then take into the fact that even as an adult I still have these symptoms, just not as bad. When I was a child … I was like bouncing ball of uncontrolled energy, I couldn’t sit still very long which always got me into trouble. And if something was too hard for me to understand, I lost interest in it. Not because I didn’t care or want to do it, but just because I didn’t understand it and couldn’t do it.
I do believe that I am mildly dyslexic, my attorney sent me a book one time called ‘The dyslexic advantage’, and reading about this little boy, and others,I was reading about myself. I had and still have a hard time expressing myself. Although I am a lot better at expressing myself as I have gotten older. I had speech problems, couldn’t pronounce words. Even today, when I write, I sometimes leave out whole words, or bunch two and three words together to form one word, as in take a few letters out of each word and making a word that . .. well, it isn’t even a word. write backwards some times. I use all the correct letters in the word. But sometimes I will spell ‘slepp’, or ‘splel’ to spell the word ‘spell’. I do this even when handwriting. I do this at 46 years old. And I hate it. I hated it as a child and hate it now.
I’m not stupid or retarded. Although many of mv teachers thought I was. Even many of my class mates thought so. Which lead to fights with the boys. Just another reason why I hated school. My teacher just left me to do whatever I wanted. Drawing, cleaning the erasers, whatever. Anything but school work.
Not knowing how to pronounce words correctly back then, is what made me seem shy to many people. I just didn’t do a lot of talking as a young child. I didn’t really start talking more and more until I was around 13 to 14 years old. Out even then, I talked very simple.
My point to writing about this article is to point out, that, even if these teachers who are . . .I would assume trained to look for these things in children can’t spot them today with everything they know about ADHD and Dyslexia, just think how it was when I was a child. They just didn’t know what to do with a child like me.
You can clearly see from mv public school records, I made some pretty bad grades. I read at second grade level all the way until I came to prison for this murder. And I was the kind… still am, that if I don’t keep at it and stick with it, I soon forget it. Unless it is something that really interests me.
So, if we get right down to it, I failed the 1st grade.. .I don’t even know if I actually passed, or was just socially promoted to the second grade. And then I failed the second grade and again.. . Did I actually pass or was I socially promoted? And from the second, I go to the third grade … Again did I pass or was I just socially promoted?
Well, one thing is for sure it was the third grade I decided t had had enough of school. I went to Janowski Elementary in Houston TX on Beaumon Rd. for about 2 weeks …if that. I would say it was less than that. But I will just round it off tot wo weeks. From there I am amazing somehow promoted to the sixth grade! I didn ‘t go. I think this was a whole year I didn’t go. .I seem to recall my mom checking me in to Fonville Jr. High and I just don’t recall going at all. But again, amazingly I am now promoted to the 7th grade… Then to the 8th grade. And if I had to guess, I will say in all that time counting, I may had went a total of 3 month …. Most likely less than that. Far less. But there I was. From the 3rd grade to the 8th. With a second grade education. Maybe with only a first grade education. Needless to say, I was pretty stupid as a child and teenager.
I mean hell they place me in second grade and I make nothing but F’s and one D. And one A….. I recall that year pretty well. It was a year I hated school with a passion, being in special education, you didn’t get to interact with the other school kids. Meaning we went to lunch at a different time, mostly by ourselves. I recall this male teacher, I don’t know his name, but we would go to class, he would do a head count and roll call and out the door he would go. Letting us do our own thing.
So how he wrote down that I made a ‘A’ ‘D’ in reading. . .is beyond me. I recall on the way back from lunch me and this Mexican kid would go into the bath room and he would pull out a joint, we fog up the bath room and come out smelling like pot and take off running down the hallway.
And how I made on ‘A’ in P.E? Wow, I don’t recall ever dressed out. You know they always told us we had to wear shorts. . .I hated shorts, wouldn’t wear them for nothing. So I never dressed out. Somehow I made an ‘A . But I somehow got an ‘A’. Good for me right?
But my point is, if they can’t even recognize this in children today, they damn sure couldn’t when I was a child. Hell, did they even know what it was back then? I wish they would had had this federal law in place back then. Or even a state law.
