Monday, 30 June 2014

Why Do Dyslexics Struggle With Reading And Spelling And Yet Have A High IQ? by Dyslexia Dublin, ©

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The left side of the brain has evolved slightly slower than the right side… the left giving us the ability to decipher such things as the written and, in some part, the spoken word.  This side of the brain is very analytical and linear in its approach to life as a whole… many in education and politics would be linear thinkers and, as a result, it is enormously important in certain areas of employ.

We fill our minds one way or another by gleaning both information and knowledge from others, during our early years to our last breath, through many sources… parents/carers, teachers/educators, family/friends and later in the workplace and personal research through reading, listening, etc.

‘Innate’ is the ability within… we all have the ability to improve by simply building on what we already know about ourselves and the world around us.  Our ability to retain information is in some part down to innate intelligence.

Simply learning a process, be it from early years or as a child/adult, we need to tap in or practice our new skill to increase our personal skill set.  Dyslexics, dyscalculics and many dyspraxics need to practice and very much need to over learn every new skill and indeed all the skills they have already mastered… it’s rather like the guy spinning the plates when one is spinning another is nearly ready to fall, it’s about keeping practising to keep the skill level up.

We need to learn to the style that suits our brains strengths.

The right brain is known to be very much a creative area, its benefits are very much holistic/3D thinking and that is why we tend to be extremely intelligent, even though we struggle with certain left brained skills like reading, writing and learning languages.  Put us in an art or drama class and stand back and watch us fly! We can often leave our left brained counterparts for dead in this environment and for this reason we need to graft all our learning to our stronger right side.

How do we do this?

We need to be taught in a very stimulating multi-sensory/kinaesthetic style that will be retained with greater ease than note taking, be it verbally or visually from the whiteboard.  Students need to feel the subject and engage with it.  We must remember that we survived on this planet for thousands of years, pre reading and writing.  Why?... because we had a very strong right sided problem solving area of the brain.  This makes dyslexics some of the biggest players in business today… the ability to think of alternatives, and look at the situation holistically.

We throw our teachers and, on occasions, our friends and peers due to this innate ability.  If we can turn situations on their head and display an exceptional long term memory, then we must simply be labouring over reading, writing and spelling?  Not so, way off target… they use the left linear side, which is not our best, so we have to think and learn in a different way.  Afford us this and we will surprise many!

We mentioned good long term memory; however our short term suffers through many things including learning style and, as a result… stimulation, during the learning process.

Memory in particular, or working memory, is as mentioned weak in those that are right brained and have problems as comprehension seekers.  Our working memory/recall is one of the main components within the cognitive process.  This function allows the storage of relevant and sometimes non-relevant information for a limited time whilst studying the required skill set. However it’s not just limited to our study programs, we use this in so many activities, including reading, writing and two-way conversations and also in problem solving.

Reading is a great way to improve our short term, working memory and recall as it’s one of few things that require our brain to build text throughout the passage of writing until it creates meaning.  However, the down side is the longer it takes to read (fluency) the more of a struggle it becomes… we can end up reading something and are then unable to recall the story line due to having poor spelling ability and breaking words down to such a degree that all we remember are bits of words and not complete sentences, thus giving a loss of meaning and huge frustration on the part of the reader, especially if the teacher/tutor prompts you for your opinion or input on the book in front of others . It is extremely important to have material available that suits the learner, they have to see a relevance to the subject/book…dyslexics tend to be very factual and their books should reflect this.

 We can therefore state that there is a relationship between working memory, our word recognition, fluency and our knowledge of vocabulary.  So what does this all mean and how can we improve?

 It’s very much like the chicken and the egg… accuracy of speech improves spelling and the better we can spell, the easier it is to read and the faster words are recognised.  This in turn puts less constraint on working memory to access those words and their meanings… giving us far greater retention rates in an area that we would normally struggle with.  It helps to make a story come alive by thinking of you or your friends as the very characters you are reading about (visualisation)… this helps us by stimulating us and this improves our retention of both the written and spoken word.

However, these days we need to be high academic achievers as proving yourself on paper has become a necessary evil for all scholars, so we need that harmonisation between both fact and analysis (our intellect) and demonstrating knowledge through creativity (intelligence)... and we have the later in abundance.  We are very good at improving our skill sets, so contrary to what many believe, we will survive and we can create other skill sets from what we already know.


See three dimensionally.

Have great long term memories.

Construct things from visualisation.

Are highly connected to their immediate environment.

Use past images to repeat processes.

Have a higher than normal degree of curiosity.

Are very picture driven (not text or verbal)

Are very kinaesthetic learners.

Are extremely practical and artistic.

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