Should Dyslexia be labeled a learning disability?

Hello everyone, I'm a new member so I thought I'd say hello! It's great that such things like this site exists and it's great to hear people's views on their challenges in all aspects of people's life and thought I should throw my blog into the hat for the first time! :-)

I struggled at school and like most people with dyslexia in the early years when I was at primary school was told I was "slow", "behind" "didn't listen", and consequently was held back a year when all of my class mates moved up a year... which was a terrible knock to my confidence.

You know, it's funny because at that time I was around 8 years old and only realised when I was in my late teens of how much it had affected my overall confidence. But it was very unconscious at that time. I never got formally diagnosed with dyslexia, because in those days... it didn't exist!

You were simple told... "this one's thick", or... "not very bright" and, although it's not as bad in today's society, in my school days (right up to leaving) I was just told I was thick and in secondary school attended a "special needs" class once a week to be told how to learn how to spell DOG! (Whoof!!)

I didn't really do something about it until I was 23, when I met my magnificent partner who was/is "brainy" in my biased opinion... she got all A's, and was studying law at the time... (I had great fun reading her material lol) It was only until I started to write things on the pc, or letters in which my partner started to realise I had some problems with spelling and reading and writing... in fact, all the usual stuff associated with dyslexia. However, through real hard work and from all the help in the word, my partner, helped me and I got better and better and better, and practiced, practiced and practiced. Although, I have to say I am still not perfect (who is??) at spelling, but much better overall!

I've since got a degree in medical and clinical hypnotherapy and I am a NLP (neuro linguistic programing) and trainer of it. Since I've worked in NLP I've learnt that most people with dyslexia are simply using the wrong strategy to learn... and it's not really about having a learning disability, it's just about using the wrong strategy and teachers can't or won't use different modalities to teach the right strategy, to the right pupil.

Because either the teacher doesn't know what their pupils modality strengths are or they just can't do it or the teacher teaches to their own modality strength... for example, the teaches learnt best auditory, so they will teach a pupil in an auditory way and mismatch the pupils learning modality, where it becomes less effective.

You see, we are learn through our 6 senses and when we talk about modalities I mean Visual (see), Auditory (hear), Kinesthetic (feel) Olfactory (smell), gustatory (taste) and Audio Digital (self talk) and we use these senses which then filter to our neurology to make a judgment on the world based on our judgments, values in life, attitudes... basically you might say "from our opinion/point of view" And it's also the way we learn things individually. So it's what you saw, heard, thought, feel and taste or smell.

You see... lets say, in an educational context... and we'll take spelling as an example. A person who spells perfectly, will actually visualise and see the words in their head, get a good feel about it, before they spell it... and then, sure enough, they'll spell the word and boom... the person has done this.. happy days!

With a person who's labeled dyslexic or learning disabled... 90% or more use the wrong spelling strategy.... and this is a fact! They are not learning disabled or dyslexic (which some people actually don't believe in it). My opinion is, that dyslexia does exist however can be rectified and totally change a persons way of handling it and completely overcome it! Or at worst... people/children can vastly improve overall learning and significantly improve their grade. However I DON'T BELIEVE IN LEARNING DISABILITY.

The problem I think we have is that, once a child is labeled "dyslexic" then they will act dyslexic, usually unconsciously. Or... if the child hears or is told they have a learning disability... then they will act it. The reason is because whoever tells a child... your dyslexic or have a learning disability... or even, your not very good at spelling, reading, writing etc... they won't be because they will respond to the negative suggestions given to them! Or even worse tell them that they are just lazy or stupid. (I would like to think that doesn't happen much these days)... and guess what... they would completely fall back even further in their school work. Projecting to a child they are not very bright they will respond how you respond to them.

There was once a study and one day a school asked a supply teacher to teach these kids, but warned her that these kids have learning challenges and will struggle to keep up and are dyslexic. The teacher went it and the kids got an average C's and D's in there test. Then another supply teacher was to teach the same children, and this time, the head teacher told this teacher that these kids are extremely bright, star pupils and you will have to do your best with them so that you keep up with them (remember these were the same children). The teacher went it thinking these were whiz kids. They did the tests and all the average grade went up to A's and B's! Does this makes sense??

