I was unaware until a few weeks ago that there is a significant problem affecting our children. Imagine going through school feeling frustrated every day because you cannot read. You try and try, but you just cannot figure it out. On top of that it is really difficult to write, take tests, and forget about spelling. Failure seems inevitable. The only possible explanation is that you are stupid, right? What does the future hold for someone who thinks they are stupid and has been labeled stupid by their peers and teachers. Do you think this student would ever go on to college after high school? If they make it through high school without dropping out that is.
Some of the primary symptoms of Dyslexia are difficulty reading, writing, and spelling. There are so many other symptoms of Dyslexia and for each individual it can be different. The beautiful thing about Dyslexia is that people with this condition are actually very intelligent in many different ways. What would our world be like if Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, or Henry Ford had dropped out of school? They all had Dyslexia. Heaven forbid Steve Jobs dropped out of school, I don't know what I would do without my iPhone. Yes, Steve Jobs also had Dyslexia. Then there is the billionaire, Richard Branson whom also has Dyslexia. The list goes on and on.
A teacher once explained it as a smart person who cannot read. People assume that if you have difficulty reading you must be stupid, but in reality people with dyslexia are highly intelligent. People with dyslexia tend to be very creative; have the ability of visual, spatial, and lateral thinking; have superior reasoning skills; think and perceive things multi-dimensionally; and are typically very driven, ambitious, and persistent. They "think outside the box".
It has been proven that there is a physiological difference in the brain of a dyslexic person. Essentially the right side of the brain is bigger. This causes the brain to function differently in relation to words, sounds, and language. No, they do not see words and letters backwards. That is a myth. Another myth is that it is rare. It is actually very common as 1 in 5 people have dyslexia. Think about that for a minute. If there is a classroom of 25 students, approximately 5 of them will have dyslexia to some degree. Fortunately our schools have a literacy program that is an extra intervention for the bottom percentage of students struggling with reading. I'm going to guess that most if not all of the students in this program have dyslexia. Unfortunately, children with dyslexia need interventions that are specific to dyslexia. Standard tutoring and phonics will not be effective for these students. However, with tutoring specific to dyslexia, these students thrive and can catch up to their peers.
The primary problem I see regarding Dyslexia is that we are not informed. Teachers, parents, Administrators, and the general public need to learn more about this. We cannot make positive change if we do not know any better, and right now we don't know any better. It is important not to place blame or approach this problem from a place of anger or injustice. It is not the schools fault that they do not provide testing or intervention, teachers are not to blame, nor is it a parents fault if a child with dyslexia goes unnoticed. The only way we could ever place blame is if we have the information and then choose to do nothing. I encourage you to become informed.
Mom with Dyslexia and of Dyslexic Child,