Saturday, November 6, 2010

Dyslexia myth

One of the blog writers had written the following in her blog:

“Myth 5: People with dyslexia see things backwards.

Fact: Dyslexia is not caused by a vision problem, although reading difficulties very often are. Children need to have their eyes (and ears) checked regularly – and if there is a reading problem make sure the optometrist knows this. There are lots of exercises and strategies that can be used. If these sort the reading problem out, then the difficulty is not likely to be dyslexia.

Yes, they often reverse b/d, p/q, 6/9, 2/5, m/w and muddle ‘was’ and ‘saw’. But that’s caused by sequencing and directional confusion and working memory difficulties.”

My comment on her blog was not allowed by her and I am therefore writing my comment here for my readers. My comment was to try and explain why the statement that dyslexics see things backward is a myth.

Children learn a lot of things as they grow. We teach them about all the things around us. For instance we tell them that a car is a car when the child sees it from the front. We call it a car when we see it from either side. Again it is called a car when we see it from behind. If we are standing on a tall building and see a car below us we tell the child that it is a car while seeing the top of the car. Similarly a book is a book regardless of from what angle we see it.

The child goes to kindergarten when he is 5 or 6 years old and begins to learn his alphabets. He is now taught the letter ‘b’. He has no problem learning that. The confusion arises when the letter ‘b’ is turned the other way around and he is taught that this is the letter‘d’. It sounds almost the same as the letter ‘b’ and he also remembers that a car is a car regardless of the angle he sees it from. A few days later the teacher turns the letter upside down and calls it ‘p’ and finally turns ‘p’ to face another direction and calls it ‘q’.

I have seen many children, dyslexic or otherwise who are confused by some of these letters including m/w and words such as was/saw and numbers 6/9. They outgrow this confusion usually by end of primary 2.

As such it is not correct to classify a child as dyslexic just by this criterion alone.


Stephanie said...

That is a great thing to post. Many people think that misconception.

Luqman Michel said...

Thank you Stephanie. Many authors on dyslexia just copy what has been written ages ago and say dyslexics see things the other way around. Many non dyslexic students whom I have taught also have this problem in the initial stages. They out grow it after sometime.

Aileen hanrahan said...

I still mix up u/n sometimes on my mobile, and z/w gets confused too. I can't always be sure what is right way round, where is up, sideways, down. But in visual perception we process the where a thing is from the what a thing is, and in the mapping of the two together there are anomalies, suggesting a set of possible alternatives. The opportunity for a variety of answers is what causes stress on my processing, in my view, because it interferes with my future -ongoing processing by distracting my attention in questions over possibilities. That is my experience. I've had to train myself not to devote too much unnecessary energy to this type of error checking attitude. But then concentrating on my automatic pilot mode is hard too without being interrupted by fear of constant errors. But that has not stopped me succeeding. Are there two cc's there?

Aileen hanrahan