All About Dyslexia
"If a child can't learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn." - Ignacio Estrada
What is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is mostly characterised by having trouble with reading, despite normal intelligence. Problems may include difficulties in spelling words, reading quickly, writing words, "sounding out" words in the head, pronouncing words when reading aloud and understanding what you are reading.
But it can have more symptoms than just reading. In fact, some dyslexic learners are actually very good readers. Other areas of learning that can be impacted include maths, spelling, organisational skills, focus, speed to process information, being able to follow multi-step instructions, and even some motor skills.
Because of all of these difficulties, a dyslexic learner can experience high levels of frustration, exhaustion, anger and avoidance, as well as having low self-esteem.
However, there is plenty of help available, and once you and your dyslexic learner are on the right track, you may even start to discover some areas they are gifted at - because dyslexia brings strengths as well.
Common Signs of Dyslexia
There are many warning signs that a learner may be Dyslexic. If any of the indicators below ring alarm bells for you, it may be worth reading a more comprehensive checklist on my BLOG.
In my experience, some of the common indicators include:
Difficulty with rhyming patterns in younger children.
Inability to follow simple multi-step instructions - e.g grab your bag for school and put your shoes on (they'll only achieve half of the instruction).
Have difficulty with telling time, managing time, or learning sequenced tasks.
Struggles with reading or getting ideas down on paper, despite seeming to be bright.
Struggles with rote learning - basic maths facts, times tables, and some spelling falls into this category.
Handwriting is characterised by poor pencil grips and illegibility.
Experiences high degrees of frustration and exhaustion with school. Sometimes they try everything they can to avoid school altogether.
Homework takes ALOT longer than the teacher indicates, and is often met with anger and avoidance.
Knows a lot, but tests poorly, especially when there is time pressure.
There are strengths too
Dyslexic learners have many strengths, and often go on to have successful careers. These careers are usually borne from lifelong passions in specific areas - they are driven by curiosity and a passion for knowledge, they read avidly (although slowly) to find out more about their topic of interest, engaging in what is known as “reading to learn”. Their own fascination drives them to read, experiment, and pursue a career that intrigues them.
Some of the fields that have more than their fair share of Dyslexic brains at work include:
Engineering, science, and technology - Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison and New Zealand's own inventor John Britten. Many organisations in these fields actively recruit candidates with Dyslexia as they recognise their ability to think differently.
Design, building and architecture - Tommy Hilfiger, Pablo Picasso, and Jorn Utzon (designer of the Sydney Opera House).
The Arts - J.K. Rowling (Novelist), Ansel Adams (Photographer), Cher, and Whoopi Goldberg.
Entrepreneurship - Richard Branson (Virgin Airways), Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Anita Roddick (Body Shop) and Jamie Oliver.
To find out more on specific dyslexic strengths, take a look at my BLOG.