should i tell my child that
When people think of dyslexia, it often conjures up images of people who spell words backwards; or perhaps children who get their b’s and d’s confused. Mostly it is viewed as a learning disability.
Dyslexia is not a learning disability.
People with dyslexia generally learn easily – when taught in a way that works for them. They are typically smart and creative individuals, who are often highly intelligent.
Ron Davis developed a beautiful, simple, highly effective solution, which is taught to students who complete the Davis Dyslexia Correction programmes. Add meaning to the abstract words. Get the students to create what the word looks like, what the word sounds like and what the word means – using the visual, kinaesthetic medium of clay.
#1. You do not need fixing.
Your mind is not defective, you are not broken. Your brain is wired differently and it is supposed to work in the way it does. Let's forget labels such as 'specific learning disability' and move away from terms such as disorders. I love the term 'neuro-diversity' - a word invented by sociologist Judy Singer, to shift the focus away from the deficits and call attention to the fact that many atypical forms of brain wiring also bring with them unusual skills and aptitudes.*
#2. You learn best through visual-spatial methods.
One strong feature of learning differences such as dyslexia is the ability to think in images rather than words. Learning is so much more natural for you if it can be filled with images, colour, and hands-on experiences, rather than constant reading and writing, which for a picture thinker can lead very quickly to confusion, frustration and ultimately shutdown.
#3. You have so many gifts.
You may be a great problem solver, you are probably highly imaginative and creative, you could be really good at designing, or perhaps your areas of strength lie in sport, music, or art. You might be able to see the big picture easily. You might enjoy thinking outside the square. Or you may be fabulous at detail-oriented tasks. Every individual who I have worked with, without exception, has possessed real gifts. Celebrate them, use them, and let them shine.
#4. You share your thinking style with many successful people.
Herman Hollerith, who helped launch the age of computing by inventing a machine to tabulate and sort punch cards, once leaped out of a school window to escape his spelling lessons because he was dyslexic.* As is Richard Branson, Steven Spielberg and Cher . Famous people on the autism spectrum include Dan Aykroyd, Temple Grandin and Darryl Hannah
#5. You have the right to ask for the support you need.
If you are at school, tell your teacher what will help you learn. Maybe using a computer or a tablet will enable you to get your ideas down easier. Perhaps text to speech software will help you to access text through listening to it. Instead of laboriously copying from the board, your teacher could print out a set of notes for you. Perhaps you could have extra time, or a reader/writer for tests.