I was talking to a parent yesterday, and she told me about a life changing experience she had just encountered. Her son has dyslexia, so when she found out about Experience Dyslexia, she made the two hour trip to Fresno to check it out.
Experience Dyslexia is a learning disabilities simulation. They set up different stations where you can go and experience what it is like to have dyslexia.
Often parents tell their dyslexic children that they aren’t trying hard enough. Or that they are lazy. Or that they need to work harder than anyone else. Or that…
You get what I’m saying.
I haven’t had the opportunity to go to Experience Dyslexia, and maybe you won’t, either. But throughout over thirty years of working with these kids, I’ve asked them questions about how they perceive the environment, about how they learn. Often, they are quite astute.
“The words wiggle.”
“I hear sounds.”
“I see it as a moving picture.”
Isn’t it awesome that you don’t have to use empathy to know how your dyslexic child or student is learning? Isn’t it great we can know how it feels to be dyslexic, if only for a day?
The parent I spoke with told me that after a few stations, she felt like shutting down, like giving up.
She’s an adult. And she felt like giving up.
Can you imagine how her son feels every day at school after six to seven hours of information blast? Can you imagine how he feels with hours more of homework once he gets home? Can you imagine how he feels when he doesn’t get to walk away from a station, that he takes in visual and auditory information like this all day, every day? That there is no escape for him?
Dyslexia can be puzzling, but if you take the time to learn how dyslexic students perceive information, it will only help you both.
One in five has dyslexia. We need to be better about understanding how they learn and how they perceive information. And then fix our broken school system so it can better meet their needs.