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Dyslexia IS a gift, It is NOT a disability

Betty Blue

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As something i feel very passionately about, i have the need to start a thread about Dyslexia and the fact that it is a gift.
I am not dyslexic although i sometimes wish i were, i feel this way because of the journey i have taken in understanding what dyslexia is and means.
I have a ten year old son who is (severley) dyslexic. He scores above average in iq tests despite the fact that (until recently) his reading age was 6 and writing age was approx 5 (or ungraded). In all his visual/spatial tests he has consistantly scored in the "gifted" range. I don't need a test to see that my son is gifted. At the age of three the nursery staff brough in 100 piece jigsaw puzzles for him to do as the 12 piece ones did not challange him, infact the 100 piece ones were still not very challanging. At the age of 6 he still could not write his name, until just recently he still reversed and mixed the letters in his name.
He is incredibly creative and at the age of 5 could independantly do complex lego sets for 12+ year olds using the visual instructions.
He also has amazing abilities in many other areas, he is a total whizz at chess amoungst other things.
The school he was in (i took him out) humiliated him and it got to the point that he would cry and get stomach aches every morning befor we even set out.

Ok, so thats my personal experience regarding my son, i also know many other dyslexics (including other family relations) and have since done some research on the topic.

My gripe is this, in the majority (not all) of schools

School education systems are archaic in their teaching styles, they are consistantly letting down up to 10% of the population in their inability to educate dyslexic children in literacy and they inadvertantly discriminate against them.
It is not just schools but work places too.
The reason this grates my very being so much is that by doing this fail to see the giftedness of dyslexic individuals.
Non dyslexics have a lot to learn.

I know people are starting to understand but many people still see dyslexia as a learning dissability instead of learning difference.
Infact the style suited to teaching a dyslexic child is also suited to all children and actually achieves higher literacy/numeracy results in ALL children. It is not the children themselves that have the problem but merely an outdated schooling system failing to keep up with giftedness.

YouTube - dysTalk Talks Dyslexia Disability Or Gift


[YOUTUBE="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAlO0nEZfIA"][/YOUTUBE]
 

Betty Blue

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Oh yes! I'd like to ask peoples views on this, personal experience, views as a teacher maybe? Does anyone disagree
 

visaisahero

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I just can't help but mention that just because your son seems to be exceptional in certain fields does not necessarily mean that it is his dyslexia that made him exceptional; it's possible that they are entirely coincidental and unrelated. Alternatively, it could be a case of him naturally spending more time and energy developing his non-academic abilities, much like how blind people tend to have exceptionally sharp hearing.

Whether dyslexia is a gift, a disability or something altogether different, I cannot claim to know for sure. One thing I can be certain of, however, is that the real gift your son has, and that is having a loving and nurturing person such as you for a parent. He's a lucky kid.
 

Fluffywolf

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I agree, beign intellectual has nothing to do with being either dyslexic or not.

If there is truth that the method of teaching dyslexic children is also more effective than the standard when teaching regular children. Then that is an interesting point.

But wishing you were dyslexic isn't going to make you smarter. :p

I see dyslexia as a disfunction that just can be dealt with. Much like a paralized person in a wheelchair. He can't walk like normal people, but by the gods is he racing around on those wheels, twice as fast as other people! If you catch my drift.

Both my sister and my father are dyslexic.
 

Ivy

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It seems that, like autism, dyslexia can come with both profound gifts as well as disabilities. There's no getting around the fact that dyslexia makes learning to read a challenge requiring fine-tuned educational attention. It can be worked through and as you say schools are not doing a great job of that right now.

I like how Ari Ne'eman approaches this issue as it pertains to autism. I think it can apply to dyslexia as well. It is a disability, not a tragedy. It can be treated, but it is a different way of being wired, not a disease to be cured.
 

Halla74

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ADHD is also a double edged sword.

Some people have it so bad that they have serious issues relating to others even on simple terms.

Others have it bad enough to where their learning will be anything but conventional, and yet they manage to express their intelligence in other ways.

Personally, I don't the term "learning disability" as it is derogatory.

Wouldn't a term like "learning modality" be just as effective in identifying that a person's methods of taking in, processing, and communicating back information are different than those "under the bell curve" and not label them as having a "disability?"

Good for you for helping your son as you have, and for recognizing his abilities. I think that's awesome.
 

cafe

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I agree that dyslexia, like other non-typical kinds of wiring, can be both a gift and a disability. Many a good/bad thing has a flip side.

Society/culture kind of determines what is disabling. It's likely that, in a society without written language, only the good things from dyslexia would ever show up.

Some of these traits are sort of like being born in the wrong time/place.
 
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School education systems are archaic in their teaching styles, they are consistantly letting down up to 10% of the population in their inability to educate dyslexic children in literacy and they inadvertantly discriminate against them.
It is not just schools but work places too.
The reason this grates my very being so much is that by doing this fail to see the giftedness of dyslexic individuals.
Non dyslexics have a lot to learn.

