December 14, 2013

What dyslexia is and isn’t

I guess as long as I am reading this stuff on the internet – I have stopped buying books on the subject ages ago – I will continue to write about the subject of dyslexia.

Let’s start with what dyslexia is not!

Dyslexia is not a neurological condition.

Dyslexia is not a learning disability.

We don’t “overcome” dyslexia.

Dyslexia is not a “condition”.

Dyslexia is not a medical term.

Dyslexia is not a problem unless we make it one.

We don’t get rid of a label that we mean, even though we are not using the word “dyslexia”.

Now let’s ask a few questions we normally don’t think of asking:

Why do children all have to learn to read and write at a specific age and at a specific pace?

Why do children have to start school at age 6 (or 5 in some countries)?

Why isn’t the school system totally re-evaluating its structure to fit ALL students’ needs and learning styles?

Why are we labeling children (and adults) according to what the rest of us think of as “normal”?

How do we explain that many dyslexics DO read and write well, correctly and fluently?

How come there are NO two dyslexics alike and yet we have a condition which places all dyslexics in the same basket, teaching them in the same methods, generalizing as if individuality does not exist?

Even the term “dyslexia” is one that was invented through the belief that it is a learning difficulty, which has to do with reading and writing… something that has never yet been seriously doubted.

Some unconventional ideas as to what dyslexia REALLY is!

It is a whole different way of thinking that has little or nothing to do with the usual rational, linear, analytical and categorizing mind.

It is the gateway to the Higher Self or the super-conscious mind, when cultivated and used appropriately.

It is a holistic outlook on life, which seems chaotic to the “norm” but is not. That is why dyslexic people are creative, intuitive, sensitive, imaginative.

This way of thinking has its own “structure” and way of doing things that often seems irrational but “gets the job done”.

It is a way of thinking based on substance and not symbols, meaning rather than appearances, holistic and not partial perception.

Time for the dyslexic mind is not linear, thus the "problem" with past and future. The basic and most important time is NOW... shouldn't we be living in the present moment?

I have been “dyslexic” all my life and yet that label says absolutely nothing about me. I can read perfectly, actually with no “special training” because when I was growing up the term was completely unknown. I might be a little slower in reading than many others, but why should I be in a hurry? If people knew what goes on in a dyslexic brain/mind while they are reading, believe me they would be eager to learn the method.

I can write correctly and express my ideas efficiently (I’m sure this is evident), although I can and do make many spelling mistakes when I am too focused on meaning and context, which I am able to correct, if not immediately, then after I've read what I’ve written. Believe it or not I am a teacher and I teach my students how to correct themselves. You see, for us dyslexics, spelling/syntax and context/meaning are two different “jobs” and will remain so.

I can see patterns and underlying meaning where others are stuck on appearances and specific surface viewpoints. I am intuitive and very sensitive to others. I want the whole picture before I am willing to focus on the parts and I want a reason for doing something or I don’t do it.

I often lose myself in shops and usually go out in the wrong direction. If I’m not careful, I’ll lose my car or my keys or my glasses, but I’ve taught myself how to be punctual, efficient and organized in my own way. If someone cleans my office besides myself (when I want to) I won’t be able to find anything and I become very frustrated.

I forget names, dates, birthdays and unimportant (to me) things. But I have a “built in” linear time clock that warns me of things that I need to remember, when I need to remember them. The “coincidences” in my life (which I call synchronicities), can fill a whole book of “magical” occurrences, which the system would find very hard to believe, being stuck on surface thinking.

Last but not least, I have managed to raise three children (27, 22 and 6 years old), I have been to college, went to university, got a Master’s Degree, I have written a book, I have taught English to Greek students, I teach dyslexic adults how to use their whole mind, I work with parents of dyslexic children, teaching them what the REALITY of dyslexia is and how they can – finally – learn to understand their child, by going within their own mind and observing their child in the process. I unschool my youngest child and discovering in the process how ALL children REALLY learn the natural way. I also teach many teenagers and adults how to be self-sufficient, their own expert, their own guide, their own healer, their own psychologist… how to tap into their own wisdom and knowledge. More than anything, I am a passionate learner who never stops reading, learning and discovering new ways to help anyone who is ready to think outside the box, to become the unique individual that each of us is.

They system is still very far from knowing what “dyslexia” really is! We surely don’t need any more “boxes” to place people in. We need to start seeing the individual and re-think our methods, our thinking patterns and start using our whole brain/mind.


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