After repeatedly reversing the d in his name, Braden told his teacher, “Just call me Braben!”
I laughed when I heard this because this young boy is so delightful and good-natured. But on further reflection, this is the very last thing that I want for our dyslexic students – to have to spend their life finding ways to get around their reading and writing challenges. Dyslexia is a fascinating thinking style. While each person with dyslexia is different, they often have strong creative, visual spatial, 3-D thinking abilities. When applied to Legos, mechanical endeavors, drawing, and out-of-the-box problem solving, they are absolutely unmatched. When 3-dimensional thinking is applied to print, it can cause students to mentally record multiple images of letters and words, resulting in confusion with reading and writing.
Visual confusion is not the only element of dyslexia that makes reading and spelling difficult. There is almost always an auditory piece to the puzzle. English is a phonetic language. In order to really understand and use the phonics for reading and spelling, the brain has to be able to process, or think about the number, order, and identity of sounds inside of words. This is called phonemic awareness. Most struggling readers, including those with dyslexia, have some degree of weakness in this area of phonemic awareness. This makes it easy to confuse visually similar words such as quietly and quality or stop and tops. If you aren’t able to judge the order of sounds or can’t think about all of the sounds in the word, these words could be the same.
Contrary to popular belief, people do not have to live with dyslexia. They can retain the great things about their creative, out-of –the-box thinking style, but can develop the underlying auditory and visual processing skills that will allow them to read and spell with far greater ease.
Is it a quick fix? No. Is it possible? Absolutely!
I LOVE Braden’s attitude and his quick, and clever ability to problem solve. I can’t wait to see how he will apply them once he’s become a reader and doesn’t have to put his energy into coping with dyslexia.
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