I know people are starting to understand but many people still see dyslexia as a learning dissability instead of learning difference.
Infact the style suited to teaching a dyslexic child is also suited to all children and actually achieves higher literacy/numeracy results in ALL children. It is not the children themselves that have the problem but merely an outdated schooling system failing to keep up with giftedness.

It's the people holding up the system. There isn't enough manpower to cater to every need and people tend to take the easy way out. The people who do try to make a difference might be a minority. Unfortunately, it's the children who have difficulties that have to suffer.

I don't see dyslexia as being a gift but I can agree that it's not a disability that necessarily prevents you from having a fulfilling life. Neither is it an indicator of unintelligence. It's the trouble with dealing with it and going against challenges that shape the person and makes them see things from different aspects to best deal with dyslexia and try to have a fulfilling life.

One thing I can be certain of, however, is that the real gift your son has, and that is having a loving and nurturing person such as you for a parent. He's a lucky kid.

I wholeheartedly agree. Your son is very lucky indeed to have such a devoted and supportive parent, GemPOPGem. Best of luck. :)
 

Ivy

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well said cafe! I feel the same way about ADHD. It's a disability for me in the culture I live in. But I really wouldn't give it back. I feel like I hum on a different frequency from most people and that's something I appreciate about myself, even if it means I need to pay special attention to creating safety nets for myself so I don't forget or flake out on important things like being on time to get my children from school, and hack my brain to make it do things I need it to do like focus on work when I have a deadline.
 

Halla74

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well said cafe! I feel the same way about ADHD. It's a disability for me in the culture I live in. But I really wouldn't give it back. I feel like I hum on a different frequency from most people and that's something I appreciate about myself, even if it means I need to pay special attention to creating safety nets for myself so I don't forget or flake out on important things like being on time to get my children from school, and hack my brain to make it do things I need it to do like focus on work when I have a deadline.

+1! I love my ADHD. :cheese:

I've learned to use it to my advantage, and now accept my "quirks." It's just me, it's how I am, and I am happy with myself, I don't care if I'm "normal" or not. :D
 

cafe

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well said cafe! I feel the same way about ADHD. It's a disability for me in the culture I live in. But I really wouldn't give it back. I feel like I hum on a different frequency from most people and that's something I appreciate about myself, even if it means I need to pay special attention to creating safety nets for myself so I don't forget or flake out on important things like being on time to get my children from school, and hack my brain to make it do things I need it to do like focus on work when I have a deadline.
Yep. I have to do the same stuff. Multiple alarms on the cell phone, automatic bill pay, everything on the calendar, listen to audio-books when doing something boring, etc. Small price to pay for the ability to think outside the box.

When you have an exceptional child, there are only so many things the schools can do. They, by necessity, have to take a one-size-fits-most approach. Determined parental prodding can get a lot more out of them than would otherwise been had, but there is still a lot that parents have to do to help their atypical kids function in this time and place.

I don't know a lot about dyslexia, either as a trait or how the schools handle it. Do they do IEPs for dyslexic kids? I don't think there is a lot of awareness or much of a support base for it, is there?
 

Betty Blue

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I agree, beign intellectual has nothing to do with being either dyslexic or not.

If there is truth that the method of teaching dyslexic children is also more effective than the standard when teaching regular children. Then that is an interesting point.

It absolutely is truth, there is also evidence to back this up Walsh Elementary school in Colorado had this to say after 4 years of introducing the program for dyslexia

In 2007, Walsh elementary had the highest reading scores in the state of Colorado, with 89% of the children scoring at or above grade level proficiency. For more information, read "Rural Schools Learn to Flourish,"

N.B there are serveral other model schools with the same kind of report

But wishing you were dyslexic isn't going to make you smarter. :p
Not wishing no, but being dyslexic armed with the knowledge i already have would be hugely advantageous to me.:yes:

I see dyslexia as a disfunction that just can be dealt with. Much like a paralized person in a wheelchair. He can't walk like normal people, but by the gods is he racing around on those wheels, twice as fast as other people! If you catch my drift.

I don't agree it's a disfunction, i used to think that...our brains are evolving and i believe people with dyslexia have more evolved thinking than others.


Both my sister and my father are dyslexic.

Well then they are very lucky, up to 85% of dyslexic individuals are gifted. They may have had a very tough time of it through school and i am not saying they are lucky for that, that part is awful.
 

Betty Blue

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I just can't help but mention that just because your son seems to be exceptional in certain fields does not necessarily mean that it is his dyslexia that made him exceptional; it's possible that they are entirely coincidental and unrelated. Alternatively, it could be a case of him naturally spending more time and energy developing his non-academic abilities, much like how blind people tend to have exceptionally sharp hearing.

If a child presents as being highly intelligent befor the age of starting to read/write then i would argue that it is infact the way that child naturally thinks, and that that thinking is highly evolved.

Whether dyslexia is a gift, a disability or something altogether different, I cannot claim to know for sure.

I do know, not in every case i have met or viewed but definately most.

One thing I can be certain of, however, is that the real gift your son has, and that is having a loving and nurturing person such as you for a parent. He's a lucky kid.

