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Pedantic Spice
48999.  Thu Feb 02, 2006 7:58 am Reply with quote

Before anyone starts getting the knives out for dyslexia and stating that it doesn't exist, I should point out that I am dyslexic. In fact, when I was tested - aged 16 - I was considered severely dyslexic.

I do believe that this is an interesting subject - and begins with a D - so I thought I would mention it.

Did you know that dyslexia is practically as individual in effect as every person who has it? This means that generalisations such as "people with dyslexia can't spell / can't read / get their 'b's and 'd's or 'g's and 'y's mixed up", are true for some people and untrue for others. I, for example, as my name suggests, am such a colossal pedant, that I try to get all my spelling and punctuation just so. ...This has the side-effect of making me slower that most people at reading, writing, etc.

Some of us - myself included - have flying gaps when we read. I believe it is called a stigmatism (or caused by a stigmatism - or in some way connected to a stigmatism). My favourite brand of flying gap is when I replace a word from the line I am reading with a word from the line above or below.


"It's absolutely wonderful," said Dench. "I'm absolutely thrilled. I'm so happy to be nominated for something I loved filming every single day."

This extract of an article about the Oscars became ""I'm absolutely wonderful,"said Dench."

[The "It's" and the "I'm" being directly above and below one-another in the type!]

It is an interesting - if widely-known - fact that Leonardo Da Vinci was dyslexic. His habit of writing in mirror-writing is - in some dyslexics (not to generalise) - a facility, an outcome of being unsure whether to use the right or left hand to write.

A lot of architects are dyslexic and also left-handed. [I believe this is covered in the QI DVD - apologies to anyone for whom it spoils that question in the thread!] Dyslexics can tend to have ability in visual imagination which aids geometry.

Dyslexia is not just "word-blindness" - I can read quite well - though slowly - but fear I will never remember my times-tables or gain a true grasp of maths (particularly mental arithmetic - due to my dyslexia symptom of bad short term memory).

Also, dyslexia has nothing to do with level of intelligence. Einstein was dyslexic but, then, so am I! :o)

Any takers for this subject?

49002.  Thu Feb 02, 2006 8:06 am Reply with quote

IMHO dyslexia is all too quickly diagnosed to children who are either lazy or not academically gifted. In some cases, I think parents jump on even the slightest mention of the syndrome and label their children - almost as an excuse for their poor showing in school.

Before I get jumped on though, I should say that I think there are plenty of genuine dyslexics out there, PS is no doubt a case in point - and that they are probably the real victims of this dilution.

gerontius grumpus
49003.  Thu Feb 02, 2006 8:07 am Reply with quote

quite a few famous people, especially actors are dyslexic.

Pedantic Spice
49005.  Thu Feb 02, 2006 8:19 am Reply with quote

Before I get jumped on though, I should say that I think there are plenty of genuine dyslexics out there, PS is no doubt a case in point - and that they are probably the real victims of this dilution.

No, I quite take your meaning, Eggshaped. It is wrong if pushy parents do try to get their less-able or less-willing children diagnosed only to get them one-to-one tuition. However, it can be difficult to tell dyslexic from lazy or less-intelligent.

At junior school, I was labelled as lazy, naughty and stupid. I fancy that these are not really true and my achievements since then have, I believe, ruled out the lazy and stupid accusations. [Though I've never been able to disprove the naughtiness!]

quite a few famous people, especially actors are dyslexic

That's true, too! Many of them never diagnosed at school - so why should they make it up?

It makes you wonder if frustration in intelligent but unacademic children was, to some extent, a catalyst or inspiration to become actors?

49009.  Thu Feb 02, 2006 8:30 am Reply with quote


Pedantic Spice
49011.  Thu Feb 02, 2006 8:35 am Reply with quote

Dyslexia is also an anagram of 'daily sex'

LOL! :o) I must remember that!

49013.  Thu Feb 02, 2006 8:46 am Reply with quote

However, it can be difficult to tell dyslexic from lazy or less-intelligent.
It seems to be impossible, as a recent documentary about dyslexia reported. Their research indicated that the condition is a cumulative response to poor education at a specific time in the sufferers' early school lives, and that the loss of confidence this inspires makes it even harder to learn.

