• Dog Loves Dyslexia – October Month is Dyslexia Awareness

    October 7, 2011 1:46 am 9 comments
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  • As a mom of two gifted and dyslexic children, the start of the public school year is a time to don the game face and begin enduring the feckless advice from other mothers, teachers and not so well wishers. On days that it becomes too much, the mantra is “I mustn’t kick this woman in the vagina.” On better days, I can see people nervously grabbing phones and ducking under desks as I approach the glass enclosed front office of the school. Love truly is a battlefield.

    Living with dyslexia is one of life’s quaint satirical comedies on the hypocrisy of the US educational system. It is estimated that 15-20% of the population has text decoding or phonemic awareness issues, difficulty reading, are slow readers and yet have average to above average intelligence. Less than half receive help in public school if at all and may become acclimated to a liberal entitlement culture if they do.

    It is the striking contrast of standardized test performance to actual intelligence that seems to cause the greatest difficulty in the short term, yet yields the greatest benefit in the long run for dyslexics. The irony here is that for those high intelligence dyslexics that need help in the federal education department’s standardized no child left behind liberally biased indoctrination into American society don’t receive it, yet may end up being the free thinking innovators that change it.

    Several sources cite the disproportionate number of dyslexics in the fields of medicine, the arts, business, Law and the sciences. Many struggle through school, barely get in to college and only then receive help. After years of brain calisthenics strengthening long term memory, honing classification skills and developing visualization ability to compensate in an environment that caters to non-dyslexics, that little helpful push is like an academic atom bomb. It helps to remember that high school guidance counselor that suggested ditch digging as a career path is not the Oracle of Delphi.

    What is Dyslexia?

    Many educators and parents are confused by the definition of dyslexia. Most people think it is just the reversal of letters or transposition of numbers that poses the greatest difficulty for those gifted with the disorder. Dyslexia studies reveal much more.

    For many dyslexic individuals, the decoding of text into phonemic (speech sounds) word parts is challenging due to the genetic wiring of the brain. Most phonetic methods used in US public schools are text to speech, not speech to text which increases the learning curve slope for dyslexics. The dyslexic sees the text as letters, but requires greater cognitive effort than the non-dyslexic to decode the text into speech. The phonemic or word parts do not register. Identifying the sound difference (beginning, middle, end) between the spoken words like “subject” and “suggest” is very difficult because the words are interpreted as a whole. Rhyming is difficult. Like color blindness, the dyslexic is word blind. Brain scan studies show that the dyslexic brain uses nearly 5 times more brain area for decoding the written word than non-dyslexics.

    Primary and Secondary school becomes a daily brain triathlon for the dyslexic. They are often erroneously labeled as slow or low performers. Dyslexics are often troubled and suffer bullying from classmates. The challenged child must juggle admonishments of teachers, siblings and uninformed parents to stop being ‘lazy’ when in fact the child is working as hard and fast as he or she can to compensate for his word blindness. This can lead to further social ostracism and challenges for the child’s self esteem and worth. Authentic support for the dyslexic is crucial.

    My oldest child’s third grade teacher wrote “Faler” as a grade on the top of one of his tests. His teacher found this very amusing and worthy of guffaws during a parent-teacher meeting. I saw this educator recently at the grocery store. She seemed suddenly rushed to leave when she spotted me. I suspect she has a touch of incontinence.

    What Can Be Done to Cure Dyslexia?

    Dyslexia has no known cure and is commonly viewed as a cluster of medically diagnosed symptoms for which there is an educational method response. Every kid is different. Symptoms vary, depending on the compensating controls the child has developed and severity of the condition. It is crucial parents get the child tested to identify the scope and breath of the problem.

    Learning disability classes are available per federal mandate in the US, but teacher and school officials will not typically tell parents that a child is dyslexic because it is a medical condition that requires a medical diagnosis. Some will outright deny that dyslexia exists or ‘misplace’ written requests for the federally supported right to state paid diagnostic testing. Equally as suspicious, outside tutors will almost gleefully try to sell parents a ‘cure’. Both deserve thoughtful investigation, maybe a stink eye or legal action.

    If placed in learning disability classrooms, the dyslexic child is paired with those that may also have other developmental or behavioral problems. Some learning disability teachers have wildly varied teaching and discipline techniques like placing cotton balls soaked in vinegar in student’s mouths. A child’s special needs might not always be addressed appropriately. This ‘solution’ takes a great toll on many students. Parents should fully investigate their school district’s offerings as a match to the child’s needs before accepting special services.

    One does not ‘overcome’ dyslexia, but rather develops elaborate compensating systems for the differences in the brain’s physical wiring for decoding. Oddly enough it is the construction of these systems that blur the definition of disability in many cases because when developed well in a gifted child the dyslexic brain is without creative boundaries. Parents can help their children tap into the power of dyslexia by keeping these free thinkers pumping mental iron and promoting feelings of accomplishment.


    It is important that parents deal with dyslexia rather than the liberal educational system. We must remember the dyslexic is a creative thinking time bomb, we do not wish to fuel it with liberal bias and the “oh whoa is me” mentality that permeates educators and unions. Depression is a symptom for children whose issues are not addressed in a positive manner. It is important parents watch this in the dyslexic child.

    Where does dyslexia come from? Why is it a gift?

    Dyslexia has been identified as originating on the third chromosome. Geneticists agree that dyslexia is passed from one generation to the next. Education does not create dyslexia; it only provides the round holes the dyslexic square peg cannot assimilate to with ease. Learning to fit into these round holes might sound like a good idea, but in the end do you really want your child to be a cookie cutter image of every other child?

    The mental and psychological stress from years of struggling to meet the guidelines of a seemingly stacked deck can result in a young adult who has exceptional verbal communication skills, creative problem solving processes and a proclivity for never giving up or giving in when handled properly. Failure is not the end destination for dyslexic free thinkers with positive influences.

    “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
    ― Thomas A. Edison, dyslexic

    Once freed from formal educational constraints intended to teach the 70% average population, the dyslexic with a carefully honed compensating skill set is likely to be a high achiever in life. As parents, we started this problem by passing on the gene. It is up to parents to address the challenge. Thomas Edison, prolific inventor, dyslexic and public school drop out, was homeschooled after one of his teachers called him ‘addled’. “My mother was the making of me. She was so true, so sure of me; and I felt I had something to live for, someone I must not disappoint.” I believe that Mrs. Edison was a tiger mom that may have had one or two educators scurrying from her path in the grocery store.

    The dyslexic tiger moms and dads are out there, along with hope for every child facing the challenges, satire and irony of dyslexia. Just because you don’t read or spell as well as the other kids, doesn’t mean you won’t out earn, out achieve and outpace them – Unless of course, your mom hates you or is a self aggrandizing whore. Only a mother with such qualities would give up on her child’s future.


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    About The Author
    Blanche Beecham "Blanche Beecham lends a soft, learned hand to the fourth estate with incite-full investigations on diverse topics such as Politics, Love, and Lifestyle. Her many years experience as a wife, mother, ladies book club president and financial auditor make her well suited to ferreting out the truth and giving it a sound shake." - Rev. Jackson Lee Whitebelley, Publisher and Editor of "The Incubator" - Follow me on Twitter! @BLANCHEBEECHAM

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