If your child is dyslexic it’s very likely that you’ve noticed some outstanding qualities that gives them a unique understanding of the world.
For example: when my daughter was 4 years old, and before I knew she was dyslexic I took her to see “Les Miserables”. Until that day I never noticed how much symbolism was used in theartre to create emotion. None if it was wasted on Caroline.
I remember getting a little poke from her when the darkness filled stage was broken by a crisp white beam of light that washed over a dying woman.
“Mom”, Caroline whispered, “Is that light God coming to take her to heaven?”
I quickly nodded and was forced to Shush her. Children under 5 are not allowed in Broadway theaters, and I didn’t want to blow our cover.
However, the experience made me realize that there was something special about my child, but I never realized her gift came at a cost.
From infancy, children with dyslexia are learning how to reconfigure and make sense of the symbols we impose on them.
We call this accumulative structure of coping skills, compensation, but I prefer to use the term super powers.
It’s like when we say a blind person can hear a pin drop, well a dyslexic can listen to the complex features that makes an object unique.
Think of it as a heightened awareness of the relationship between the physical, emotional,and tactile senses.
Also a great number of dyslexic children are gifted in some way, and these gifts are certainly generated by a dyslexic’s remarkable ability to read between the lines, and connect the dots.
Naturally, I’m not talking about written words, I’m talking about listening.
When talking about dyslexia it’s very important to make the distinction between hearing and listening. Anyone who is not deaf can hear sounds. It takes a conscious effort to listen.
Listening is a mandatory skill for a dyslexic, and luckily it doesn’t seen to be a problem for them. Again, in this context it’s important to make the distinction between listening for clues to decipher the world around you and the meaning of the actual word…listening.
Johnny NOT listening when you say “Stop That!” is a universal issue that applies to all children, and is not covered in this article.
Presently, there’s no denying how much society emphasizes the importance of reading, and the pressure starts early. Is there a parent out there that never picked up a baby book and started reading A is for Apple to their infant?
Don’t worry there’s no stigma in admitting to being one of them. Though you may have noticed that when your dyslexic child was able to talk they asked a lot of questions about the apple, followed by an unquenchable thirst for words connected to the apple.
Well, since a dyslexic has difficulty making the association of A is for Apple, the apple becomes the focus. So, the dyslexic begins to form a bank of symbols for the word apple. Starting with red and round, and ending somewhere along the line of forbidden fruit, and temptation.
Now, to really put yourself into the dyslexic child’s world apply this concept to a human interaction.
Imagine you’re in kindergarten and the teacher is reading “The Ugly Ducking”
Most of your friends are probably looking at the pictures, and listening to portions of the story that apply to experiences they’ve had, such as “I don’t like the chickens because I remember feeling bad when I was teased”.
But since you’re dyslexic, you have super powers that allow you to listen intently to the deeper messages of the story. You’re talents help you read the expressions, and body language of the characters in the drawings. Then you begin to make strong connections between the words being read and emotions behind them. You also notice near the end that your teacher’s eyes moisten while reading the last page.
Your minds puts this all together and you think, ‘That poor duck had such a hard life. People are mean sometines. People should not be mean. I wonder if someone was mean to Mrs. Blank. She looked sad.”
When you go home that night, you ask your mommy to read “The Ugly Ducking”. But instead you impress her by reciting just about every word of the 32 page book from memory as if you could read, and on the last page you look for a tear in your mommy’s eye.
You see some sadness in her expression so you ask, “Mommy was anybody ever mean to you?”
Though these asscioations can be made in crildren without dyslexia the connections must be coaxed out through discussion.
For the dyslexic child these asscioations seem to come naturally.
This is why having a dyslexic child in your life can be such a great gift.
Though we would all love to find a magic cure for learning disabilities, we should never pass by what these children already posses.
It’s our responsibility not only to empower these children with reading and writing skills, but to also help them expand their banks of knowledge, empathy, and understanding, because they are listening.
Think of how wonderful the world would be if our future leaders were wise, empathetic, and able to listen.