Many words in the English language are abstract and confusing for the dyslexic student. One major reason is that many words have multiple meanings. For instance, the word “back”. When you say “move back” or “stand back” are they the same thing? On a horse there is the physical position “back or backside of the horse” and then the “back of a horse” which is a part of the horse. The “back of a horse” is also the top. And just to be more confusing “we rode the horses back to the ranch”! How about the word “back” when it’s used in sports? “The “quarter-back” pulled his arm back to pass the ball back to the full-back” or to the “half-back“. Or body actions: “back hand”, “back flip”, “back step”, “backwards”. Then there is “back on track” and “back-track, “back from the dead” and “back the right man”.
The right-brained student must change words into concrete images first to understand them and then needs to know whether we are talking about a name, a direction, a position, an action, etc. So what do they see in each case of the word “back” given above? Do they understand the multiple meanings? If I asked you to stand in front of a chair and tell me which part of it is the “back” how do you know which meaning I’m looking for? Is it “the back of the chair” where you sit and lean back on or “back of the chair” (behind) or “the back of the front of the chair” or a “back rest”?
It is important to be clear with a dyslexic child or adult about the meaning of what we write or say. A right-brained person can interpret a statement or story in many ways and become easily confused and frustrated. So as a parent, teacher, tutor, friend or employer of a dyslexic be clear about what you are doing or asking them. They will be thankful, capable of understanding what is going on and consequently able to respond correctly.
What a crazy language we have! “Turn the clock back”, “back to the past”, “back-talk”, “backboard”, “back of the line”, “back to front”, “backing up”, “backer”.
Try other words such as “left” and play the game with a dyslexic person in your life. You will probably be surprised at how many you can think of.
Check us out at: www.dyslexiavictoria.ca