Dyslexics don’t need to have poor literacy

somebrainssmallI know this title may offend some people but this is Dyslexia Awareness Week and this little fact ought to be widely known.  I do hope I get some well thought through responses that I can reply to.

There are many definitions of Dyslexia with variations on the theme of “trouble with fluent spelling and reading”, which I can go along with.  However some are finished up with the words such as “despite appropriate teaching”.  I must challenge this one, because these students are quite capable of reading and spelling visually, it is just the way we are teaching them and phonics that is confusing them.  They are big picture thinkers, who find it much easier to learn when they can picture the bigger picture, like the whole word, rather than having to deal with what they think of as meaningless bits of words.  Simply, these people are not getting appropriate teaching for their method of learning.

More recently assessments have now focused on the students capabilities with phonics as leading to a definition of Dyslexia.  Why is that even correct.  I for one can read perfectly well and have never learnt phonics.

Now, there is no denying that these students think and learn differently, with exceptional strengths, nothing to do with literacy – latterly called neurodovergent skills and recognised by #madebydyslexia, #geniuswithin amoungst others.  Indeed,  cares whether they can spell or read, when such exceptional brains go on to solve major problems like global warming. But for those in school literacy is a major source of anxiety, stress, bullying and even worse.

One of the problems is the word Dyslexia, because that is derived from the Greek word dys- “bad, abnormal, difficult” + lexis “word.”  If they were called EPIC, it would be easier to contemplate EPIC students without the literacy challenges.  As we know that the appropriate way for these students is to learn using their visual strengths, #empoweringlearning, with word recognition for reading and visualising words for spelling, maybe the word Dyslexia is what should be challenged.

About olivehickmott

I am a Forensic Learning coach, showing people how they can improve their own learning and change their health. Working with creative neurodivergent students is a joy, as they learn new skills to overcome many of their learning challenges.
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3 Responses to Dyslexics don’t need to have poor literacy

  1. As someone whose reading series has been turned down by two University Press publishers because they say there is so much invested in phonic books they dare not take on a visually based reading scheme, I can tell you this the main problem. “If it does not work, just do it more and more and more,” seems to be the mantra. The Education department told me they were happy with the reading statistics in the UK and their introduction of phonics tests is working well to improve reading acquisition. So we have a broken system being promoted because of both government and business investment. Phonics has become a blind faith and the long term effects of this failure to accept there is an issue is letting down our kids. We now have parents who cannot support their children because they cannot read either.

    • Well said I totally agree. I have had the same response from the dfe recently. But why do I get evermore children referred to me who can’t spell, can’t do mental arithmetic and may or may not be able to read. We need are concerted effort in 2018 to break this lunacy

      • I am at bett this year on a DIT sponsored stand so I intend to publicise our message “If it is not working for kids, STOP doing it and try something different!” The dfe totally underestimate how much parents are doing to supplement this phonic craze. When I was doing reading improvement research in Essex schools, I asked an additional question about where the good readers had learned to break up words into syllables. ALL of them said they had learned at home and could also recognise the frequent words – they did not attempt to “sound them out” until they were stuck and then they were also able to match the word to one they recognised as similar in look ie the “rime”.

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