MP busts the spelling police

As the old saying goes, you should never judge a book by its cover.

Never has that been truer, than when it comes to judging what other people’s spelling actually says about them.

Take the case last week of Labour MP Peter Kyle, who asked social media users who ridicule his spelling and call him thick to lay off him because he has acute dyslexia.

In a powerful Twitter thread, which is worth reading, he said: “Every day I get picked up on something I write. Mostly it’s kindly or humorous which is appreciated. Sometimes it’s sneering or brutal.”

“… Recently I spelled ‘border’ ‘boarder’. 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.”

Next time, think twice

It’s a story that should make people think twice before ridiculing someone else’s spelling mistakes.

Some professionals like copywriters and PR practitioners, in particular, can get very snooty and arrogant about spotting mistakes in other people’s spelling.

But it just goes to show that we are all human.

And that the one in ten people in the UK who have dyslexia shouldn’t face abuse because they find it difficult to read and spell.

Sure, point out other people’s mistakes to help, but don’t be brutal or condescending.

Supporting Peter Kyle MP

We are proud to support Peter Kyle MP on this one and we think that sharing personal experiences of dyslexia is vital to improve awareness.

It’s also essential to challenge the stigma that the ‘spelling police’ label people with, whether they understand an individual’s circumstances or not.

There are already business leaders like Richard Branson, who champions the fact he has dyslexia and that it hasn’t stopped him from being successful in life.

Now people with dyslexia have a political champion too in Peter Kyle.

And it’s worth noting that like many people who have dyslexia, he is one of life’s later bloomers.

He struggled at school because of his dyslexia but succeeded eventually through hard work and persistence.

Although he left school without any qualifications he returned to education as an adult and went on to attend the University of Sussex, where he gained a degree and a PhD in community economic development.

Recite Me CEO and Founder Ross Linnett commented, “I am Dyslexic myself and I have also come across this type of negative feedback from others. What Labour MP Peter Kyle has done has inspired others with dyslexia not to be ashamed and to stand up to the Spelling Police. People should see that having dyslexia is a gift. We have a gift to tackle tasks in a creative and analytical way that others cannot.”

How Recite Me assistive technology supports people with dyslexia

Recite Me helps people with dyslexia to access websites and their content by letting them customise the look and feel of a website.

To support reading, a user can customise the text font, colour, sizing and spacing. They can also customise the colour of the website background, and web links, plus focus on a specific area with a reading mask and ruler.

They can also choose to have text read aloud and access a dictionary and thesaurus to check spellings and definitions.

Ultimately, every person and organisation should do what we can to support people with dyslexia, and avoid jumping to narrow conclusions about people’s spelling.

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