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Dyslexic Brian’s View of Dyslexia (Part 1)

As a result of the way dyslexia is currently being viewed, many people within society, i.e. those within medicine, education, employment, and within the general population, regard ‘dyslexic’ people as ‘broken’ and in need of ‘fixing’ in some way.

For instance, some ‘medics’ believe that dyslexia stems from a ‘defect’ or ‘deficit’ that exists within the ‘dyslexic’ individual’s brain, whilst others believe it to be caused by some form of malfunctioning’ within the ‘dyslexic’ individual’s eyes. Some within education, i.e. academics and teachers, hold the view that dyslexia has something to do with the ‘dyslexic’ individual’s ‘inability’ to distinguish between certain letter sounds. Some employers believe that ‘dyslexic’ individual’s have ‘sub-standard’ intelligence and therefore not worth employing as they will be a liability to their company or organisation. And finally, many people within the general population regard ‘dyslexic’ people as ‘uneducated’, not ‘normal’, ‘thick’ or even ‘stupid’.  

At Dyslexic we do not regard ‘dyslexic’ people to be ‘broken’, ‘abnormal’ or in need of ‘fixing’ in any way what so ever.

Rather, we believe that ‘dyslexic’ people are individuals who may have a natural orientation to express themselves using a non-word based medium, such as art, music, dance, mime, sport, etc.

Just as some individuals have a natural orientation to use their right hand rather than their left one, we believe that some individuals have a natural orientation to use one (or all) of the mediums mentioned above instead of using written language to express themselves.

Just as it is perfectly ‘normal’ to be either right or left handed we believe it to be perfectly ‘normal’ to be ‘dyslexic’. We believe therefore, that ‘dyslexia’ is caused as a result of such individuals being forced to use their non-preferred medium (e.g. written language) to try and express themselves with.

Looking at dyslexia in this way, we can easily say that ‘much’ has been made of ‘nothing’, which is exactly what we are saying! Just as left or right handedness isn’t viewed as an issue then nor should dyslexia be. And yet, at one point in our history, and as ludicrous as this may seem nowadays, left handedness was seen to be just as big an issue as dyslexia is.

Many people within society believed that left handed people were possessed by the devil. Within education left handed children were punished and forced to write with their right hands. Left handed children were picked on and bullied and left handed adults were mistrusted within society. (Incidentally, the word ‘sinister’ derives from the Latin word ‘sinistra’ which means ‘left’. Thankfully, being left handed is not seen in this way anymore. Unfortunately though, the issue of dyslexia still is!

However, whilst the phenomenon of dyslexia is being framed in the way that it is, (i.e. as a condition that exists within the individual) then the negative effects of this view on the ‘dyslexic’ individual can be profound. For example, if a ‘dyslexic’ person believes that they are ‘broken’ and not ‘normal’ then this may limit their ability to reach their true potential.

'Dyslexic Brian’s View of Dyslexia (Part 1)' have 1 comment

  1. October 6, 2009 @ 7:26 pm Elaine Doffman

    I too am dyslexic, although I didn’t realize until I was 30, even though I was a trained primary teacher! I now support dyslexic students at university. I always say to my students:
    Dyslexics are not disabled, society disables us- the system is based on reading and writing which is probably last on the list of preferred learning style for us!

    Unfortunately, in my experience, educators are still the most difficult people to convince on this one and there is definitely a prejudice against dyslexic teachers.


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