WHAT IS DYSLEXIA?
The term dyslexia means ‘trouble with language’. These days, it has turned into what I call a ‘contagious’ disease – because everybody is supposed to have it.
First, I’d like to point out that dyslexia is not a problem caused by lack of intelligence, and it’s not a sign of laziness. Also, students who have dyslexia are usually of average to above average intelligence; dyslexia is not a symptom of a mental disability. What are some Dyslexia symptoms?
The core of the problem is that these students have not made the connection between the sounds and the letters. That’s why dyslexia is a language problem – not a brain damage problem.
HOW CAN YOU TELL IF SOMEONE HAS DYSLEXIA?
I can’t give you a diagnosis; I’m not qualified to do so. I call dyslexia ‘contagious’, because it is said to be so widespread. But many of these so-called symptoms are seen in people who can read and write perfectly well.
HERE’S A LIST OF SYMPTOMS OF DYSLEXIA:
Aural (Hearing/listening) problems
- easily overwhelmed by too many words;
- may have trouble speaking clearly;
- trouble saying a few tricky words: e.g. spaghetti, hospital, animal
- difficulty dressing: e.g. trouble tying shoe laces, trouble doing buttons up;
- falls over things, trips over his or her own feet a lot;
- rests head on desk/hands/arms on one side while working
Hand skills difficulties
- handwriting: illegible, letters are wrong height, sloppy, reversed;
- holds pen/pencil oddly
- extremely tired (this is probably due to the huge effort being put into concentrating);
- prone to ear infections and/or allergies;
- can add and subtract but can’t do word problems (possibly due to not being able to read the words in the word problem!);
- difficulty counting money;
- reverses numbers;
- trouble remembering basic mathematics facts and procedures;
- can’t remember more than one (or two) instructions at a time;
- good long-term memory for: events, experiences, faces and pictures;
- short concentration span;
- trouble learning things off by heart/rote e.g. alphabetical order, days of week, months of year)
I see many of the dyslexic symptoms minimise or disappear totally once students have learned to read. I put this down to two things:
- Students are now linking the sounds of English to its letters; and
- Students are no longer suffering from a high stress level, which was brought on by being ashamed they couldn’t read (or believing they were too stupid to be able to read).
It’s said that if you have quite a few of the following problems, you have/might have dyslexia (so you probably can’t be taught to read and write).
I disagree totally. Keep that in mind as you read the lists below.
- a doing/active person, rather than a ‘sit still’ person;
- learns better through doing: e.g. learns by experience or seeing, rather than being told information or listening to a talk or lecture. (Keep in mind that multi-sensory learning is how we’re told to teach these days – and I think that’s a sensible way to teach because then everyone can learn the way that suits them best.)
- able to answer orally, but can’t get thoughts down on paper (I think this is probably because the student can’t read and write!);
- trouble planning longer written work (This may well be because the student has not been taught those skills.)
- confuses similar letters and/or other signs e.g. + and – (Probably because they haven’t been allowed to practice this information until it’s automatic.);
- keeps place better if pointing at work;
- mixes up letters, reverses letters and numbers (Again, probably lack of being allowed to practice until the information is secure and then learning it to automatic level)
- much smarter than shown by written work;
- not aware of time passing;
- talented in: art, building things, business, drama, music or sport;
- thinks in pictures and/or feelings, rather than words;
- sometimes: careless, daydreamy, forgetful, inattentive
Phonemic awareness problems
- can’t hear some sounds and/or can’t hear syllables in words (Probably because he or she hasn’t been taught this skill!);
- may have trouble saying some words;
(Just to save time: All the problems in this list are due to not being taught to read properly.)
- can’t read a single word;
- can’t take good notes because he can’t listen and write at the same time;
- looks at the first letter and guesses the rest of the word;
- no word attack skills for working with unknown/forgotten words;
- oral ability much greater than written work;
- reads but doesn’t comprehend;
- reads just a few lines before stopping (probably from mental exhaustion);
- reads words backwards e.g. was/saw;
- spells ‘semi-phonetically’ using some letter names e.g. nd = end;
- spells the same word several different ways;
- when reading: guesses words, inserts words, mangles or omits words;
- when reading, relies on: pictures, and the shape of words
- poor enunciation/unclear pronunciation;
- slow to name things when asked
- appears stressed/traumatised;
- avoids work: sharpens pencil repeatedly, walks around, loses things;
- behaviour: is the class clown/disruptive/shy/withdrawn
ADDITIONAL NOTE: My personal opinion is that many homes and schools are mouldy. Mould causes a wide variety of physical and mental problems, and plays a part in many learning difficulties.
ACCORDING TO THIS LIST, EVERYONE I KNOW HAS DYSLEXIA!
Exactly. That’s why I call dyslexia ‘contagious’ – because the way it’s defined, everyone’s bound to have it! If everyone has it, then, we’re told, it’s a miracle anyone can learn to read! So teachers shouldn’t be expected to teach everyone to read!
What a load of rubbish!
We’re told that the high rate of dyslexia means that becoming literate is no longer an expectation for everyone – possibly including the person you’re worried about!
AND, we’re told, we should spend lots of money getting cured by those who caused the problem in the first place.
This list of dyslexia symptoms reminds me of the list compiled hundreds of years ago to help investigators work out whether or not someone was a witch.
By definition, a witch had one or more of the following characteristics: birthmarks, boils, dark freckles, eczema, flaps of skin, moles, piles, spots, tumours, ulcers or warts. Again, everybody has one or more of these problems – so, according to the list, everyone’s a witch!
I think ‘contagious’ type definitions are ‘hocus pocus’ – jargon designed to deceive!