the writing life: diagnostic impressions

Last year, Donna Vorreyer and I worked together to create a nanopress publication called Diagnostic Impressions. I served as the collection’s writer, and she served as the collection’s editor. The publication is an exploration of my dyslexia, which I was not even aware I had until I was assessed just over a year ago, at age thirty-nine.

After hitting a number of layout snags and other drawbacks, the publication is finally complete and ready to be read, listened to, downloaded, shared, taught and (eventually) purchased in book form through Lulu (as shown in the photos below).

diagnostic impressions dana guthrie martin
:: Diagnostic Impressions Cover

Our hope is that Diagnostic Impressions will be used by K–12 instructors in their efforts to help students understand dyslexia. There aren’t many non-clinical texts that address the subject of dyslexia, yet up to 20 percent of students in the United States are dyslexic. For this reason, Donna and I feel it’s important that the subject be addressed thoughtfully and accurately by teachers across the country.

Personally, I hope the work functions both as poetry and as a teaching tool. Nothing could be closer to my heart than poetry, and nothing has altered my perception of myself and my understanding of the world like learning I am dyslexic. Before I had awareness of my dyslexia, I was walking around full of broken pieces that were knocking into each other all the time. After I had awareness of my dyslexia, all the pieces somehow shook into their respective places to form something inside me that felt unified and whole. I no longer jingle and jangle with every step.

diagnostic impressions dana guthrie martin
:: Diagnostic Impressions Interior

The knowledge that I am dyslexic is a gift, for now I know why I experience the world in the ways I do—ways that bless me each and every day, especially in the form of poetry.

Please visit the Diagnostic Impressions website to read the collection, to learn more about how it came to be and what it means to Donna and me, and to find out more about how to use the work in a teaching environment.

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