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What is Dyslexia?

Dyslexia Is "Simply a Different Way of Thinking"


People with Dyslexia are the largest disability group in Canada

10% of the population are Dyslexic
4% are severely Dyslexic

Overview 'Vancouver Island'

10% = 80,000 people
4% = 32,000 people - severely dyslexic

10% = 7,700 people Nanaimo

What is it?

The word 'dyslexia' is originally Greek and means 'difficulty with words'. Dyslexia is a congenital and developmental condition that causes neurological anomalies in the brain. It includes a range of types of learning difficulties where a person of normal intelligence has persistent and significant problems with reading, writing, spelling and sometimes mathematics and musical notation. In the past, dyslexia wasn't a recognized condition. Sadly, some dyslexics were labelled as lazy, stupid or lacking in concentration. Dyslexia isn't a sign of low intelligence - people of all academic abilities have been dyslexic and they may not have difficulties in any other area. Fundamentally, dyslexia is a different way of thinking.

What are the signs?

Every person has different patterns - there's a huge range - and this can make dyslexia difficult to define. It's usually identified when a child's reading and writing development isn't keeping pace with their level of intelligence.

What difficulties does dyslexia cause?

Possible difficulties caused by dyslexia include:
  • Hesitant or slow reading and writing
  • Misreading, which makes understanding difficult
  • Putting letters and figures the wrong way round
  • Difficulty with sequences
  • Poor organization or time management
  • Erratic spelling
  • Perceived poor memory and concentration
  • Learning how to slow thought down and focusing
  • People with Dyslexia think in picture not words
  • People with dyslexia can be ‘visually deaf’
  • Comprehension with written word and verbal word
  • Self limiting beliefs caused by RSI (Repetitive Statement Injury)

Why is dyslexia an asset?

Dyslexic people are visual, multi-dimensional thinkers. We are intuitive and highly creative, and excel at hands-on learning. Because we think in pictures, it is sometimes hard for us to understand letters, numbers, symbols, and written words.

We can learn to read, write and study efficiently when we use methods geared to our unique learning style.

General Comments


Appears bright, highly intelligent, and articulate but unable to read, write, or spell at grade level.

High in IQ, yet may not test well academically; tests well orally, but not written.

May feel dumb; and have poor self-esteem; hides or covers up perceived weaknesses with ingenious compensatory strategies; easily frustrated and emotional about school, reading or testing due to RSI.

Talented in sports, mechanics, story-telling, sales, business, designing, building,  engineering, teaching, managing and problem solving.

Learns best through hands-on experience, demonstrations, experimentation, observation, and visual aids.

Strong sense of justice; emotionally sensitive; strives for perfection and above all a survivor.

Excellent long-term memory for experiences, locations, and faces.

Thinks primarily with images and feelings, not sounds or words (little internal dialogue -- visually deaf).

False Perceptions

Difficulty sustaining attention; seems "hyper" or "daydreamer".

Seems to "Zone out" or daydream often; gets lost easily or loses track of time.

Labelled lazy, dumb, careless, immature, "not trying hard enough," or "behaviour problem."

Isn't "behind enough" or "bad enough" to be helped in the school setting.

Class teachers may be particularly confused by the student whose consistent underachievement seems due to what may look like carelessness or lack of effort.



Additional Information


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