Dyslexia is a learning difference that occurs when the brain does not properly recognize and process certain symbols. Dyslexics establish a different pattern of connections and circuitry, creating a different kind of problem-solving apparatus.
Dyslexia is very common. As many as 17 percent of U.S. schoolchildren may have dyslexia. It’s the most commonly identified learning issue.1
I am dyslexic, as are three of my nine biological children.
My test scores in school were high but performance was poor. My mother was told I refused to work up to my potential. When I began homeschooling my son was tested for dyslexia. The doctor said I probably had it too and ran the tests. I tested high for moderate to severe dyslexia, which helped me understand why I had so much trouble with spelling and writing checks. I still struggle with both. Later my daughter was also found to be dyslexic.
My daughter and I both enjoy reading but struggle with writing (even though I’ve written several books, many authors are dyslexic). We both run successful businesses. I read about a dozen books a week. My son continues to struggle with reading. He has many other strengths. He recently created a machine that generates electricity for his entire house. My other children’s reading and language skills are on or above normal.
People with dyslexia are often very creative. It’s unclear whether such creativity comes from thinking outside the box or from having a brain that’s “wired” a bit differently.
Many people with learning differences of dyslexia and ADD are capable of some extraordinary thinking and can be extremely successful once they learn some coping strategies. This is why many prefer to call them, more appropriately, Creative Thinkers.
I like to think of it as different gifts and talents.
In their book The Dyslexic Advantage, Drs. Fernette and Brock Eide talk about the MIND strengths of people with dyslexia: advanced abilities in Material Reasoning, Interconnected Reasoning, Narrative or Story-Based Reasoning, and Dynamic Reasoning, a type of reasoning associated with forecasting.
- dyslexia reflects broad-based differences in brain wiring
- trade-offs exist between challenges and strengths in learning and thinking
- challenges in reading, writing, spelling, grammar
- problems with attention, working memory, and rote memory
- difficulty with sequencing and procedural learning
- weaknesses in 2D spatial orientation, but strengths in 3D
- weaknesses in certain aspects of visual processing, but strengths in others
- strengths in a material and mechanical reasoning, interconnected reasoning, narrative or story-based reasoning, and dynamic or predictive reasoning
- strong performances on tests of divergent thinking, like alternative uses
Brain research, including studies from Yale and Auckland universities, has shown that while it is common to use the “verbal” left side of our brain to understand words, dyslexic people use the “pictorial” right side –making them slower to process and understand language, but stronger in creative areas like problem solving, empathy and lateral thinking.
International dyslexia expert and Dyslexia Foundation consultant Neil Mackay notes that MRI technology shows that the dyslexic brain works differently–not wrongly but definitely in a different way. In a typical brain, most of the modules for writing, spelling and aspects of reading tend to be in the left brain, with the right brain having modules for more visual process, like recognizing words quickly without needing to break them down.The brain of a dyslexic child or adult may not have this typical “left/right” organization, with various modules appearing in different places. (href=”http://targetedlearningstalbans-tlc.blogspot.com/p/dsylexia.html”>Targeted Learning Centre)
1. Shaywitz, Sally, and Bennett Shaywitz, “Neural Systems for Compensation and Persistence.” Yale Center for Dyslexia. http://dyslexia.yale.edu/CLI_ScientificDiscoveries.html
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