There’s no such thing as Dyslexia?!

How often have I come across that shocking attitude – quite often from people in education!

So it is totally wonderful to have programmes like ‘Growing Children – Dyslexia’ on BBC 4 last night, highlighting and increasing our understanding of it.

The appalling attitude we have had to children who interpret the symbols to read and write differently from others is akin to the racism we had pre-sixties. These children were considered ignorant because they couldn’t read as easily as others, and even though we now know that Dyslexia has nothing to do with intelligence, some people still hold that attitude from the dark ages.

I repeat, for those who still doubt; Dyslexia – and/or difficulty with reading – is NOT a reflection of a person’s intelligence – or lack of it. Thankfully programmes like these are showing us why.

During our home educating years we came across many families who’d withdrawn dyslexic children from school because they received no help with their dyslexia. In fact most teachers are not trained to recognise it let alone deal with it.

But by home educating you can remove many of the situations that children find themselves in at school which make coping with dyslexia so hard. You can give children all the time they need to learn to read. You can approach their learning in a multitude of ways – not only via print – but with the help of multi-media and in multi sensory ways. You can allow them to learn in an environment that is free from the distractions found in schools which dyslexics find so hard to overcome and maintain focus. You can nurture a child’s self esteem – so important for achievement – and prevent it from being eroded by being in a group of people who seem to be surging ahead with a skill whilst you’re standing still.

Out of school learning can be approached in ways that help students see that dyslexia doesn’t have to be so big a problem. And as was identified in the programme, dyslexics often have special talents which out of school can have time devoted to them, developing achievement in other areas which promotes self confidence. We saw dyslexic children who were home educated go on to achieve the same as other children despite their dyslexia, some going onto university, which the parents doubted would have been the outcome had they remained in school.

It’s a fascinating programme (worth watching on iplayer) that really helps us understand that being dyslexic is nothing to do with intelligence, but everything to do with the fact that all kids have the right to the learning approaches that suit them best.

And the ignorance lies with the people who fail to see that.

(Click on my Dyslexia tag to find other stories about Dyslexia)

Other links round the web:

9 thoughts on “There’s no such thing as Dyslexia?!

  1. Pingback: How Drama Can Help Children With Their Reading. | loonyliterature

  2. A great post Ross. I have no experience of dyslexia I would be very interested in your thoughts on an idea I have heard. 🙂
    The idea is that, dyslexia is more a function of how reading is taught than of individuals. That individuals diagnosed as dyslexic are those who are ready to read later than the average. As you say they are in no way less intelligent than those who read with ease early on. They are just a littke later than average when it comes to being developmentally ready for one particular task. This is compounded by the fact that they tend to be “whole word readers” who don’t respond well to the phonics system used in schools. As such they struggle to read at the average age and this becomes a bit of a self fulfilling prophecy. Their belief in their ability to read is destroyed as teaching methods do not suit them. The theory also goes that without the pressure of being taught, but instead being surrounded by text (as we all are) and being read to as they like, they will reach developmental readiness to read with their confidence intact. At that point they will decode text in much the same way as those very early readers who start school having “spontaneously” learnt to read.
    As I say I have no experience to hold this idea to and would appreciate your views. 🙂 (our broadband is rubbish but I’ll look out for repeats of the doc on bbc4)

    • Hi Dawn, thanks for your post. I certainly do think that the problems caused by dyslexia are compounded by the school system and for many who only have it mildly a different approach to their learning prevents it from becoming a difficulty. For many children, removing the age/time pressurised, and print based learning systems in schools is enough to make the difference to their reading success. But as the programme shows research is beginning to discover how dyslexics respond to stimuli in many different ways and the more we understand the more we are able to help. Having said that, I think that it is people’s attitude to those who do not read easily and quickly – and with enjoyment – in the way many of us do that does the real damage!

  3. Pingback: Signs of Dyslexia Start Before Reading, Study Finds « The Sensory Spectrum

  4. I can’t beleive poeple don’t think there is thuch a sing as dysxelia, where do they live, duner a rock?
    My entire family has dyslexia (including me, I’m a terrible speller), even my husband and adopted siblings have it. We include a doctor, nurse, engineer (thinking 3-D is a real plus there), pastor, writer and a house FULL of book worms.
    Preach it sister!

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