What is Dyslexia?

Many have wondered why my spelling is not good, why I tend to miss mistakes that shouldn't be missed or why I miss certain things in their criteria's when applying for their awards. Well...here is the reason for all these problems and more. I pray that this page answers these questions.

Dyslexia is a term that refers to many reading disabilities. Originally, the term referred only to those disabilities thought to be the result of a disorder in the central nervous system. However, many people began to use the term to describe a broad range of reading problems, and even spelling and writing problems. Thus, dyslexia came to mean simply poor reading to many people. Many educators no longer use the term because of the confusion over its meaning.

Some specialists still use the term dyslexia in its original sense. Research indicates that dyslexia may be caused by abnormal development of a baby's brain during the mother's pregnancy period. The abnormalities interfere with the brain's ability to understand written material. For example, dyslexics reverse words and letters, so that they read was for saw or d for p or b. Many such persons also have difficulty remembering the sequence of letters in a word and in distinguishing right from left.

Before a child is diagnosed as dyslexic, other more specific possible causes of the reading problem should be ruled out. These possibilities include limited intelligence; poor eyesight or hearing; immaturity in emotional, intellectual, or physical development; inappropriate teaching; or unstable home conditions.

Special tests are used to detect dyslexia, but some educators question their value. In fact, many learning experts doubt that dyslexia actually exists. They argue that a diagnosis of dyslexia lumps together various problems that cause poor reading. These specialists maintain that the problems should be specifically identified for each poor reader. In this way, a person can be given the most appropriate treatment or training. Unfortunately, there is no appropriate treatment. There is no drug of any type that can actually help the person with dyslexia, and thus far, nothing that anyone can do to treat it. But it can be dealt with through training the person with dyslexia.

From personal experience, I've found that dyslexia can be a problem that can be dealt with and that a person can learn to live with it if he/she truly wants too. Sure, it causes things to be weird at times, and some days are better than others with it. But this is true with any disabilities. Dyslexia is not something that stops a person from learning or leaves a person helpless, it just makes things more difficult to learn. After all, I have the problem and am living proof that it really does exist. I didn't learn to deal with it on my own, and it didn't come over night by any means. But I did learn and have gone on with life with the help of my Lord Jesus and my husband helping me to learn to deal with the problem. As my husband once told me, "High School and College was harder for you than most people, but you was willing to believe in yourself and hang in there to finish." But I couldn't have done it without hard work, the Lord Jesus and my husband standing behind me all the way.

Through dealing with the problem as a child, I was labeled retired and pushed out of most childhood fun. My teachers would teach me enough to say that they tried; in reality, they hadn't done anything at all. Most of my learning came after I meant my husband. Although he is legally blind, he was the one to figure out what my problem was and started helping me right away at age 25. In learning to deal with dyslexia, I also grew mentality. I look at things in a whole different way than what I use too, and I'd go through the struggle of learning how to deal with my dyslexia again.

For all the love and support through my learning experiences, I'd like to give special thanks to:

My Husband Harold, for encouraging me through my education.

My Uncle Bob & Aunt Barb, for having so much faith in me, along with their financial support.

My friend, Bill Heilig's, for teaching me web site design and so much more.

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People with dyslexia may find some of these things difficult:

Feelings of being treated inappropriately or misunderstood.
This is a definite for any form of dyslexia...no way out of it whatsoever. However...I feel that it should not have to be a huge problem, as there is help for these feelings. The first thing to do is to find your own self worth and acknowledgement of the problem itself. After all...it is the first step taught when being instructed on how to deal with dyslexia. Most professionals will tell you that this is the very first step in dealing with dyslexia and the problems that are experienced with the disorder. It's not always an easy task, but it can be accomplished. In finding my self worth, I simply started looking for the good things inside myself and the things I was good at doing. The rest seemed to full into place with time and experience.  Another thing that can help the dyslexic person is to get up every morning, look at themselves in the mirror and say, "I am a good person with lots to look forward to for the future. I am worth everything to my family who love me and care about me. I will try my level best to accomplish my goals and work at doing better on the things that didn't turn out as I wanted them too." It might sound easier said then done, but it helps in the long run.

Unpleasant feelings or memories of school.
Children often have problems in school because of their dyslexia due to the fact they do not see things in the same way the more normal student see them. They are often bullied and teased for not being as smart as their classmates and often will not defend themselves because they need to be accepted for the person they feel they are, not for the problems they have. Though usually unsuccessful, they will in many cases try to cover up the problems they are having, rather then be bullied for their condition. The main thing to do for a child is to encourage them to just do their best and not push them for more. Most dyslexic students will in time push themselves with the proper encouragement and help to do better in school. When helping your dyslexic child cope with the daily problems of studies and homework, take care to always encourage them to do their best and ask for help for the things they do not understand. The non-understanding of topics being studied can be overwhelming, but it is possible to help your child get past these problems. Make sure to mix in lots of TLC as it is important for them to know that you're on their side.

