I was talking with a fellow worker recently about Dyslexia and how she believed she and her child were Dyslexic. She had gone through a formal testing process for herself and it was determined she wasn’t Dyslexic. They had no explanation for many of her issues, but she was not Dyslexic.
As we continued to chat I was very interested in the many personal characteristics of Dyslexia she had when describing herself. She had difficulty remembering names but she could remember faces, places and events with great detail. She was frustrated when she had to learn something presented in a sequence or step by step instructions with no overview (big picture) and no clear explanation of what she was learning and what it meant. She found “just memorizing” was of no value and didn’t “stick”. She could understand complicated math concepts but often could not write out the steps even though she knew the answer. Simple arithmetic was sometimes difficult and hard to remember unless she could visualize it with pictures in her mind such as groups of things like animals. Being “on time” or understanding what being on time meant or why it was necessary had always been an issue for her. She transposed numbers in sequences such as phone numbers. She didn’t like lists but she liked to draw out a plan. She liked helping people and found she was very effective with problem solving and intuition. But she is not Dyslexic.
She also told us about her daughter and a recent school project she was doing about dogs. When she looked at her daughter’s work she noticed that she had started out with the word “dog” and then on following pages she was writing “god”. But I’m sure her daughter is not Dyslexic either.
The view of many professionals is that “Dyslexia” is a general term for learning disabilities. However we find that all the Dyslexic children and adults we assess or talk to have the same list of strengths and issues and only vary on degree, are wonderful problem solvers and tend to be exceptionally intelligent and creative in one or more areas. They don’t have many of the problems that other children with learning disabilities possess and are different learners and thinkers in some very clear ways from the general population. But when tested they don’t have Dyslexia!