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.