Mismatch between apparent capabilities and performance.
This...in most cases...is not so much of a problem...but usually occurs in extra servility cases that a dyslexic person is unable to determine the differences between them. In such cases...we tend to feel as though we are stupid and have little knowledge if any at all. Which is nothing more than doubts about ourselves. Been there most of my life...and am now gaining the confidence that I should have had years ago. So, when your dyslexic child is having moments like this, offer a listing ear and maybe some suggestions on how to deal with them. It will go a long way and be remembered as the right thing to do. As a dyslexic myself, I can tell you that your child is a smart and willing individual who is trying to understand why these things are happening to them. Patience is the huge key here, as this will reoccur over time and circumstances. A bad day in school will most often bring these feelings to the surface. When it does, offer that same loving patience and listing ear, as it will help your child in the long run. Just knowing someone does understand and wants to see better for them is something priceless...as we dyslexics tend to become frustrated easily and quickly.

Reading - Seeing letters of words in the correct order.
This can also include other views through the eyes of the reader with dyslexia...such as...letters being upside-down....backwards...and missing altogether...depending on the type of dyslexia any given person might have. It also includes missing words and sentences...which is a commend problem with dyslexic people like myself. When things are missing, it makes it extremely difficult to understand what one is reading. Your child will need to re-read several times maybe before these missing or distorted items will look proper to them. So they have the keep trying and you should  not get frustrated with them yourself, as this only adds to their frustration and feelings of hopelessness. It is important that a dyslexic person is able to learn in their own way and time if possible, as it allows them to take their time and re-read whenever necessary.

Writing - Write letters the wrong way around or writing things down in the wrong order.
Writing is a part of the reading in what I describe above...and it also has effects on the eyes themselves. It is not so much the order or letters...but the confusion that the disorder causes with the letters and words themselves. Dyslexic people have the tendency to write in the way in which the letters appear to them, rather than what is really there...but this also depends of the type of dyslexia they have. Take myself for example, I have the tendency to write the words correctly, but sometimes in the wrong order. Making it difficult for the reader to understand what I'm saying. I run several awards programs on the internet, and am continually proofreading my material to make sure I haven't misspelled words because of my dyslexia. But most often, it is not misspelling at all, but words placed incorrectly. The problems I experience are of the higher extreme in many cases, but I continue to work and do my best at all times. This is something that a parent with a dyslexic child should do for the child having the same problem. The key is always patience, encouragement and love.

Spelling - Remembering how to spell words. (Actually not good at remembering things either.)
It is not so much remembering how to spell a word...but remembering the order in which the letters go due the tricks dyslexia causes from the eyes to the brain in transfer of the information. And this usually happens in the worse cases of the disorder such as mine. I've dealt with it all my life and know just what I'm looking for and what it does when it occurs. But for the dyslexic just being diagnosed with the disorder, it is overwhelming to say the least. Dyslexic people should always take care not to let things overwhelm them mentally and/or physically, which it can do if we allow it to. As far as remembering things, it is a matter of just keeping better track of what one needs or wants to do. The dyslexic person needs to write down things that are more difficult to remember for them and use those things as an aid. But this is not always the case, as it gets better with time and experience in dealing with the disorder. I'm living proof of that and am happy to say that it is easier for me today, as compared to even 25 years ago. I can remember when I would sooner give up then do what needed to be done, which is no longer the case. Today, I take one day at a time, one minute at a time and keep on trying no matter what. But it took time to reach this point and a lot of TLC from loved ones.

Difficulty with polysyllabic words.
This involves the ability to know the difference between the tricks dyslexia is playing and the real words used for what a dyslexic wants to use for what they are saying. To the person who doesn't understand what dyslexia is, it loses all impact in meaning to someone who doesn't understand how to help the person going through the difficulties of the disorder. And involves "Confusion with words that look or sound similar" and "Confusion with letters, shapes or sounds". It is important to remember that a dyslexic person will often times have other problems that go hand in hand with this disorder. The smallest of sounds can and will distract us. Letters and shapes will not look normal to us. Words may be distorted in sound because we do not see them as we should written down. So, it is a definite problem for us to every degree. Your dyslexic child needs you help in this area and it will take patience and time to get them so that they are seeing them as they should. To help your child, try the things listed below:

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Give your child time to sound words out.

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Allow him/her to do it in their own time if possible. This will not be possible in classroom settings in most cases. So it is important to allow it at home.

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Give them encouragement. Example: "You can do this, keep trying."

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Offer helpful sounds in suggestions, as they love it when they have figured something out on their own.

