Our Experience with Dyslexia:
I have tried to get my daughter diagnosed as Dyslexic since she was in first grade. They always said she will grow out of it. Then she was tested and found to be ADHD (a common misdiagnosis for Dyslexia). She was put on Ritalin and started to act really aggressive and "out of it", couldn't remember anything nor concentrate at all. I stopped the medication and started teaching her myself with the help of the book "The Gift of Dyslexia".... she started to improve. She has 20 signs of Dyselxia from the list below and yet, no one seems to see it. Not the teachers and not the doctors. However, reading and learning about Dyslexia has helped my daughter to learn her own way and improve well in school. Her self-esteem has gone up and she's an all around better adjusted child!!!
If you suspect your child or yourself having Dyslexia, don't give up.
Call the New Hope Learning Center and research on the Internet.
The Gift Of Dyslexia
A book by Ronald D. Davis with Eldon M.Braun
Why some of the Smartest People can't read and how they can learn
Each case of dyslexia is unique because it results from an underlying talent, or predisposition, and from environmental influences and unsuccessful learning experiences. As a result, no two dyslexics will have exactly the same set of symptoms. Ron Davis describes dyslexia as "The Mother of Learning Disabilities." He explains why many other conditions have the same root cause as dyslexia. These include Attention Deficit Disorder, Autism, Dyscalculia/Acalculia, Dysgraphia/Agraphia, and hyperactivity.
Ron Davis shows how the learning disability of dyslexia is caused by the successful use of visual thinking skills at an early age. This "gift" works well for recognizing real life objects, but not printed symbols such as alphabet letters and words. Disorientation is turned on by confusion, so the stress and invalidation typically encountered during the early school years compound the problem. Mental tricks are adopted to give the appearance of learning. Loss of self-esteem causes many dyslexics to adopt ingenious methods to hide their learning disability.
Ron Davis explains that multi-dimensional thinking (using all the senses) takes place much faster than verbal thinking. Dyslexics also tend to be more curious, creative, and intuitive than average. They tend to be highly aware of the environment, inventive, and good at real world tasks. Their special mode of thought also produces the gift of mastery: once they have learned something experientially, they understand it on such a deep level that they know how to do things intuitively without thinking about how.
Having dyslexia won't make every dyslexic a genius, but it is good for the self-esteem of all dyslexics to know their minds work in exactly the same way as the minds of great geniuses. It is also important for them to know that having a problem with reading, writing, spelling, or math doesn't mean they are dumb or stupid. The same mental function that produces a genius can also produce those problems.
Dyslexics don't all develop the same gifts, but they do have certain mental functions in common. Here are the basic abilities all dyslexics share:
37 Common Characteristics of Dyslexia
Most dyslexics will exhibit about 10 of the following traits and behaviors. These characteristics can vary from day-to-day or minute-to-minute. The most consistent thing about dyslexics is their inconsistency.
Appears bright, highly intelligent, and articulate but unable to read, write, or spell at grade level. Labeled Lazy, dumb, careless, immature, "not trying hard enough," or "behavior problem." Isn't "behind enough" or "bad enough" to be helped in school setting. High in IQ, yet may not test well academically; tests well orally, but not written. Feels dumb; has poor self-esteem; hides or covers up weaknesses with ingenious compensatory strategies; easily frustrated and emotional about school, reading or testing. Talented in art, drama, music, sports, mechanics, story-telling, sales, business, designing, building, or engineering. Seems to "zone out" or daydream often; gets lost easily or loses track of time. Difficulty sustaining attention; seems "hyper" or "daydreamer". Learns best through hands-on experience, demonstrations, experimentation, observation, and visual aids.
Vision, Reading, and Spelling:
Complains of dizziness, headaches, or stomach aches while reading.
Confused by letters, numbers, words, sequences, or verbal explanations.
Reading or writing shows repetitions, additions, transpositions, omissions, substitutions,
and reversals in letters, numbers and/or words.
Complains of feeling or seeing non-existent movement
while reading, writing, or copying.
Seems to have difficulty with vision, yet eye exams don't reveal a problem.
Extremely keen sighted and observant, or lacks depth perception and peripheral vision.
Reads and rereads with little comprehension.
