With about 460 or so blog posts in I know I am going to repeat myself. I think it’s ok, though, as I keep hearing the same themes brought to me to me by parents and professionals about topics around dyslexia, reading struggles, ADD and anything related to the topic of school struggling.
The mythologies and misinformation abound.
Of course, one of the favored myths that is almost impossible to shake from our collective consciousness is what I call the “reversal thing,” when it comes to reading disability/dyslexia.
Not sure how this happened (I suspect it started with a show like “60 Minutes” back in the early 1980s), but somewhere along the line, we all were hypnotized. No matter what your background or level of education chances are the “reversal thing” is deeply embedded in your thought process.
To show you how embedded this mythology is, as we approach Labor Day with family and friends (keeping appropriate social distance of course), try this little experiment. Turn to your aunt, uncle or cousin and ask, “Hey, Uncle Bill, do you know what dyslexia is?”
I will make a $20 bet that Uncle Bill will say something like, “Isn’t that when (The answer always starts with “Isn’t that when…”) you read upside down and backwards? You know, like the words and letters are all upside down or something, right.”
Uncle Bill is in good company. The “reversal thing” is a dominating and ruling mythology. We seem unable to shake it from our “mental tree.”
When you look to the widely accepted definition of dyslexia, 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?” Even though I only offered the first part of the definition, in no place in the more expanded definition can the word “reversal” be found.
Taking “reversal” out of it, 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. The reading will be conducted very inefficiently and understanding will be greatly impacted.
We will be discussing the other main mythologies in future 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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