This book I read, it listed many famous people whom where are dyslectic. The writer Anne Rice who wrote those vampire books. All of which are very good. The man who invented the compact disk, CD, many doctors, lawyers. Some movie stars and singers I can’t think of their names off of the top of my head … But yeah, they were mildly dyslexic and some very dyslexic. But they had something I didn’t have. They had people in their life who spotted their disability, who took the time to help them, mom’s and dad’s. Grandparents ect., I don’t recall if any teachers actually helped them. . .maybe so. But the one thing that struck me was it was a family member that encouraged them and helped them … I didn’t have that. Hell, my mom had a bit of a learning disability herself. And she was always working and tired. Which is why she slept a lot. My mom suffered, I think from that syndrome (I forget the name of it.) But a person can just fall asleep in the middle of a conversation, work; while driving…well I think mv mom had that…plus she was just always so damn tired from working. I recall one time my mom, sister and my daughters mom and little brother come to see me while I was in the Brown Wood State school. Well, on the drive home, my mom while driving just fall asleep. This is what my daughters mom told me. It freaked everyone out.
But when I think back, if I would have had someone help me like these people to read about. Who knows, maybe school would had been something I would had enjoyed. But as it was I hated school with a passion.
I know I have mentioned this in some of my other writings, but to me it bears mentioning again. I actually have a G.E.D. It is based on a ‘General Education Development or Equivalency Diploma’. I obtained this In the Brownwood State school TYC (Texas Youth Commission). A juvenile prison lockup when I was 16. I go from the last grade I completed which was the second grade to passing a G.E.D. test…I couldn’t pass the damn test now…today. No way no how. I know me and i know my limits. Just simply stating a fact an embarrassing fact. But a fact all the same.
It was given to me, I got to retake the test not even 5 minutes after I failed it, or as fast as she was able to get me new test sheets. The answers where in the book. So I did like the lady said, looked at the book and copied down the answers. So I got a G.E.D.
Back then, and I think even today if you fail, you have to wait 6 months retake the test. I took it again 5 minutes later and didn’t have to write an essay. I couldn’t write an essay today. My grammar is bad, I write wrong, I can’t spell worth a damn, so yeah, I wouldn’t be able to pass it today.
But I know why she helped me, it was to help me have a fighting chance in the job world, and that G.E.D. got me a few jobs. So thank you lady.
I read an article a few years ago about TYC and they talked about how these diplomas were being given away. I read in the Dallas Morning News, but had a friend try and find it, and couldn’t find it, the articles don’t go back that far. But I recall, what peek my interest was it was about a ‘fight club’ where the staff where making the inmates / kids fist fight one another. I know this to be true, because this was even going on in the state school I was in. More so my first time there, than my second. The first time I was there, I think I was 15? Early 15 or maybe late 14, 14.5 years old, that is all the staff did, was make us fight. The dorm was divided into in 2 wings, each wing had doors / rooms on one side the hallway and more on the other side. Single man rooms. We never faught with the guys on the other side the hall. But they would make us fight the guys on the other wing. There was nothing to divide us, so what they would do was clear all the tables out of the eating space, and one at a time, they’d pair us up and we’d fight. If you didn’t fight, You had to stay in your room. But if you did fight, they would let you watch TV, smoke, give extra snacks. And I hated staying in my room.. .I went through that with my step dad Bob. I spent whole summers in my room, a whole year a couple of times. So yeah, I was not going to stay in that room with nothing at all. So the way I got out?. .Fight. I got good at it. So when my friend Paul Wayne Taylor said he thinks that is where I learned how to fight … or whatever he said, he is correct. But I had already learned how to fight before I even went to the State school the first time. I learned to fight hanging around with all those older guys I hung out with when I was 11.5 years old. I was fighting bigger and older guys on the streets, so them pairing me up against someone my size was the wrong thing to do, I was then made to fight the bigger guys … Bigger guys with maybe a year or two older than me, but these were guys you could tell they were pampered through life. So yeah, I got pretty good.
I don’t think I ever lost a fight during that time. Unless you count that Mexican putting me in a head lock and not letting go until they forced him to let go. Every time they would pull us apart I’d go back at him get in a few shot and he would put me in a damn head lock. And just hold me. But that was the first time in the State school.
The second time, it wasn’t like that at all. I only got into two fight the second time, one was with this guy named Kevin who had one hand. I lost that fight. He hit me with the nub of his wrist right in the eye and that was the end of that fight. Eye swelled shut, had a black eye. And to this day I don’t even recall what it was over. We just were standing next to one another in the locker room and in the blink of an eye we were throwing punches. Red head Kevin, We got cool after that.
But the second time a lot of the staff from when I was there, the first time weren’t there … Maybe they got fired. But then again, I was on a different dorm …. So that could be it. Maybe they were still fighting on that other dorm.
Anyway that article spoke of how they were giving G.E.D.’s and diplomas to retarded kids and those like me with learning disabilities.