Labour MP Peter Kyle has opened up about his experiences living with acute dyslexia, and called on the “spelling police” of social media to ease off in their “sneering and brutal” criticism.
In a thread posted to Twitter on Sunday night (27 October), Kyle said how he was moved to talk about his learning difficulty because “[the social media platform] can be a pretty unforgiving place for people with unseen challenges.”
I want to say something about living with acute dyslexia because Twitter can be a pretty unforgiving place for people with unseen challenges.
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
— Peter Kyle MP (@peterkyle) October 27, 2019
“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,” he wrote.
He continued: “Imagine a car where the gearbox (my eyes) isn’t connected properly to the engine (brain).
“Sometimes words are just shapes. However much I try to engage my brain, the connection just isn’t there. I can see the shape but it simply has no meaning. Frustrating, huh.”
He spoke of a recent instance in which he misspelt the word “border” as “boarder” and was inundated with hundreds of people calling him “thick”, “stupid” and calling for him to “resign and let someone with a brain take over”.
Kyle, who was elected to represent Hove and Portslade in 2015, graduated with a PhD from the University of Sussex. He spoke of incidents during his school years in which he was ridiculed by teachers for his dyslexia, and how this has made him stronger as a person.
He said: “Above all I know I must work harder than most to achieve the same: prepping, writing, corresponding, reading… everything!”
The MP has refused advice to have a member of his staff check his tweets before sending – because he would “rather they spent their time doing something valuable like helping the people who turn to us in times of need, not checking my boring old Tweets!”
Concluding his thread, he wrote: “So if you’re part of the spelling police there’s 649 other MPs out there, enjoy!
“If sincerity is what matters most to you, then welcome!
“And if after all that you still want to hurl insults the very least you can do is get my name right … it’s Dr Thick to you!”