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Show them the difference between the words and the meanings of those words by using them in sentence (written down of course).

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If you can afford it, purchase a chalkboard or pen board to write on and show the same example to them.

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Once they understand, or have the idea, have them write a few sentences using the words themselves.

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Once they have accomplish each goal of learning, tell them how well they did.

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Never give negative feedback even if they didn't do so good. As this will only add to their frustration.

Losing place when reading or reciting things.
Time and time again, I find myself having this problem in more ways than I can count. It's not as bad as it use to be, but it is and will always be a problem for me. The easiest way to combat the problem is to again use an aid of some type. I use a piece of thin paper lots of times to keep myself on the correct line when reading a book. However, this does not work for reading a newspaper or magazine.  Unless you can make one small enough for the columns that are use in them. But even this does not work well. So you might need to find your own way and what works on your own for this problem. But don't be discouraged, as it may take several tries to find. The important thing is to not give up at the first sign of failure, as it takes time to fine many of the things that work for you or your child.

Difficulties copying information down when it's seen or heard.
The most important thing to remember here is "Proofread". However, if you can use things such as recorders, this will help greatly. While in college, my professors allowed me to record classroom discussions and the like so that it made it easier for me to redo my notes if necessary. In most cases, your child's teacher might be willing to allow this if you ask them nice enough and give a good reason why. I usually did okay with things written on the board, but still had difficulty with it at times. It could be helpful if you can teach your child how to keep their eyes on the board and write at the same time. I know, even the more normal people have a problem in this area, but it can be done with time and practice.

Communication.
Written communications...yes...a problem indeed. Verbal communications are easier and most of us with dyslexia prefer to communicate verbally rather than with written words due to the fact that we see and understand written words much differently than the normal person would. This includes hearing instructions properly. We dyslexics have a tendency to not hear things because we are so busy trying to think on what we are doing that we often miss what someone might be instructing us to do. Which involves Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). This often comes along with Dyslexia, but not always. What a dyslexic needs to do is train themselves to be listing for others speaking, especially in a classroom settings. The following things can be done to help this problem:

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Tell your child to ask about any events in the classroom at the end of the day. I'm sure his/her teacher will be more than willing to assist.

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Setup a time during the day that the teacher may call you or you may call the teacher for the information necessary to help your child that night with his/her homework.

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Once the above is accomplished, asked your child if he/she is understanding what needs to be done.

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Allow the child time to themselves and be respectable to that time.

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When helping the child with his/her homework, follow any and all instructions given by the teacher.

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Do not hide the fact that you are in contact with his/her teacher for this purpose, as it can lead the child to believe that you don't trust them. Remember, your child is human and has feelings too.

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Give positive encourage to do his/her homework and remind them that you are willing to help in any way possible.

Tasks involving money, recall, retrieval and association.
Yes...dyslexia can and does effect this ... but not always to the extent that some might think. With the worse forms of the disorder it can cause these things and more...so one must proofread continually to correct mistakes. However, lets not leave out the most important part of these effects on the person dealing with dyslexia. Recall, retrieval and association are a very, very small part of them. Often we also have problems with images appearing upside-down...such as a picture of a bicycle. Turn that same picture so that it is upside-down...and we know exactly what it is. This is where it gets touchy and we tend to not recognize the things we should. Teaching how to recognize different things to your child is not so difficult if you can help them make sense of it. Once this is accomplished, you will watch them blossom into a very different human being.

Difficulty repeating digits (numbers) in order or in long sequences.
This is true to a certain degree...but again...it depends on the type of dyslexia and its servility in most cases. Using myself for an example again, there is a certain amount of time that must be set aside to help your child. Though I didn't know my problem or what it was called until age 25, it was something that affected everything I tried to do. Most of my life, I spent being called stupid until I started to believe it. This doesn't have to be the case with your child. Digits (numbers) tend to run together for dyslexic people, and therefore, makes it difficult for us to read them properly. However, we can help to train the dyslexic person to see things as they should. It's a simply case of having the patience and taking the time to do so. In most of the worse cases of dyslexia, the person needs someone to read these to them at least once. From there, have them read them back to you and see how they do. For the first while, it is difficult, but it will improve with time. The key is to have them work at it each day for a few minutes each day until they can do it on their own without help.  Even then, they will have good and bad days where it seems worse or better for them. After they are seeing things correctly and doing better, it is important not to push them to do things that they simply feel can't be done at the time. Remember, all good things come with time and experience. I didn't learn to deal with my dyslexia over night and neither will your child.

