The first signs
The first sign of trouble was an extremely difficult time learning to read and write. I remember being on the Hooked On Phonics program in an effort to address the issue and basically fell behind a year in school in some areas due to my struggles. To my knowledge I was not officially diagnosed with anything and I never went on medication thankfully.
I do remember being tested at school when I was 6 or 7 in a manner that freaked me out the time. I had no idea what was going on, what it was for or anything like that. The questions didn’t seem to apply my studies at all. There were ink blotches involved I remember that exercise bothering greatly. I resisted answering what this nothing on the board.
I learned over the years that there seemed to be a trade off of sorts with dyslexia. Instead of knowing how to read, write and spell well, I had the uncanny ability to understand, retain, and recall words I have encountered merely from being used in proper context.
I would retain words I had no idea how I learned them and I did so effortlessly. Not just what the word is, but it’s precise definition too. We’re not talking about being close to the definition, we’re talking about nailing the exact essence of the word too. I actually love predicting a words exact definition without having effort thought about it before.
There are many other manifestations but they are pretty small in general or I’ve learned to cope with them so well over time that they’ve more or less vanished from my day-to-day life. Usually it is just trivial things like me getting times, ordering, priority and similar sort of things mixed up. I’ve learned to rely on a writing things down as my mind will play tricks on me.
Calling Dyslexia a “Learning Disability” is shameful, it’s truly a gift
Dyslexics are not dysfunctional, they are just different and our one-size-fits-all approach to education fails us here.
The public school system is going to have a hard enough time identifying the dyslexics let alone tailoring classes to them. These students would fair far better in schooling tailored to their learning style and in a way that amplifies their unique ability.
Dyslexics can have an incredible intuition and actually account for more inventors and entrepreneurs than any other subgroup. This did not surprise me at all as dyslexics are inherently divergent thinkers. We see the world the world through a different lens.
What would schooling tailored for dyslexics look like?
I would say verbal oration along with multiple distinct visual references would be ideal. Talk to me about the topic while giving me something to look at that adds further context.
Dyslexics are often also misdiagnosed with ADHD
Being mindful of this as it may be helpful in identifying those with dyslexia. I hate the word diagnosis here – it’s not a “condition” it is a state of being – so I go with “Identification” which is the all important first step.
Once identified one can begin helping young students understand their differences and how to leverage them as be benefit instead of a mental ball and chain.