The Dyslexic Advantage

How many of you view Dyslexia as an advantage?dyslexia book 011

This is how the authors (Drs. Brock and Fernette Eide ) of the book ‘The Dyslexic Advantage’ present dyslexia. They’ve written a fascinating book based on the view of dyslexia not as a ‘disability’ or ‘learning difficulty’ that has to be corrected, but instead as a way the dyslexic brain has of functioning which gives dyslexics special talents.

In their introduction they explain their refreshing view; ‘There are two big differences between the traditional view of dyslexia and the one we’ll present in this book. First, we don’t see the reading, spelling, or other academic challenges associated with dyslexia as the result of a “disorder” or a “disease”. Instead, we see these challenges as arising from a different pattern of brain organisation – one whose chief aim is to predispose dyslexic individuals to the development of valuable skills…

Second, unlike most books on dyslexia this book won’t focus solely on making individuals with dyslexia into better readers. Instead it will focus on helping them become better at “being dyslexic”…dyslexic brains aren’t supposed to be like everyone else’s…Our goal is to help individuals…enjoy the full range of benefits that come from the dyslexic brain’.

Having come across dyslexic children in school settings I know what a handicap it can be when their learning is heavily based on the ability to deal with the written word.

But as parents who home educate begin to discover there are so many other ways to approach learning, e.g. experientially, or through image based learning (think films, documentaries or YouTube). And dyslexic children don’t have to be seen handicapped – it is perhaps our approach that is handicapped by our lack of providing for individual needs. Home educated children who are dyslexic have gone onto achieve as well as other children do.

If your child is bright and well functioning and intelligent in all areas non-reading related, yet seem to find it difficult to pick up reading as easily as you’d imagine, you might like to find out a little more about dyslexia. You could start with the British Dyslexia Association, Dyslexia Action or the Dyslexia Association

And this book is certainly worth exploring.


9 thoughts on “The Dyslexic Advantage

  1. I really don’t know whether my eldest wpuld be classed as dyslexic if in school. She learnt to read by being read to, age 5/6. Read very fluently out loud very early. Doesn’t get phonics. Late writer – but at 10 is beginning to write, and now tackling spelling.
    None of this is an issue because she isnt in school, but I do wonder if at school she would have been considered dyslexic.

    • Thanks for leaving your comment Katherine. It’s interesting isn’t it – how Dyslexia is much more of a problem when in school where’s as out of it, you just find other strategies to achieve whatever you want!

    • Interesting that you say she doesn’t ‘get’ phonics. It doesn’t sound to me as though she would be classed as dyslexic in school (they’re very reticent to actually give a label, as some extra provision then has to be made – funding issues!). I think she has learnt to read the way I, and many other able readers have, by being read to, and being able to associate the shapes/patterns of written words with their sounds and meanings, and in the context of the text. Even though I’m a teacher in a school, I hate the constant pressure for children to learn reading by using phonics. I’ve found that it can actually hold more able readers back, as it makes them question what they’ve already learnt is right! They then try to over-apply rules in a language that breaks all its own rules anyway!!! If more children were read to when they were very young, as your daughter obviously has been, I think they would learn to read far better, in context.
      As your daughter has been home-educated, she hasn’t had again the pressure to constantly write when perhaps she wasn’t ready for it. There are lots of ways, which I’m sure you know of, to help with spelling, but in my own and my 3 children’s experiences, I know that the one who reads the most, is by far the better at spelling, and writing in general. Keep up the reading!!!!

      • Thanks so much for your in-depth comment Rosie. I’m sure I’ve read somewhere of research that showed there was no correlation between reading ability and spelling success! But you’re right about the value of being read to, I also read that it is one of the most valuable aids to children’s reading success. By the way, have you come across the book Proust and the Squid? ( ) It might be of interest. x

      • Proust and the Squid has been recommended by my course leader – haven’t read it yet, but definitely will – thank you for the reminder!

  2. Hi, I loved your book ‘A Funny Kind of Education’. I wish we had been brave enough to home educate our 3 children, who are all grown up now. I am a ‘reluctant’ Primary School Teacher, teaching a one to one reading recovery intervention to 5-7 year olds. I have for a long time realised that a lot of the children I teach just are not ‘getting it’ with reading and writing, even with an intensive programme. I am in the middle of a Post Grad Cert in Dyslexia, and have come to realise even more over the past few months that it is our system that relies so heavily on the printed word that is the disadvantage, not the children’s abilities! Another great book is The Gift of Dyslexia by Ronald Davis (not sure about all the ‘correction’ techiniques, but the description of the dyslexic brain’s workings makes perfect sense). I have changed the way I perceive the children I work with and my approach to their very individual needs, and believe that all children will benefit from a multisensory approach to literacy. It’s a shame schools don’t have the time and space in their curricula for this!!! I would love to hear what other people think about dyslexia being an advantage or a gift. My case study would greatly benefit too!!

    • Thanks so much for your insightful comment Rosie and lovely you dropped by and left it here. Thank you. Wish all teachers were as sensitive to the needs of kids as you – although I know their hands are so tied by the system.

  3. What a great book!
    My whole family is dyslexic. We are also all bookworms (one sister does prefer audio books). Giving kids time to learn reading, *expecting* them to get their b,p,d,-s and q -s mixed up (plus 6 + 9), and treating them as normal is huge. The key we’ve found is to provide a language-rich and accepting environment.
    There are so many areas of life where thinking 3D is a blessing, it’s silly to call such a condition a disability. 🙂

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