Remember those times tables we copied and memorized and reproduced in grade school? I was way into adulthood when I discovered the ‘secret’ of the nines, that the sums of the digits in the answers equal nine. ( 9 x 2 = 18, 1 + 8 = 9) Go through two or three more to prove it to yourself. It is discombobulating that I didn’t know this all those years.
Another later-in-life discovery comes to mind. As the ex-wife of a car salesman, driving who-knows-what from day to day, I would have been spared multiple embarrassing trips around pumps had I known that gas gauge designs indicate which side the tank is on. Why all the secrets?
Recently I learned of another that had somehow escaped me as a classroom teacher – what it really means to be dyslexic.
Read here dyslexic Paul Madaule’s take on those affected as expressed in his clinical study.
“…the dyslexic child lives with his dyslexia all of the time: at recess, at home, with his friends,
alone, asleep and in his dreams. The dyslexic is a dyslexic every second of his life…Dyslexics are
often dyslexified throughout their entire body.” ( From Chapter 8 in The Brain’s Way of
Healing, Norman Doidge)
Because it has been characterized as mainly a reading disorder, affected children have been exposed to a shopping cart of gimmicks intended to help them compensate for the malfunction causing the condition. Some approaches worked, some didn’t. If students managed, it was more likely due to their own tireless efforts than to the trendy tricks applied to classroom instruction.
Without the ease of language, written or oral, gaps develop in social ties to friends and family, leading to withdrawl. Many times negative labels such as lazy and inattentive are applied, adding to the isolation. Fortunately, understanding of this disorder is expanding as the research on the plasticity of the brain continues..Genuine helpful treatments are gradually replacing the mixed bag of tactics as research reveals that the brain is a malleable organ that can be re-wired to create new connections to overcome disorders such as dyslexia.