I call students with dyslexia our "throw-away" kids. Because they are usually bright, intelligent, social, and intuitive, they rarely receive the proper interventions necessary to help them overcome this learning difference.
Since they are so smart, they learn to manipulate and use coping mechanisms that equate to "poor choices".
That is why 48% of our prison population is dyslexic. These kids didn't get proper help when they desperately needed it, so they reverted to making the same poor choices that set in at an early age.
As a nation, we should be ashamed for throwing away these, bright, beautiful children who just want to fit in and learn like everyone else.
One student in five has dyslexia. That means in any given classroom approximately six children have dyslexia. Most don't get help because they are of normal intelligence or higher.
Dyslexia is a puzzle - something the student will not just outgrow. Some people learn to push through it and find a way to function and succeed in life. A successful, Harvard educated doctor told his story. He had to work three times harder than anyone else. Why? He had dyslexia. Through sheer determination he taught himself to push through it and succeed.
Sadly, most people with dyslexia don't learn to do this. Nor do they receive help. They are told to work harder, try harder, and practice more. But these methods won't work. The dyslexic student needs to form new neural pathways across the corpus callosum so that the left hemisphere can be accessed, which will still the movement in the brain that is causing the dyslexia.
Few people realize that the brain has plasticity throughout our lifetimes and that by performing specific exercises over and over new neural pathways are formed. For children with dyslexia, this is crucial. By performing these activities over and over again, new pathways are formed and the swimming, moving, or crooked images in the dyslexic child's brain will be stilled.
Have you ever taken the time to ask dyslexic students how they view the world? For starters, their world is in motion. They view the world as if it is a motion picture. Or, it may be upside down, slanted, or wavy. These kids might actually tell you that the words on their papers are wiggling. For most, it is a scary world because it isn't holding still. These are the retreaters. They will retreat and fail to step out into the world because it is moving and they can't find a safe way to navigate. Others might be bolder, trying to keep up with the motion of their world. These are the active kids who are often wrongly misdiagnosed as having ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder ). Often they are medicated, which does nothing to steady their spinning world, but it can keep them calm and quiet so that they aren't a nuisance to anyone.
Kids with dyslexia have gifts and talents that go unnoticed and unappreciated. Since their world is viewed differently than most people's, they have so much to contribute. But first we need to help them still the motion in their brains so that they can succeed in school and become contributing members to society.
A diagnosis of dyslexia is not the end of the world! New research indicates that this is a condition that can be overcome. It takes work and a specific treatment plan, but it does not mean that these intelligent students should fall through the cracks and not receive the help they need.
At Harp, we specialize in helping dyslexic students not only develop crucial reading and spelling skills, but also helping the dyslexic student navigate a world that can be extremely frightening without appropriate intervention measures.
The tactile learners learn by doing. Tell them something and they forget it. Give them a picture of something and it's gone. Let them do something, and they will know it forever. Few classrooms are able to provide this type of instruction to their students in modern America. These kids are failing, even though they have high intelligence. Sadly, they often feel like they are dumb.
In order for students with learning differences to succeed, either the classroom model needs to change, or they need to be taught how to access the left hemisphere of their brains and strengthen their visual and auditory learning systems.
It's perfectly normal to have a learning difference. What isn't normal is allowing a student to feel stupid or dumb because of one. Especially when there are ways of helping the student strengthen all learning systems. With our five– step program, students fill in gaps in their learning foundation and reach grade level success so they never have to feel dumb again.
Learning differences can be overcome. With new cutting edge research and technology, we now can step-by-step fill in missing learning gaps as well as teach students to access both hemispheres of the brain. A learning difference has little to do with intelligence! It has everything to do with how a student learns, strengths and weaknesses in the student's learning foundation, and how the student processes information.
A diagnosis of any learning difference doesn't mean that a parent or child should give up hope! At Harp, we are here to systematically put those learning blocks into place, increase academic skills, as well as work as a partner with both parent and child on the journey to academic and life success!