I felt I wanted to blog again about dyslexia which was illustrated in the programme ‘Don’t Call Me Stupid’ presented by Kara Tointon http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00vy8c7 It was repeated over the Christmas period and, judging by the comments it provoked, it clearly touches so many hearts.
What the comments reveal is the disgraceful fact that the worst thing sufferers have to deal with is the way people are made to feel because of their dyslexia, as if the challenges dyslexia presents were not bad enough. And the fact that perfectly intelligent children and young people are labelled as stupid and incompetent.
Richard Marshall said in one comment ‘My son, who was in last night’s programme, experienced abuse, torment and ridicule at the hands of teachers who could not manage their own emotional literacy – not to mention children confused and frustrated at not being able to understand their lessons.’
There’s sixteen year old Andrew who has had the courage to comment: ‘hi i am 16 i have just found out that i have Dyslexia a mounth a go and all the time at school i was bulled called names and the teachers said i was not paying atanchen in class most of the time i would have spent my play time writing lines and i just now want to find out more about it’
And there are comments on the original post from older dyslexics who have had to cope all the way through their adult life with the feeling that they were not as good as others because of labels attached to them through schooling.
Clearly, we still have a long way to go towards changing people’s attitude to those with dyslexia. Clearly, still a long way to go towards providing the right educational approach.
Whatever a child’s difficulties in school, there is absolutely NO excuse for any teacher making a child feel they are stupid. It is an abhorrent way for any teacher to treat a learner, however unable to learn they may be. And in no way is it of any value to a child’s education to be made to feel thick. It is nothing but destructive. And is probably the reason why so many parents end up home educating.
Of all the things that need changing in schools this is the one that perhaps needs it most; to stop children being made to feel stupid because of the challenges they face with the way they learn. It is absolutely paramount to any learner that their learning is comfortable, they are confident with it, they trust the people in charge of their learning, and that it develops their abilities and increases their self esteem.
And it is absolutely vital that we all make it known in all our different learning situations, whoever we are, that anything less is unacceptable.
Schools have all sorts of problems and face many challenges themselves. They have all sorts of children, from all sorts of backgrounds, who have been parented in all sorts of ways, some of those ways making some children hard to have in a class. That’s no excuse. No one should be made to feel bad through their education whatever background they come from.
The educational system has all sorts of problems. It caters only for a very narrow band of abilities and personalities; i.e. those that can passively accept what is done to them in the name of education and ‘fit’ into the word based, rather than experiential, approach to learning. And it delivers education in a very narrow and limited way that excludes many learners’ individual needs. And that’s what exacerbates dyslexic problems. But that’s not the child’s problem – it’s a problem with the system. And clearly it needs changing.
The more people who shout out about their dyslexia and the challenges it throws them, the more stories that are told about the way people have been made to feel in school because of their difficulties, the more it is talked about – out in the open, rather than concealed in shame; the better informed people will become, the more recognised and understood dyslexia will be. And hopefully less and less children will come out of school feeling they are stupid.
It is the people involved who’ve neglected to cater for these children’s needs that are the stupid ones – not the children. It’s important that parents continue to fight to make that plain!
A big thank you to all those who have taken time to leave a comment. I hope you’ll continue to tell your stories and to raise awareness of the problems for dyslexics and fight for the need for them to be catered for in an appropriate and empathetic way within schools.