Well thank you, i appreciate that. :blush:
 

Laurie

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My sister has dyslexia and is relatively normal in everything else. She didn't get any special gifts or abilities that I've ever heard of because she has it. She had special classes in elementary school and has learned to work around it. Things like - she works at a Dr's office so when they rattle off numbers at her and expect her to remember she grabs paper and makes them repeat it and writes it down right away.

I do think in a different society it wouldn't be such a big deal, but reading/writing is the cornerstone for every activity in school, even math.

I think you are glamorizing the wrong thing.

Looking at your username I think I remember you saying your child has other issues/strengths that you are dealing with. I don't want to sound like a downer since your child sounds like they have a lot of strengths, I'm just not sure trying to relabel everything about your child as a "gift" is helpful to them.

I have four kids and I've learned through them that what I considered valuable traits growing up doesn't really make people have any more or less value. Try not to equate "value" with all these traits you've been listing. If you had a perfectly average kid they would have intrinsic value just because they are them, not for a list of attributes you think makes them seem more valuable, unique or gifted.
 

Betty Blue

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It seems that, like autism, dyslexia can come with both profound gifts as well as disabilities.

Well although they are viewed as disibilities, dyslexia (the difficulty reading/writing/math part) can actually be turned off, making it just a gift.

There's no getting around the fact that dyslexia makes learning to read a challenge requiring fine-tuned educational attention. It can be worked through and as you say schools are not doing a great job of that right now.

Yes it requires trained individuals to teach it, it should be a large part of teacher training as it benefits all students

I like how Ari Ne'eman approaches this issue as it pertains to autism. I think it can apply to dyslexia as well. It is a disability, not a tragedy. It can be treated, but it is a different way of being wired, not a disease to be cured.

It's a nice approach but i do not agree it's a disibility i think it's a gift to be celebrated!:D
 

Betty Blue

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My sister has dyslexia and is relatively normal in everything else. She didn't get any special gifts or abilities that I've ever heard of because she has it. She had special classes in elementary school and has learned to work around it. Things like - she works at a Dr's office so when they rattle off numbers at her and expect her to remember she grabs paper and makes them repeat it and writes it down right away.


It's very difficult to excel when everyone around you thinks you can not.

I do think in a different society it wouldn't be such a big deal, but reading/writing is the cornerstone for every activity in school, even math.

Correct, in countries where the language is spelt phonetically dyslexia is less prevalent, like in Spain.

I think you are glamorizing the wrong thing.


Incorrect, infact you are putting down the wrong thing.

Looking at your username I think I remember you saying your child has other issues/strengths that you are dealing with. I don't want to sound like a downer since your child sounds like they have a lot of strengths, I'm just not sure trying to relabel everything about your child as a "gift" is helpful to them.

I have more than one child!

I have four kids and I've learned through them that what I considered valuable traits growing up doesn't really make people have any more or less value. Try not to equate "value" with all these traits you've been listing. If you had a perfectly average kid they would have intrinsic value just because they are them, not for a list of attributes you think makes them seem more valuable, unique or gifted.

I try to give my children the power and strength to become happy and stable, having a gifted child/children who get put down riles me. I hate the "aww, poor you and your kids" attitude. Actually i feel blessed.
 

Betty Blue

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Heres a graph i found which shows a report result of a study of children recieving teaching in the davis dyslexia program as part of the curriculum
gifted2.gif


And heres the info to go with the graph

The purpose of this study was to determine the beneficial effects of integrating various Davis Learning Strategies, primarily Davis Symbol Mastery, on sight word skills.The participants were 86 primary students from two San Francisco Bay area schools enrolled in the standard K-1 program. The dependent measures were the percentage of children who are able to meet sight word recognition on a list of 100 basic core words.

For the first grade students the outcomes indicated that children scored significantly higher than the control group for the mastery of 100 basic sight words. In addition, follow-up data indicated that no special education referrals had been made two years after initial Davis intervention for any of the three pilot classrooms. However, gifted referrals from these same classrooms were higher than the typical school population.

Discussion includes the effect of early reading success on future school and social performance. Suggestions are given for further assessment of the Davis method and ways to coordinate the Davis method with other support services in future research.
This report was authored by Sharon Pfeiffer, Ronald Davis, Ethel Kellogg, Carol Hern, T.F. McLaughlin, Ph.D. (Gonzaga University), and Gerry Curry.
 

cafe

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So this method is the best way to teach non-dyslexic children to read and the benefits last beyond the first few years of school?
 

Bamboo

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Well, the most obvious answer is that is both a gift AND a disability.
 

Bamboo

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The most important factor to be considered to determine whether an innate trait (or, for that matter, a developed one) is a advantageous or not is the context.

I'd focus on (what I think is) the goal that is common to just about everybody - using what they have and doing something with it. I'd focus your energy on instilling this value in your child rather than fighting against the big bad school system. It's bigger than you. Your energy will drain eventually.



PS
My mom has some form of dyslexia. Especially with numbers.
 
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