HBO Documentary’s The D Word: Understanding Dyslexia is a fine documentary, especially for cable, which is to say that it’s polished and edited to that perfect length for easy watching on television. On top of that, the film utilizes a unique perspective by not just educating on the downsides of dyslexia, but also what it truly means to be dyslexic, and the creative pluses that can come from such a condition.
Like most I knew growing up, my idea of dyslexia was an ignorant one; I thought the dyslexics just got confused about the order of letters in words, and therefore had trouble reading and spelling. And while there is a very small nugget of truth there (dyslexics can have trouble with reading and spelling), it’s obviously nowhere near the complexity of the situation. Additionally, I never stopped to ponder where this condition came from, or what it meant from a medical standpoint, to be dyslexic. After having now seen The D Word, I feel better informed.
Beyond shedding light on the ignorant, the film does a great job of showing that dyslexia is not some developmental death sentence, where the sufferers spend the rest of their lives shunned by society. Richard Branson and Charles Schwab are just two examples in the film of dyslexics that are doing just fine.
If I were dyslexic, particularly at a younger age when one is known to feel all alone in the universe, I’d appreciate this documentary so much more for both trying to educate the ignorant and keeping such a positive perspective. It’s easy to dwell on the negative and spout technical or medical jargon, so I was pleased that the film engages on such a personal level. The D Word is an invaluable resource for starting both conversation and understanding.