October is Dyslexia awareness month and as such I have decided to write a series of articles to assist parents as well as educators on this topic!

What is dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a functional problem, not a structural problem. It can thus be said that the wiring of the brain is different to a person that does not have dyslexia.  There is no magic cure, no pill, no promise of taking it away. Coping mechanisms and correction techniques to assist with the tedious task of reading and writing can be learnt. Dyslexic learners may benefit from remedial programmes that have been developed especially with their strengths and weaknesses in mind.

Dyslexia and Intelligence:

Society perceives the ability to read and write of utmost importance to be successful. Reading and writing is often used as measures to decide whether a child is intelligent or not. There is however no correlation between intelligence and dyslexia.  Individuals with dyslexia are neither more nor less intelligent than the general population. There is a discrepancy on between verbal and non-verbal IQ on IQ tests (more about this in the article about dyslexia diagnosis).  But some say the way individuals with dyslexia think can actually be an asset in achieving success. Some very successful dyslexics include: Orlando Bloom, Tom Cruise, Keanu Reeves Richard Branson, Henry Ford, Walt Disney – to name a few.

Although learners with dyslexia find reading and writing challenging, they have other amazing attributes such as:

  • Being highly aware of their environment
  • Thinking in pictures and not in words
  • Are very creative and have vivid imaginations
  • They think and perceive with all their senses
  • Being very intuitive and insightful
Picture thinkers:

Research indicates that there are two types of learners. Learners who think using letters and words and learners who think using pictures. Who do you think performs better academically with our current education system? Yes!  Letters and words thinkers have the advantage that many schools still mainly use textbooks and e-books. Textbooks contain very little teacher instruction and visual aids such as videos or pictures. Dyslexics are picture thinkers, but not all picture thinkers are dyslexic. Dyslexic learners are able to create pictures in the mind of objects that are being discussed. They struggle to decode written words and make sense of them.

Signs and Symptoms:

As dyslexics signs and symptoms overlap quite a bit with those of ADD, ADHD and anxiety disorders, many dyslexics are misdiagnosed. They are seen day dreaming or become fidgety when they are required to read or write. More on the symptoms and signs of Dyslexia in a follow up post. The first post is dyslexia in a nutshell with more informative and detailed posts to follow.

During Dyslexia awareness month, Little Genius will provide articles and links for parents and teachers that aim to clarify what dyslexia is, what symptoms to watch out for, how to get a diagnosis and what happens after a diagnosis has been received.