Friday, July 13, 2012

Tom Cruise - Dyslexics can be taught to read

I have come back after a very long absence from blogging. I hope to write here again when I find some interesting things to write or comment on.

No one who has seen Jerry Maguire, The Last Samurai, mission Impossible or Top Gun would believe that Tom Cruise struggles with reading. He always seems to deliver his lines flawlessly.

Cruise says he was diagnosed as dyslexic at seven, and tried to hide his learning disability from the other children at school. He has described his younger self as "a functional illiterate", through high school and his first several films. Explaining how such a functionally illiterate man can possibly make a good impression at auditions, Cruise said, "I'd get the director and producer to talk about the characters and the film. I'd glean information from them and I'd use that... I got pretty good at ad-libbing".

Cruise had said that he was often anxious, frustrated and bored as a youth and couldn't concentrate in class. “When I’d go to a new school, I wouldn’t want the other kids to know about my learning disability, but then I’d be sent off to remedial reading.”

He still had the problem at age 22 while making “Top Gun” — the movie that made him an international superstar. He said, "Many people had tried to teach me, but no-one had taught me how to learn or how to study", until he used L. Ron Hubbard's  learning method.

Experts in the study of dyslexia declare that the 40 million individuals with dyslexia cannot be cured nor is Scientology the method to treat it. J.Thomas Viall, Executive director of the International Dyslexia Association, maintains, “I’m not aware of any research that supports the teaching of the Church of Scientology as a successful intervention for dyslexia.” 

Viall's statements are underlined by Philip Pasho, who is executive director of the National Dyslexic Foundation “Dyslexia is a condition and conditions don’t get ‘cured’ — they get dealt with.
Viall, of the International Dyslexia Association, said he’s concerned “when an individual of the prominence of Tom Cruise makes statements that are difficult to replicate in terms of what science tells us.”

I have a few comments and questions and would appreciate any comments and answers from you, my readers.

If Tom Cruise could read after the age of 22 when he was functionally illiterate prior to that then it clearly goes to prove that a dyslexic can be taught to read if taught in a way appropriate to him. Tom Cruise need not have been functionally illiterate until after the age of 22 if he had met the many teachers who teach dyslexic children when he was in primary school.

The study technique used by L.Ron Hubbard could well be the same as the method I have successfully used over the 8 years teaching dyslexic students. There are many teachers around the world who have successfully taught dyslexics to read and they too could be teaching in a manner similar to Ron Hubbard. The fact is ‘dyslexics can be taught to read’.

If many teachers and I could teach dyslexics to learn to read then we have replicated the statements made by Tom Cruise. So, what does Viall mean when he says he is concerned “when an individual of the prominence of Tom Cruise makes statements that are difficult to replicate in terms of what science tells us.” Where does science tell us that dyslexics cannot be taught to read? 

What do the professors who say that dyslexics cannot read because they have a 'Phonological awareness deficit' have to say about Tom Cruise and the thousands of other dyslexics who learn to read when taught in a way suitable to dyslexics? What actually happens to the dyslexics phonological awareness deficit when teachers like me teach them?

I am not aware of any research that supports the theory that dyslexics cannot be taught to read.


Usethebrains Godgiveyou said...

I was a special ed teacher. I wouldn't have had a clue how to teach a dyslexic child to read. I didn't have the first clue about visual learners, and I "hoped" I wouldn't get any in my classes. Ninety percent of special ed classes for learning difference children are visual learners. Duh...

Then, I had a son who was a visual learner.

I studied L.Ron Hubbards book which I found in a Goodwill. (The universe works in mysterious ways.) I checked out Tom Cruise's interviews on his dyslexia.

I can almost see why Cruise is so loyal to his church. His own mother was a Special Ed teacher...

Luqman Michel said...

Thank you for your comment.Hardly anyone takes the trouble to comment. This is what I look forward to when I write my messages to share what I have learnt with people around the world who are interested in dyslexia.

Many people write of dyslexics being visual learners. I believe that this means they will not do as well when a test is done orally. Please correct me if I am wrong.

I however see articles where children are tested verbally on 'phonological awareness' by asking what sound would 'cat' make if we take out the "Ke" sound.

My question is: How will this child fare? Would it not be sufficient to just write a list of words like, bat, cat, fat, hat, mat,pat, sat and ask the child to read them? That is what I do and all my students read these words perfectly.

Wish you well and again thank you for your comment.

Anonymous said...

Folks, There is a simple way to teach all normal children to read. It consists simply in getting kids to be able to write the entire 26 letters of the alphabet at a minimum rate of 40 letters per minute. This is easily attainable if teachers understand the need and have a wristwatch with a second hand.

For a four-page MS Word manuscript describing our on-line teacher meta-analysis proving this point, email Bob (me) at

Luqman Michel said...

Thank you Bob. You may write an article on this and e-mail to me and I'll post it here for my readers.
Have a nice day.