Word Blindness

Two of my seven children have recently been diagnosed with dyslexia. Upon hearing the diagnosis, I sat down and cried. I cried because I knew this would be difficult. I cried because I felt unprepared and ill-equipped. I cried with relief that there was finally a name to put to what had caused much frustration on our part.

One of the terms used for dyslexia when it was first identified in the final years of the 1800’s was ‘word blindness’. The more I’ve read, the more intrigued I have become by dyslexia. Did you know that people with dyslexia are not ‘slow’? They are not incapable of learning. They are not dense. They are not lazy and lacking self-motivation. They do not have below average intelligence. They are often above average intelligence. And some of the top people in many fields have dyslexia. Some of the most brilliant, creative people that live today, have dyslexia.

As I read list upon list of famous dyslexics I was shocked. I was also made hopeful.

Steven Spielburg
Walt Disney
Leonardo Da Vinci
Nelson Rockefeller
George Washington
Albert Einstein
Thomas Edison
Alexander Graham Bell

I could go on and on. I listened to a top surgeon explain how he couldn’t read a newspaper. I listened to Whoopi Goldberg explain how stupid she felt she was as a child. I was amazed.

Here are eight great short videos explaining dyslexia.

http://www.ncld.org/types-learning-disabilities/dyslexia/what-is-it-like-to-be-dyslexic-videos

Here is one of many good articles about how to talk to your child about dyslexia.

http://www.dyslexia.ie/information/information-for-parents/talking-to-your-child-about-dyslexia/

We are attending Visual Therapy to assist my youngest son who is nine. We are fortunate to have a very caring and knowledgable doctor to guide us. My fourteen year old son began with Light Therapy. We are seeing improvements, slowly but surely. I am encouraged.

One of the most emotional moments early in this journey that we have just embarked upon was when I saw an example of what a person with dyslexia sees when looking at printed words. My heart grieved when I thought of the times I would say to my sons, can’t you see? Don’t you see? Look again. Try harder. Trace it. Write it. Focus. Concentrate.

http://www.dyslexia.com/library/information.htm

Their despair was equal to mine. What was I doing wrong? I was failing my children. I needed to try harder, try again, show them so they could understand. But, in truth I did not understand myself.

They had word blindness. I had solution blindness. Together, we are figuring this out. Learning differently. Strategizing. Conquering. Succeeding. Moving forward. Making progress.

I’ve talked a lot about crossroads this year and how we all must choose our paths. I never wanted to travel this detour marked Dyslexia, but, I surely won’t let my children travel it alone. So, we are taking the road that will be rough and sometimes nothing more than a dirt path. The trip may be challenging, the destination will be worth it.

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7 thoughts on “Word Blindness”

  1. I need to remind myself to have a box of tissues handy when I read your blog, because your words never fail to move me to tears.

    You can add the best man at my wedding to your list of successful people with dyslexia. He struggled mightily for years with it. Now he has a Gemini award (the Canadian equivalent of an Oscar) for his special-effects work on a TV miniseries – and he’s written a (so far unpublished) novel. Great things are possible!

  2. Being dyslexic isn’t all bad you know. It can be very frustrating at times, especially when you struggle to find a way to express yourself or when people think you’re lazy for not keeping up with the workload at school. I’m in my final year of an undergraduate degree at university and I wasn’t diagnosed with dyslexia until I was 25. Sure you have to work harder to get there, but it is achievable! There are a lot of things out there that are helpful. For me, having software that reads to me has helped a LOT! Even for reading back my essays to me so I can hear if they make sense.

    Good luck to you! Now you know why they were struggling you can put things into place to make things easier and make those goal posts a little bit closer 🙂

    1. Thanks and congratulations on your hard work and results.

      You’re right. It isn’t all bad. It is a learning difference instead of a learning disability. The more I learn, the more amazed I am at the strategies we can access.

    2. I think my reply to your comment vanished. Thank you for your encouragement and congratulations on your hard work and success. I am very eager to do the best we can as well.

      1. Thank you very much. I just thought I would share that with you so you could see that going on into further or higher education can be done once the right support is in place 🙂

  3. stephanie…i am so glad there is much more help today. My eldest brother is dyslexic and i have discalcula with math and recall problems and other assorted things so i sympathize. There are other things we can be quite gifted with. I always knew you recognized it. I have a retired neighbor who has dyslexia. He is finally learning to read. My brother has struggled to overcome his and has done well. It is a matter of not giving up. When we find what works and the key is there to unlock the door it is wonderful. I wish all of the very best in this pursuit.

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