Spells phonetically and inconsistently.
Hearing and Speech:
Has extended hearing
Hears things not said or apparent to others
Easily distracted by sounds.
Difficulty putting thoughts into words
Speaks in halting phrases
Leaves sentences incomplete
Stutters under stress
Mispronounces long words, or transposes phrases, words, and syllables when speaking.
Writing and Motor Skills:
Trouble with writing or copying
Pencil grip is unusual and handwriting varies or is illegible.
Clumsy, uncoordinated, poor at ball or team sports
Difficulties with fine and/or gross motor skills and tasks
Prone to motion-sickness.
Can be ambidextrous, and often confuses left/right, or over/under.
Math and Time Management:
Has difficulty telling time, managing time,
learning sequenced information or tasks, or being on time.
Computing math shows dependence on finger counting and other tricks
Knows answers but can't do it on paper.
Can count, but has difficulty counting objects and dealing with money.
Can do arithmetic, but fails word problems
Cannot grasp algebra or higher math.
Memory and Cognition:
Excellent long-term memory for experiences, locations, and faces.
Poor memory for sequences, and inexperienced facts and information.
Thinks primarily with images and feeling, not sounds of words
(little internal dialogue).
Behavior, health, Development and Personality:
Extremely disorderly or compulsively orderly.
Can be class clown, trouble-maker, or too quiet.
Had unusually early or late developmental stages (talking, crawling, walking, etc.)
Prone to ear infections
Sensitive to foods, additives, and chemical products.
Can be an extra deep or light sleeper
Bed-wetting beyond appropriate age.
Unusually high or low tolerance for pain.
Strong sense of justice
Emotionally sensitive, strives for perfection.
Mistakes and symptoms increase dramatically with confusion, time pressure, emotional stress, or poor health.
There is no "Glitch" in our Brain
An editorial response,
by Abigail Marshall,
DDAI Information Services Director
Today (March 3, 1998) the CNN news web site reports the research of Dr. Sally Shaywitz, who claims she has found that part of the brain does "not function properly" in the brains of dyslexic subjects. Actually, she has found no such thing -- rather, she has discovered only that when reading a list of meaningless, nonsense words, her 29 dyslexic volunteers used a different part of their brains than her 32 non-dyslexic subjects.
Dr. Shaywitz reports that if read correctly, these nonsense words should rhyme. In the Washington Post, it was reported that the rhyming nonsense words included leat and jete. But jete is not a nonsense word. It is a French word, pronounced "zhe-tay" and used in ballet to refer to leaps. Leat looks a lot like the word leap. Maybe some people apply English phonetic rules and hear rhymes when they look at these two words. I look at these words and imagine dancers.
In any case, Dr. Shaywitz's subjects cannot pass her test. The dyslexic people don't find the rhymes, and they don't use the part of the brain that is supposed to be good at translating letters into units of sounds, and thus making rhymes. Instead, they persist in using other parts of their brain. Rather than trying to piece together the sounds of the nonsense words, they keep trying to figure out what they mean.
Since Dr. Shaywitz assumes that good readers should sound out words rather than relying on visual recognition strategies, she concludes that this different pattern of thought must reflect a "glitch" in brain "circuitry". We use our brains differently; therefore, our brains must be wired wrong.
Good readers, however, rely on a number of strategies. In addition to phonetic decoding the best readers also rely on visual recognition of whole words and segments, and predictive strategies from understanding the context of the writing and the patterns of language. Reading a list of nonsense words is not the same as reading a passage in a book.
We are glad that researchers are working with expensive scientific brain imaging equipment to take pictures of how people think. We think they are proving what we have been saying all along; dyslexic people think and learn differently. But a difference is not a "glitch" A test based on nonsense words, given to a group of people whose brains constantly seek out meaning, proves nothing.
There is more than one way to learn to read and to write. Dyslexic minds tend to be more creative, more imaginative, more inventive. Perhaps the dyslexic brain imagines more than one way to pronounce a nonsense word. Perhaps the dyslexic brain does not engage in the assumption that nonsense words must be interpreted according to typical English-language phonetic rules.
We would encourage Dr. Shaywitz and other researchers to do more than merely measure brain waves - and not to draw conclusions far beyond the scope of their research.>
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