Monday, July 23, 2007

Dyslexia by Paula Wiltshire

This was a great book, finally I have found out why I do things a bit different then others. I am slightly dyslexic. I suspect my mom and two brothers and possibly my daughter all are.
If you tell me to turn right I will turn left unless I think really hard about it. If you ask me what time it is I also have to think really hard. If you were to give me a list of 10 words to memorize I would probably say forget it unless you had a really good reason to do it. Then I would have to think really hard.

Thinking really hard is how I cope with dyslexia. First I either remember something using colors or visually where it is located on the page or spot, or I remember a sound or a motion associated with whatever it is I am trying to remember. Instead of one step to remember something I usually have to put it through a series of things to get it to stick in the side of my brain that will remember it. If I am feeling lazy then it is hopeless but when I am on top of things I can be really smart.

This explains why I usually failed all tests that were just names and dates in college or not enough time to take it all through the process it takes to remember it with so many steps. Also explains why I like sports/physical things verses science/math.

When I was learning to read in kindergarten it took a little bit longer then most of the class but when I got it I had it for life. I am really bad at spelling because I look at the whole word as a picture not as individual letters. It was really a blessing that I learned German finally, dyslexic people really suck at foreign language. When I was little I loved music but could never get very far playing the piano because the teacher only wanted me to memorize each piece and play it without the sheet music in front of me, well visual learners don't do it that way, if only I had known...oh well it isn't too late to try again at the piano. (forget passing them off for the cute butterfly sticker).

I feel for others that have really serious Dyslexia, life can be confusing. Luckily there were great people to inspire us that were also Dyslexic, Leonardo da Vinci,
Thomas Edison, Winston Churchill, Hans Christian Andersen, Agatha Christie, Albert Einstein,
Woodrow Wilson, W.B. Yeats.

Dyslexic people process things a bit different in their brain. The left hemisphere specializes in Writing ,Symbols, Language, Reading , Sequences, Directions, Logic and structured thinking. The Right side is creativity, singing, music, spatial relationships, artistic expression, visualization, feelings and emotions, touch, intuition, fantasy and imagination. Many dyslexics find that they excel in what's known as "lateral thinking." That means the ability to look at situations from an unusual angle. This has been to my advantage many times but if I was asked to explain the process to someone else that is where it gets hard.

The book has some great ideas on Structured Multi sensory learning. Not just using one method of learning but may like seeing, hearing, saying and feeling. Kinesthetic methods are really important and fun. So instead of just doing a worksheet, a better way is playing a game or touching, saying, going somewhere or even jumping up and down while studying. This helps to remember what is being taught. Interesting...

And the biggest mystery of all has been solved...I love Spidergrams!!!! I learned them in 8th grade and have used this way of taking notes forever after, I thought it was just a weird thing and wondered why no one else did it with a passion like me...well it is because I am slightly dyslexic and this is how I keep track of life. Spidergrams are a series of small pictures and symbols with colors and all linked to the middle. Wow now I don't feel so very weird.

I don't think nondyslexic people will have much sympathy for my method of learning and life but for all the other side of the brain thinkers out there I have crossed into the zone of understanding diffrent but effective, just like them. I hope I can now find out more information on this subject and help my daughter find ways to cope with her brilliant mind so she can share it with others.

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