“Dyslexia” — the word itself is difficult to read. But for all the bad things you hear about dyslexia, there are some good things. It’s categorized as a “learning disorder” but there’s an upside of dyslexia too.

I have a son with dyslexia. I also have a husband with dyslexia. And now a granddaughter too. It’s important to look at the upside of dyslexia. Researchers have discovered a “gifted side” for those with dyslexia. My husband has always claimed that he can see the big picture in difficult engineering tasks. This was never acknowledged in school. He suffered with reading as a child, especially since no one recognized it as dyslexia. He says he never got out of those SRA books of the 1960s. He never got out of the lowest level. To tell you the truth, the SRA reading program was a poor way to introduce reading to anyone. I hated it.

SRA reading program of the 1960s

SRA reading page

SRA reading page

 

Many kids with undiagnosed dyslexia were made to feel stupid or slow. Many still feel that way. But they shouldn’t. They are gifted in other ways.

The word “Dyslexia” comes from the German root dys (difficult) + Greek lexis (speech)

It’s a general term for disorders that involve difficulty in learning to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols. (p, d and b all look the same). It’s like looking at a chair, held upside down, lifted into the air. No matter which way it is held, it’s still a chair. That’s why the p, d and b all look the same to the dyslexic.

It has nothing to do with intelligence. In fact, many have a high IQ and are gifted in the arts and sciences. Look at the likes of Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison and Leonardo de Vinci.

Here’s the good news:
Research has found that people with dyslexia have an enhanced peripheral vision; it’s called absorbing the “visual gist”. They see images in the periphery that are missed by regular people.
This gift enables the dyslexic to solve difficult images faster (like the images of Escher, that depicts impossible pictures of stairs or flowing
 water).
 The upside of dyslexia
the upside of dyslexia

Another study found that graduate students with dyslexia can learn and make use of difficult astronomical images whereas non-dyslexic students were unable to catch on. They concluded that dyslexics may be superior learners.

Dyslexics also tend to be more curious, creative, and intuitive than average. They tend to be highly aware of the environment, inventive, and good at real world tasks. Their special mode of thought also produces the gift of mastery: once they have learned something experientially, they understand it on such a deep level that they know how to do things intuitively without thinking about how. (ref)

Some parents of dyslexic kids didn’t appreciate this new discovery, mainly because of the struggle to help their kids learn to read. (New York Times) From my perspective, most public schools are not adept at teaching kids with dyslexia, and that’s one reason I homeschooled my son. I worked with him for years, using many programs, and we avoided all scenarios of failure. We had success. I never labeled him dyslexic, and he never knew he was dyslexic. In fact, he didn’t believe me when at college, I told him had dyslexia. He had learned to read at his pace, and by second grade he was an avid reader. And now I can appreciate his other talents of creativity and visual gist.
See the available programs we used for dyslexia here.