Difficulties or inconsistencies with retaining information.
Again...this comes under communications. And is sometimes difficult for the dyslexic to recognize as a program. In retaining what one learns and being able to recall them is as simple as keeping themselves a record. In other words, write them down. Proofread after getting away from it a while and going back to study it later. Most dyslexics fail test after test because they seem to not retain what was learned. But re-reading just before a test can sometimes refresh the memory and help this problem greatly. The better idea to help this problem is to teach the person a technique for taking notes that will work for them. There are several ways of taking notes and there is no one way that is correct or incorrect for doing so. Once they find the technique that works for them, encourage them to use it and keep using it. You'll be surprised at how much this can help them to retain information.

Issues with left or right or telling time.
Again...this is part of the doubts we hold about ourselves as individuals...but I do tend to confuse them from time to time myself to this very day. With these issues, it is important to remember that a person with dyslexia also has problems with direction. If one tells me to go south, I'll go north every time it seems. So it is not just a matter of left or right in some cases. This doesn't mean that it happens in all cases, as I have friends that have dyslexia and they do fine in this area. Telling time with a normal clock for us is extremely difficult. So try to supply your dyslexic child with a digital watch or clock of some type. For some reason, I find digital watches and clocks are easier to read, especial if I can get one that has large digits.

Struggles with mental match (Example: matching wrong names with faces).
This comes under extra extreme cases of the disorder...where everything a dyslexic person looks at does not register with the brain as it should. This use to be a huge problem for me...but I'm living proof that it can be dealt with. Again, it depends on the servility of the persons dyslexia...not their ability to learn. I know that it is difficult to deal with and learn to deal with. I know that not everyone with learn how to deal with dyslexia at the speed as someone else might. But it is a proven fact that people with this disorder can surpass most of the problems with work on their part. With not recognizing names with faces, it is much like not recognizing colors that match for a child just learn their colors. It takes us dyslexics extra time to actually know who new friends are and makes us shy away from other people much of the time. Meeting new friends becomes difficult and makes it seem as though we are stuck-up to others who have no clue that we have dyslexia and are weary of strangers. This is not to say that we can't do it...it is to say that it takes us extra time to do so in the more social sense of the idea, and, makes us a bit scared to do so. We learn to deal with this problem by being encouraged to socialize with others and not shy away just because we can't remember the name of that person. So encourage your child to socialize and get to know other people and children. Especially in social gatherings with family members and friends. In doing so, they will hear those peoples names over and over again, which will help them to remember their name.

Note from the author:  My name is Anita Eberline, and I'm a dyslexic and have had my trouble dealing with the disorder in many ways. But I want to encourage those who have it as well. My husband, when teaching me and helping me deal with my problems told me this, "There is no such thing as can't, only can do. Think of yourself as the little train who could, and keep telling yourself until the goal is accomplished, I think I can, I think I can...then when it is accomplished, tell yourself, I know I can, I know I can." Nobody had ever given me that type of encouragement before because they never took the time to find out why I was having trouble in the first place. So I struggled as a child and an adult for many years. I'm now 50 years old and do things I never dreamed possible. If this article can help others deal with their dyslexia, then that is what I want for them. Remember..."There is no such thing as can't, ONLY can do!!!

Accomplishments since learning how to deal with my dyslexia:

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Helped children I know through friends to deal with their dyslexia. (I consider this my greatest accomplishment.)

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Office Systems Professional and Website Designer.

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Accomplished Web Graphics Designer.

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High School Diploma. Accomplished in 1985.

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College Certificated as a Word Processor. Accomplished in 1991.

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College Degree in Office Systems Operations. Accomplished in 1996.

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Certification in both Website Design and Web Graphics Design. Accomplished in 2002.

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Links to Helpful Web Sites for Dyslexics

There are also other links the I felt might be useful to
help children and adults with learning handicaps.

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Learning Needs Centre - Solutions for Children with Learning Differences - This is still in the building stage, but looks to be a very promising site to help children with dyslexia.

TheEnglishLanguage.org - A Directory of Web Sites about The English Language.

HSAdvisor.com - Ask questions about homeschooling and get a prompt reply from one of our home education experts, buy homeschool curriculum online, find local homeschool support groups, discover your state's homeschooling laws, and a lot more.

BrightStar - Dyslexia program, tests and training for dyslexics by BrightStar Learning. Test and improve the symptoms of dyslexia and learning disabilities.

Am I Dyslexic - Am I Dyslexic? - The only adult online screening test for dyslexia that measures performance rather than general checklists. Find out if you are dyslexic in just a few minutes!

Dyslexia help and Treatment for children and adults Glasgow Scotland - Providing correction for Dyslexia, and related problems for children and adults using breakthrough techniques.

Dyslexia the Gift - Information and Resources for Dyslexia.  They explore the positive talents that give rise to dyslexia, and share their knowledge about the best ways for dyslexic people to learn.

The Dyslexia Solution Presents Reading from Scratch - A program of science-based teaching techniques, now makes possible grade level or higher reading.

 

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