Do you know that dyslexia is also known by other names such as auditory processing disorder, orthographic processing difficulties, visual processing disorder or phonemic awareness deficit? What dyslexia is called often depends on the specialist carrying out the testing and the extent of their knowledge about dyslexia.
Have you ever wondered how dyslexia develops? This was one of the burning questions I have when I was researching on ways to help my daughter. I found the answer in Ron Davis' book, The Gift of Dyslexia.
The symptoms of dyslexia that we see in our children (omitting or skipping words or lines, substituting words, inconsistent spelling, ignoring or omitting punctuation marks, difficulty making certain speech sounds, poor sense of direction, problem with balance and coordination, frequent loss of train of thought, difficulty getting the sequence of thoughts down, etc) stem from their confusion with letters, common sight words, speech sounds, punctuation marks as well as math symbols and numerals.
When they reach their threshold for confusion, false sensory perceptions kick in which affect their vision, hearing, balance/coordination and sense of time, which then translates to mistakes.
Dyslexia is a big umbrella that covers different areas of weaknesses. It's not difficult to see intervention programmes or tools that are developed to target a specific area, depending on what that specialist's specialisation is, but what the child needs is a holistic approach to resolve the root cause of dyslexia.
Many of us probably don’t take a second look at the psychological report after we received it from the educational or clinical psychologist, or we find that there are too many technical jargons in there that are beyond our comprehension.
How do we make sense of the FSIQ, what’s my child’s abilities in the areas of verbal reasoning, visual spatial, fluid reasoning, working memory and processing speed? Is my child evaluated using the WISC-V IQ test? How do I read the results?
I mentioned before that for a dyslexia diagnosis, a child’s IQ needs to be at least average. However, a below average IQ may not necessarily indicate the absence of a learning disability. Looking at the subtests would more meaningfully help us interpret the result. Ron Davis was labelled as “uneducatably mentally retarded” at the age of 12 but was later discovered to have an extremely high IQ of 137.
Here is an article that helps us understand IQ test scores. It’s important for us to know not just where our kids stand intellectually, but also what are their strengths and weaknesses. There are links to other articles at the end which provide additional reading materials if you are interested to know more.
More than 30 years ago, Ron Davis had it figured out that dyslexia is not something complex but rather, it is a compound of simple factors that can be resolved step by step.
He explained that dyslexia is actually a product of a dyslexic’s picture thinking style, their ability to see things 3-dimensionally and their unique way of reacting to the feeling of confusion when they see symbols that they do not recognise (and all words are symbols). Because of these 3 factors at work, dyslexics encounter the difficulties we see in them when learning to read, write and spell.
This video illustrates what picture thinking vs word thinking is like and why dyslexics do not seem to recognise the same word which they learnt just seconds ago and as a result, produced mistakes in their reading, writing and spelling. It’s only by understanding this then can we tackle the root of the problem.
Ron said that once we remove the reason why a problem exists, the problem ceases to exist. How simple and logical is that? Once I understood Ron’s explanation, I knew instinctively that he had the right solution and I did not hesitate to put my daughter through the Davis intervention programme.
Ron Davis, the man behind the Davis Dyslexia Correction Programme, taught himself to read at the age of 38. Thanks to him, his unique and revolutionary approach has helped many dyslexics learn to read and to overcome other difficulties associated with it. Read more about the history of the Davis methods and what sets Davis apart. Dr. Angela L. Gonzales, a pediatrician and licensed Davis facilitator also shared about the Davis Dyslexia Correction Programme in the video.
Some of you may have heard about Irlen syndrome and how colour overlays are used to treat reading difficulties.
What is the theoretical basis behind the treatment and how does it work? Does it really resolve most, if not all, of the issues associated with dyslexia?
I’ve had parents share that their child’s headache is gone or that the words no longer float or jump around on paper, while others said nothing has changed for their child.
The cost of a pair of Irlen lenses is not cheap. In Singapore, it’s in the ballpark figure of $1,000. You also have to get the lenses refitted, so there’s an ongoing cost.
You may have heard this before: when something is repeated often enough, it gets perceived as the truth.
There are some misconceptions about learning difficulties that are accepted by parents as the truth and so they figured there is nothing they can do about it and accepted things as they are.
It is important for us to question what we are reading or hearing. Don’t just accept what you’ve been told, especially if you have a nagging suspicion that something does not sound quite right.