Saturday, March 13, 2010

Dyslexia - Thinking "inside" the box.

Executives spend thousands of Ringgit to attend courses given by management gurus to learn about “Thinking outside the box”. What an irony! The dyslexic children do this on a daily basis without having attended any of these courses and they do it at an early age. All my dyslexic students think outside the box. I had to teach them to learn to “Think inside the box”!

I had mentioned earlier that I have finished writing all that I wanted to write about dyslexia and that I am now concentrating on writing a book on “smart student”. Yesterday, however, my daughter Yazmin and I were talking about my first student John and how she missed not seeing him. He used to come to my house Monday to Saturday. On days when I had to go out on something urgent Yazmin used to take over the class with John. This article arose out of our discussion.

John is my only student who lives in the same housing estate as we do. As such Yazmin would meet her gang of friends including John at the basket ball court in our housing estate. Yazmin said that she used to show them card tricks and somehow John would always figure out how the trick was done. She said that she would also ask them to solve riddles and again John would outshine the others. I must add that a few of her gang members are two to three years older than John.

I have received many letters from parents from other parts of the world telling me about how well their dyslexic children do puzzles and how much quicker they are than others who are not dyslexic. Many of the things I have written in my blog are being confirmed by people from around the world.

When I read stories to John I would always stop mid-way or about three quarter-way and ask John what he thought would happen at the end. Believe me, he would guess the correct ending almost all the time.

After my talk with Yazmin I started thinking that this is exactly what Edward De Bono is talking about when he talks about ‘lateral thinking’. This is what all the management gurus talk about when they say ’Think outside the box’. I am sure many of those who go for these seminars on ‘thinking outside the box” come back and find it something difficult if not impossible to do. As such when it comes to ‘thinking outside the box’ what would the dyslexic say of those who are not dyslexic –“Learning Disabled?” This is something to think about.

Recently I saw an Indian movie where a jailed person said to his tormentor who was standing outside the jail, “From where I am standing, you seem to be the one in jail”. Compare this with the situation above.

I do hope the definition that dyslexics are ‘learning disabled’ will cease to exist. The definition should be changed to read ‘dyslexics have a preferential learning style’ – a learning style different from that of those who are not dyslexic.
And may God make things easy for all parents and children, with or without dyslexia.


Cindy Baumert said...

Please read about the "outside the box" work that we are doing in Louisville KY with a new approach to dyslexia at

We are a small non-profit and have had many interesting successes in the past four years. However, the mainstream politics have kept our operation limited to grassroots efforts spread by word of mouth. We would love to have you evaluate the RAD Prism with dyslexic people you know and let us know what you think. We have people all over the world who are using the RAD Prism, thanks to Youtube and the internet.

Luqman Michel said...

I have also written many letters to universities and associations in UK and US and I do not even get a response. I will look at your site and give you my views. I hope you will read my blog from the first blog up to the current blog.Wish you the best in your undertaking.

Luqman Michel said...

I just had a look at the site you suggested. I have successfully taught dyslexic children for more than 5 years without the aid of any equipment. Dyslexics just have a problem with orthographically inconsistent languages like English. That too can be easily overcome if taught in a manner suitable for dyslexic children. If you read my articles from the bottom up you will agree with my findings. Regards.

Unknown said...

It's the outside the box thinking that truly makes knowing a dyslexic amazing. My brother was taking apart tri-cycles at 4 and making them into these big wheel like contraptions before big wheels were invented!

Thinking outside the son dot's his i's and crosses his t's before he makes the vertical line down. Has done it for years, despite much handwriting instruction. Definitely, out of the box! He actually has more remarkable qualities and accomplishments than that, but just wanted to share that one.

Luqman Michel said...

You must be real proud of your brother. I am happy for you. Yes,there are many things that these children do which are amazing.If parents can see what they are capable of and guide them accordingly they will go a long way.