Posted by: minnow | January 29, 2008

Dyslexia

YES:

Dyslexia is passed on from parent to child.

Dyslexics often score higher on IQ tests than the rest of the population.

Proportionally more left handed people are Dyslexic than right handed.

Dyslexics can read. However, most use different strategies to learn to read.

NO:

Dyslexia does not show up in boys more than girls.

Dyslexia is not rare. Nearly 20% of our population have some degree of Dyslexia.

Dyslexics are not necessarily ADD or ADHA.

Drugs cannot help or cure Dyslexia.

WHAT IS DYSLEXIA?

Dyslexia shows up primarily as a reading/writing/spelling disability. The truth is it is not a visual problem it is a language processing difference that is neurological in origin. Dyslexics are pictorial thinkers. In other words, while most of us think in words (say a word see a word in our brain), Dyslexics think in pictures (say a word see a picture). In fact, they often treat the words they do not immediately recognize (by producing a picture for them in their brain) as if they are pictures. This fact can often explain why Dyslexics write backwards or upside down, leave out letters or whole words, and sometimes “copy” things that don’t even resemble letters. They may actually be copying the tops or shapes or sides of the letters, all, in a desperate attempt to make pictorial sense of the word.

Whether or not a child is Dyslexic can be determined prior to a child’s entering school. Some signs a child may be Dyslexic include: difficulty rhyming, organizational problems, left/right and up/down confusion, difficulty tying shoes, trouble memorizing his or her phone number or address, chronic ear infections, and a lack of interest in words. These signs do not mean a child is Dyslexic. They only suggest a child could be Dyslexic and may benefit from being tested as soon as possible.

Dyslexia can be detected as early as age five and the sooner a child with Dyslexia is taught with a method specifically geared toward Dyslexic learners the better they will learn to read, write and spell. In addition, the years spent in school not learning to read and being told in subtle and not so subtle ways that the child is stupid can be avoided. Dyslexics are definitely not stupid. The fact that some learn to read right along with their classmates up until the third or fourth grade is a testimony to how intelligent they truly are. They have masked their inability. They memorize complex text after minimal exposure. They pick up word cues from pictures and puzzle together meaning from the parts of the sentence they do understand. In short, they are clever enough to lull teachers, fellow students, and even parents into thinking they CAN actually read.

A WARNING TO PARENTS:

Most teachers, including resource room teachers, do not understand Dyslexia. Too often the traditional educational solutions are more drills, more phonics, and more fluency programs. These solutions do not work. Dyslexics simply memorize the text for the short term. They are not, without great struggle, able to utilize what they have memorized later or apply it to a different learning situation. Drill, phonics and fluency programs turn curious, creative, and sensitive students into bored, frustrated, and angry students. The most severe Dyslexics, under these circumstances, drop out. Ultimately they may still be successful (they tend to be highly intelligent after all) but most often by taking unusual routes to get to a place of success.

Tomorrow: WHY DO I CARE AND WHAT ARE MY CREDENTIALS?

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Responses

  1. I don’t want to sound harsh but quite a bit of your post about dyslexia is misleading or actually means little . To say that some dyslexics can score high on IQ tests is true. There actually has never been a study that has found any differences in IQ between dyslexics and non-dyslexics. What is true is that higher intelligence dyslexics are more likely to be diagnosed because they are more easily identified. Also as dyslexia is considered to be a LD , the bottom part of the IQ spectrum is removed by definition because no one has the ability to determine whether reading problems in people with lower IQ is due to the lower IQ or dyslexia.

    The latest information about whether handedness is related to dyslexia found no difference in right or left handed people but did find that ambidextrous people were more likely to be dyslexic.

    Dyslexia can be genetic. Many dyslexics have a parent that is dyslexic. Many do not.

    That most dyslexics do not have visual problems is true. Just because only a minority have visual problems is no reason to exclude them. Your example of some dyslexia going undetected until the third or fourth grade is actually more common in visual dyslexics. The reason they start having problems then is because the print becomes smaller .
    The dyslexic with the more common language processing problems is often identified by his speech difficulties that are related to his language processing problems.

    As to dyslexics thinking in pictures being the cause of reading problems, out of the hundreds of dyslexics I have interviewed not one has described that as his or her problem. I developed dyslexia glasses that are successful in removing visual problems for the dyslexics that can describe a visual problem that makes reading difficult. You can read more information about them at http://www.dyslexiaglasses.com.

    You may be dyslexic and think in pictures but you should tell people that you are writing about your experience with dyslexia rather than defining dyslexia that way.

  2. Follow-up
    My policy is to include all comments that are not rude or vulgar those I have trouble with I will comment on.
    I obviously disagree with parts of the above comment. I seriously doubt, for instance, that glasses help truly dyslexic people. If the success is documented then I would tend to believe that those glasses help have both dyslexia and a visual problem.
    His post brings up a valid point however–I need to spend more time documenting my opinions.


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