#Dyslexia & the "Reversal Thing"

May 18, 2017

Not a week goes by that a parent coming in to consult with me about their child does not bring up one of the major mythologies that are out there on dyslexia.

Of course, the top one that is almost impossible to shake from our collective consciousness is what I call the “reversal thing.”

Not sure how this happened, but somewhere along the line, we all were hypnotized.  No matter what your background or education the “reversal thing is deeply embedded in our thought process.

As we go into the summer with more and more backyard barbecues, try this little experiment.  Turn to your uncle or cousin and ask them, “Hey, Uncle Bill, do you know what dyslexia is?”

Invariably, Uncle Bill will say something very close to the following, “Isn’t that when (it always starts with “isn’t that when”) you read upside down and backwards –  like the words and letters are reversed, right.”

Uncle Bill is in good company.  The “reversal thing” is a dominating mythology.

When you look to the definition of dyslexia that is widely accepted, it states the following in the first part of the definition:

Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurobiological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities.

Where’s the word “reversal?”  It’s not even in the definition.

I like to simplify things.   One way to think about dyslexia is to consider it as “reading inefficiency.” Or in the simple definition, it represents difficulty identifying words accurately and fluently.

For example, If I read “pricopinny” for  “porcupine” or “Sweden” for “seaweed” that’s a problem.  My reading will be conducted very inefficiently and my understanding will be greatly impacted.

 Takeaway Point

We will be discussing the top mythologies in upcoming blogs, but for now let’s try and loosen the “reversal thing” from your mental tree.  Listen to your child read.  Does he/she sound inefficient?  Are there lots of words like “pricopinny” substituting for real words like porcupine? If so, then you are probably in the realm of dyslexia (although it is important to understand that there are other variables or factors to consider).

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All comments (2)
  • Anne Marie Fussner
    May 21, 2017 at 3:34 am

    I love reading your posts, Dr. Selznick! Always so informing & down-to-earth. The "reversal thing" is so true.

    Reply

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