Can you consider that we have dyslexia the wrong way around?

Young children have a great skill for learning visually but many have not learned how to use this for words, the skill that fluent readers and spellers have developed naturally. The result, tests and assessments and much heartache for the child and the family. Then at the age of 7 they have a Dyslexia diagnosis. And what does that achieve? More of just the same teaching and more time in exams. It doesn’t take the lifetime of heartache, embarrassment, misery, etc away.

But after 22 years experience teaching Dyslexics to spell and read easily, based on the neuroscience and their strengths, it was obvious how to stop it happening. We were simply looking at the problem the wrong way around.

We know that phonics doesn’t work for every child, and for those creative, imaginative children who think differently from the way they are being taught in school, phonics creates learning difficulties.  But the government demands phonics only is taught from the Reception year.  (4-5-year-olds).

“It was just like magic, in 30 minutes on zoom my daughter learnt this skill”. Listen to Hana’s story here: htttps://

First lets help you understand visual learning, an essential skill for all sorts of things.

Visual learning is not visual teaching, where you show someone a picture; visual learning is about the mental image pictures you make up in your head.  They may be something you have seen before, known as memory (visual recall), or new ones you have created, known as imagination (visual construct).  Let’s look at some examples, all of which require the use of mental images:

  • To find things, recognise people, remember stories, draw letters, “great memory men”, and know when words look wrong.
  • To recall a story
  • To recall what letters look like and to recognise simple words
  • To write letters and words.
  • To picture a story you want to write.
  • To recognise and understand numbers.
  • Creative play
  • Innovation and curiosity

From research carried out by NASA[i], we know that small children are “Creative Geniuses.”  It is, therefore, unlikely that they have any problems visualising.  But it is worth encouraging them to talk about their pictures to grow up with this invaluable visual skill.

So is your child a creative genius? Do they have great pictures stored in their head? When you ask them about an event do they look up to access their visual memory. This is a fabulous skill.

Interested to learn more and how we can together stop Dyslexia happening, follow this blog next time or join one of my free online live classes at Scroll down to Ready to try a Different Strategy for Dyslexia.

[i] Nasa Research.

My name is Olive Hickmott; I would be pleased to support you in any way I can.
You are welcome to contact me
Here you will find my learning platform for some of my training programmes
You will find other useful information and Practitioner Training at
Here is my YouTube channel for more free resources:
My latest books are:
The Elephants in the Classroom: using every student’s natural power of Mental Imagery to enhance learning: Neurodiversity through the lens of mental Imagery.
Bridges to Success – How to transform Learning Difficulties

#dyslexia #dyslexiaforvisualkids #olivehickmott #visuallearning

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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1 Response to Can you consider that we have dyslexia the wrong way around?

  1. Linda says:

    I’m sure you are right, Olive. Sometimes it only takes a few moments to explain how the brain works and children can develop the skill of word recognition.

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