As it’s National Poetry Day and Dyslexia Awareness week, to celebrate I’ve written a poem called The Dancing Book about a little boy with dyslexia going through the emotions of trying to find ways to read whilst his mum is unaware of the difficulties he’s facing. A young child with dyslexia doesn’t realise that what they are trying to make sense of is much harder than what others are experiencing.
Dyslexia is often misunderstood. It has nothing to do with low intelligence, bad eyesight or poor teaching, it is merely that some people’s brains are wired differently to others, considered possibly due to genetics. In fact in many cases the child is very bright and it is the disparity between their reading skills and intelligence level which often first highlights the issue.
Being wired differently means the processes of deduction a child with dyslexia uses are different. In fact everyone has their own unique set of processing skills which are highly effective in some situations and less so in others. The mere difference being that a child with dyslexia has a set of processing skills which happen to make reading and writing more difficult. It is often the case that if you think differently to the average person, you have the power to achieve more than the average person so how can we teach children with dyslexia to draw out their unique abilities?
Unfortunately it is not a simple case of if a child has dyslexia we can list the learning strategies they need to follow. A strategy that works for one child may be totally ineffective for another. It is more about suggesting ideas to enable each child to find the strategy that works best for them. As with many things, it needs to come from within the individual.
From studying psychology I have developed an interest in learning difficulties such as dyslexia. To me, in order to be able to offer a true resolution towards enhancing their reading skills, the only way is to get into their shoes and understand the difficulties they face on a daily basis when learning to read.
What does an individual with dyslexia see and experience when reading?
The reason why people with dyslexia find it hard to read is because the text they see on a page can appear blurred (blur effect), spaced out (river effect) or faded (wash out effect). Inevitably this makes it very hard for the individual to seamlessly process the printed words and sentences. The following linked articles give a visual understanding of what an individual with dyslexia may see. A small but important insight into the types of difficulties they have to overcome.
With the right support dyslexia does not need to prevent anyone from becoming an excellent reader. The main message being that if the wiring in your brain is different; don’t be afraid to try something different.