Dyslexia is a learning disability that affects millions of people around the world. People with dyslexia often struggle with reading and spelling, which can lead to challenges in school and the workplace. One dyslexic lawyer, Charles Streeten, has headlines after he hit back at Jeremy Clarkson, the host of the popular show Clarkson’s Farm, after Clarkson criticised his spelling.
In an episode of the show, Clarkson is seen arguing with Streeten over a planning issue, and once Jeremy had made his plea to the council, he tells Streeten to “learn how to spell” as he returns to his seat.
In response to this, Streeten wrote an open letter in which he criticised Clarkson for his comments and highlighted the struggles that dyslexic people face.
“When you muttered those words to me you couldn’t have known how many times I’ve heard them. But to a dyslexic, it’s a familiar phrase.
“At school, I always failed spelling tests. No matter how hard I worked, or how often I stowed the list of words beneath my pillow, when the time came to be tested, I simply could not put the letters in order with certainty.
“My ears would burn and I would know I’d failed again. As the rest [of] my class graduated to Beryl rollerballs and fountain pens, I was limited to the indignity of a pencil; one with a rubber grip, to force me to hold it properly.”
He continued: “The inability to arrange letters according to historical convention is, to this day, seen as the calling card of indolence or imbecility. Usually both.
“Dyslexia didn’t forestall my career at the Bar. So far as I am aware, and despite the concern expressed by at least one member of my chambers during pupillage, not one judge, juror, or West Oxfordshire planning committee member has ever failed to understand me because I cannot spell. Whether a writer, a barrister, or a farmer, good spelling, it seems, is not essential.”
Clarkson responded to Streeten’s letter, joking that he was able to write a well-spelled letter at this point. He did however admit that he would not have made the comments about Streeten’s spelling if he had known about his dyslexia.
“It’s great that Mr Streeten has overcome his dyslexia to such an extent that he’s able to send such a well-spelt letter from Jamaica.
“It’s just a shame he chose not to mention his learning difficulty when we met at the planning meeting more than a year ago. Because if he had, the exchange would not have been televised.”
This hilarious exchange has made the lawyer look even worse as fans questions why he didn’t get a second person, or even spell-check software, to look over his work.
“Spelling errors could invalidate his case depending on what he’s fighting, and in this situation, it’s made him look a right tool. I wouldn’t hire a solicitor that couldn’t click spellcheck, it speaks volumes about his lack of competence,” one reader said.
Another added: “I’m dyslexic, but if I was a big-time lawyer I’d have someone checking my grammar, etc.”
A third noted: “Actually if he is in a position of power drafting up legal documents spelling words correctly is fundamental. This lawyer should have his work proof read first. Just saying.”