Confidence knocking, if not dealt with, will carry on all way through childhood, teenage years and even adulthood. You see, people are so good at telling other people that "this child can't" or "that child can't" and instead of giving positive suggestions... they get negative ones and are hypnotised negative suggestions... was your school good at telling you what your not good at?? Does this sound familiar to you... Teachers (not all) programming your mind, saying "you are not good enough" or there's something wrong with you! You've either got it or you haven't and there's nothing you can do about it. You see, the problem is that the school system was designed to produce "professors" (which, well that's another story, I could write about)

I was once in a job in sales (way before my NLP days), and confidence with learning, reading, writing, spelling was a really BIG ISSUE, in fact it was a hang up I had. Part of my work was to till in paperwork after I did a sale. I would fill in my finance paperwork, and hand it in to the manager. Needless to say, I did occasionally make some errors. The "gaffa" blew his top and the other manager once said... "I think he's dyslexic" the senior manager... "no he's not, he's fu..ing stupid"!!! You see that this particular manager was actually projecting his own beliefs about himself because what his perception was of me, he projected out and in psychology... we are who we think we are most not and the more we project about some one... you are like that!!! Errhhh you can't get away from that lol

Anyway, I hope this had been a good read for you and I've done my best to make sense of this... anything you want clarifying just mail me which is on our website thepinnaclepractice.com this was my first ever blog and I hope it was a good one :-0

Look out for more blogs!

Ps, remember people who are considered dyslexic or learning disabled are just using the wrong learning strategy and are usually of a higher intelligence.

Thanks

John

9 Replies

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  • Hi John

    Nice to meet you. Some interesting points and food for thought. Can't say I 100% agree with all your points but I really do (personally) agree that everyone learns in different ways and an ideal situation is to be able to be taught in the manner in which you are most biased too (I glaze over if you talk to me for too long!!). Congrats on your first blog, I look forward to hearing more!

    Kate

  • i can't agree with you either. and i wish to grab at a comment "once a child is labeled "dyslexic" then they will act dyslexic" how on earth does a child act dyslexic when at that age they wouldnt know the full extent of what it is or how they would or should act to pretend to be of such.

    and maybe its becuase you dont like the word disabled, and i say this becuase i was having a twitter talk with another dyslexic of which i stated i "suffered" and always have done with my dyslexia, of which she totally disagreed and stated i had the word wrong as you dont suffer with it its just a challeneg etc. my point being is that medically its understood and seen as a dusability and for many in their young years into their adult life (without the correct help) is can disable them from having a better life, just like soembody in a wheel chair, their life becomes different fom those with legs etc. how ever over time and with some skills taught and their brain being allowed to learn how it works, life becomes better. I should know up untill i was around 19 my dyslexia was so bad that part of the issue is memory loss and i can only remmber near 10% of my first 19 years. i didnt and couldnt understand the basics of maths untill i was 19, i didnt understand humour, the expressions or what a joke was. or any emotion even though my body was going through the emotions. and to me thats a disability.

    im now 33, and over the last 4 years its now gotten worse for me, but many things have helped. and more specifically computers in my life have helped me and tv shows.

    as a parting gift this is my write that i did i thinl last year as a helpful guide to a parent scribd.com/doc/97539169/Dys...

  • Hi, thank you for your comments and I really respect them and you've made some great points... thank you. I do have to say though, I never said that I don't like the word disabled. I was meaning that I don't believe in it from a dyslexic point of view. I also think was referring to teaches and society should be more flexible when it comes down to individual learning. When I said if you call a child "dyslexic" I was also referring to the child unconsciously picking it up, which from a personal point of view... this is what happened to me thus lost confidence in my learning ability, looking back at my childhood.

    I do think you make some great points and thanks very much for your comments.

  • i never said you said that but you certain come across as such, consistently saying that yia isnt a disability when for many thats exactly how it feels.

    but i certainly agree with the education system and socity itself. and thats why i loved jamies school that aired last year.

    i figured it out that a child like i was , would have been in a constant uncontious mode, whilst it was the subcounsious mode that was alive and kicking along with my body picking up details. which would explain why i dont remmber near all of the 19 years

  • very interesting... that program, jamies school, I thought the head teacher was outstanding! Am I right in thinking that was jamies dream school (jamie oliver) or have I got the wrong end of the stick? lol

    I love this website because it gives the opportunity for us all to air all our different experiences!

    John :-)

  • correct. and if the education system took this on board as part of all schools and not subjecting kids to go to "special" schools, then even "nomrla2 kids would benefit from it aswell.

    also whats helped me but deffinatly my mum understand what i went through and how i still feel to this day was a documentary from Kara Tointon: Don't Call Me Stupid.

  • I also don't believe dyslexia is a disability but rather a different way of learning - I do however think that it becomes a disability hen not recognised and when teaching methods are not adapted to meet the needs of the child concerned. Teachers aren't adequately trained to pick up signs of dyslexia and it is so wide (covers 72 different conditions) that a needs assessments is essential - although unobtrusive would be best for the child. Schools are not necessarily following current legislation either which can be a problem and parents have the right to challenge schools and authories and in my opinion should or things will not improve!

  • just becuase you have a disability, it doesnt mean your life stops. it simply means your life has a set of different challenges ti overcome.

  • The reason why dyslexia comes under the umbrella of specific learning disability is because dyslexia does not impact on a person's intelligence.

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