The feedback effect magnifies and magnifies, resulting in a markedly less able pupil when it comes to the three Rs. It's often accompanied by behavioural and social problems, which are easily linked to the loss of confidence and self-image.

There is a special course run by a Durham-based company who hot-housed pupils who had started to fall foul of this effect, giving them a comprehensive and thorough course of practice and reward, and they turned away the vast proportion of their paricipants with no more problems after 12 weeks or so.

Schools are just not equipped to diagnose and deal with the suite of problems that we call dyslexia, so it often runs its course without check. It can then, as eggshaped says, be 'dealt with' by making it a 'condition', with a 'blameless victim'.

Anyone else see this documentary?

49017.  Thu Feb 02, 2006 8:58 am Reply with quote

On the other hand, just because you're dyslexic it doesn't follow that you aren't also stupid.

49018.  Thu Feb 02, 2006 8:58 am Reply with quote

About 5-7% of Chinese speakers are dyslexic, compared with 15% or so of English speakers. It appears that Chinese word-blindness is associated with a different part of the brain, the part which handles visual patterns (the left middle frontal gyrus - western readers use the left temporoparietal regions). There's an alternative theory, though: that dyslexia is caused by an inability to build up letters into sounds and syllables, which is less of a problem for Chinese speakers because the language works differently. It does appear, though, that it is possible to be dyslexic in one language but not the other, a finding which favours the first explanation.

49024.  Thu Feb 02, 2006 9:33 am Reply with quote

I'd like to see that research. It's seems odd that the part of the brain used for recognising Vhinese characters - sequences of lines and curves - should be different from that part used for recognising western words - sequences of lines and curves. Is there a cut-off point for scripts that are 'somewhere in between'?

Chinese characters translate into sounds just like western characters do. There are more of them, as Chinese has no alphabet, but one character has one (monosyllabic) sound, in the same way that one word in English is pronounced one way. Why this should require different parts of the brain seems mysterious...

What we call dyslexia is obviously a 'real' effect, but I think it's become too easy to blame a pre-ordained brain structure, whereas it seems perfectly reasonable to explain it in terms of learning/confidence breakdown at a sensitive stage of infancy.

49025.  Thu Feb 02, 2006 9:43 am Reply with quote

It shouldn't be a surprise that people have dyslexia in a society which calls Reading, Writing and Arithmetic 'the three Rs'.

49028.  Thu Feb 02, 2006 9:46 am Reply with quote

Two questions about Dyslexia (as asked by my ex-girlfriend, who was diagnosed dyslexic late in her school life, and is possibly one of the most intelligent people I have ever met)...

1. Why is Dyslexia so hard to spell?

2. Why do I get forms that ask "Are you dyslexic?"



49067.  Thu Feb 02, 2006 12:19 pm Reply with quote

I think dyslexia is a real artefact of something in the brain. It's also part of the same spectrum of disorder as dyspraxia, which two of my children have - both my sons, as it's far more common in boys than girls. Dyspraxics aren't necessarily dyslexic and dyslexics aren't necessarily dyspraxic, though they can be. Neither of my boys have any difficulty with reading or spelling, but both of them have appalling and very very slow handwriting. Put them on a keyboard, though, and they have no problem.

Dyspraxia sometimes leads to difficulties with motor co-ordination, but sometimes it's much more subtle and leads to difficulties with short-term memory, sequencing and organisation generally. Like dyslexics, dyspraxics often get called both lazy and stupid. As Gray points out, the effect of this magnifies and exacerbates what is already an existing condition. However, the existing condition is there in the first place.

49073.  Thu Feb 02, 2006 12:36 pm Reply with quote


49076.  Thu Feb 02, 2006 12:42 pm Reply with quote

But that condition could have been caused by something in their environment - severe dislike for their handwriting teacher, for example (that's why I have terrible handwriting, I'm sure).

I expect, like most things, it's a combination of 'predisposition' in the newborn brain (and/or DNA) for certain factors, and having those factors realised as a part of child development.


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