Are you struggling to understand dyslexia?
If you are finding it hard to understand ‘dyslexia’, don’t worry, you’re not alone! For over a hundred years, countless numbers of professionals, from a range of backgrounds, have tried to make sense of this somewhat awkward condition, and so far, despite all of their very best efforts, have not been able to fully understand the ‘mystery’ of dyslexia.
Similarly, over this period of time, millions of parents have experienced considerable confusion whilst trying to understand the condition causing their child’s difficulties with words.
And finally, of course, for over a hundred years, millions of dyslexics have grappled to understand the very condition that they themselves are experiencing. So, as you can see, you really are not alone!
One reason why ‘dyslexia’ has been little understood
When lots of professionals, from different backgrounds, look for answers to explain something ‘tricky’ like dyslexia they generally come up with explanations that are influenced by their own profession.
For instance, an optician trying to understand the cause of dyslexia would most probably argue that it has something to do with the dyslexic person’s eyes. A neurologist would probably say that it has something to do with the dyslexic person’s brain. Whereas someone from an educational background, perhaps a teacher, might suggest that it has something to do with the dyslexic person’s lack of ability to differentiate between certain sounds. It’s understandable that professionals do this, looking at things from their professional standpoint is what they do best.
Now there isn’t anything wrong with there being so many professionals, from different backgrounds, looking for answers to dyslexia. In fact it’s a good thing, as the more people searching for answers, the more chance there is of finding some. However, the downside to this is, that whilst the search is going on, some confusion is caused as there are lots of theories flying about, with not one of them having been proven to be correct. This obviously leads to there being a lack of general understanding as many people don’t know what to believe.
Another reason why ‘dyslexia’ has been little understood
Another reason why there is very little understanding about dyslexia is that it is a condition that shows itself in many different ways. For example, some dyslexic people may find that they experience difficulties with reading and writing, whilst other dyslexics might find that their ok with reading and that their main difficulties lie with writing. Others might be experiencing difficulties with remembering what they have just read; whilst others find that they have no difficulties at all with remembering what they set their minds to remember. So, as can be seen not all dyslexics experience the same difficulties. This has made it a ‘hard’ and ‘confusing’ condition to understand not just for many professionals but for lots of dyslexics too.
Adding to the confusion is that many dyslexics experience lots of other difficulties that are not just to do with reading and writing. For instance, there are dyslexics who find that they have difficulties with coordination, balance, sense of direction, putting things in sequence, structuring ideas, expressing ‘thoughts’ using spoken language, or difficulties with keeping a sense of time, or difficulties remembering dates, names, and faces. There are lots and lots of other things too, however, the point that is being made here is that with there being such a range of difficulties being experienced by some dyslexics and not others makes it harder to understand ‘exactly’ what dyslexia is.
Yet another reason why ‘dyslexia’ has been little understood
Adding even more confusion to the situation is that some dyslexics, under the weight of the difficulties that they are experiencing, end up with low self-esteem, low levels of confidence, a poor sense of worth or become depressed, etc. As a result of such negative states of mind many dyslexics withdraw from trying to overcome their difficulties with reading and writing (and the other difficulties mentioned above) or give up completely. This leads to many dyslexics not developing their skills in reading and writing or the other areas mentioned earlier. This results in a mixture of dyslexic difficulties and poor skills ability being jumbled up together.
Dyslexia is not that easy to understand because there are so many angles to it. We described a few of them here. First we looked at why there are so many different perspectives of dyslexia which if you remember has to do with professionals from different backgrounds creating theories that are influenced by their way of looking at things. Also, we touched briefly on how dyslexia shows itself in different ways, with some people having difficulties with reading and writing whilst others may find that they experience difficulties in only one of these areas. Adding to this, we explained that some dyslexics experience other difficulties such as poor coordination, difficulties structuring ideas etc. And, finally to make things harder to understand there’s the issue of dyslexic difficulties and poor skills ability being jumbled up together in some cases. All of these things have made dyslexia a difficult condition to understand.
Dyslexia Coach and Co-founder of Dyslexic Brian