DYSLEXIA and DYSCALCULIA

Numerous people classify dyslexia and dyscalculia as a learning disability. (For the sake of brevity dyslexia will be listed instead of dyslexia and/or dyscalculia) From my experience this couldn’t be farther from the truth. I believe people with dyslexia actually have a gift not a disability. In fact numerous people with dyslexia have improved our way of living for the better.

Listed below are a few:

  • Ann Bancroft – Artic Explorer
  • Albert Einstein – Scientist/Inventor
  • Charles Lindberg – Aviator
  • George Burns – Actor
  • Stonewall Jackson
  • Alexander Graham Bell – Inventor
  • Michael Faraday – Physicist
  • Eli Whiney – Inventor
  • Alyssa Milano – Actress
  • George Bush
  • Thomas Edison – Inventor
  • Henry Ford – Inventor
  • Fred Astaire – Performer
  • Winston Churchill
  • George Washington

Many of these people were shunned by childhood instructors because they weren’t learning like the “normal” children. As you can see from the list above, people blessed with dyslexia are many times more intelligent than “normal” people. People with dyslexia learn and think differently than other people. They are recognized by some as free thinkers.

If you or your child has dyslexia – take heart, it can be overcome. Below is a story of my youngest son and how we learned to use his gifts.

Elijah’s Story

Elijah's StroyAfter home schooling our children for several years, I noticed a significant difference in the way our youngest son, Eli, was learning compared to the older two. It was quite interesting. He could answer third grade science questions that I read out loud, but was struggling with his own kindergarten reading books. I chalked the difference up to the fact that every child learns differently and at his own pace.

Once he started reading, like every other child, he read signs while we were out an about. I really wondered what was up when he read a sign that said, STOP “ON” RED as STOP “NO” RED. In his reading I noticed that he got b’s and d’s and m’s and w’s mixed up frequently. It was hard for him to distinguish between 3’s and capital E’s also. When he started getting was and saw mixed up I assumed he had a slight case of dyslexia. I went slow – but not slow enough. I didn’t know too much about his unique style of learning.

When he reached fourth grade I knew we needed help. This is the time dyslexia usually stands out. Besides being way behind in his ability to read aloud, write, or spell he was failing math, even though I knew he understood the problems. One problem was he couldn’t always remember the facts, but even when he did, he just couldn’t keep everything in a straight line, which made long division and multiplication impossible. Some days we both cried. I was at my wits end and so was he. I decided to go to a seminar about dyslexia. I would like to share some interesting techniques and facts with you to help you and your child.

  • SLOW DOWN. It is not a race to see whose child can read the best or fastest. By allowing him to pick out books he was interested in reading, and pointing to every single word with my finger so he didn’t lose his place, he started reading better. When he first started, it was hard for me not to fall asleep, but it was a necessary step. By making him read aloud, I could stop him from faking it. Sometimes dyslexic children will look at the picture or read a small portion of a sentence and then guess the ending. It is important to note here that dyslexic children should not be forced to read more than small sections of a book at a time. This creates a love of reading. Instead of dreading it, reading become something the child looks forward to every day.
  • Just like a person who can lift 500 pounds does not start with a 400 pound weight. A dyslexic child must slowly build up to a paragraph at a time. You will fill in the rest while the child listens. Eventually he will want to read more. Now, sometimes Eli begs me to let him keep reading. He can now read aloud with more feeling and emotion than our other two children. Even though he is in the ninth grade this is still a part of each school day, and we both love it. Ahhhh! Peace and happines.
  • Besides the above scholastic differences there are a few others I didn’t realize were connected until I went to this seminar. I noticed he could detect interesting patterns where none of us could see any. He thought the sign for windshield wipers in my mom’s car looked like a fox. When he pointed it out, I could see it too. Because dyslexia is found in the sensory part of the brain. Some things you may notice about your child is s/he may be more sensitive to touch than others children. For our son, he could not stand the feel of new T-shirts against his skin. I had to wash them several times before he felt comfortable wearing them. Also, he loved to be tickled, even up to eleven years old. One mother told me her son couldn’t stand to wear shoes with any kind of an arch in them so she had to buy him cheap shoes with very flat insoles.
  • There is another kind of unique learning style called – dyscalculia. It is similar to dyslexia but involves understanding and manipulating numbers. I now understood why he was failing math. I thought I was doing something wrong. He thought he was doing something wrong. We both learned what to do right.
  • Take a sheet of wide lined notebook paper. Fold it so it has eight boxes. (Fold in half, in half again, and in half one more time.) Now open it. Turn it so the lines are going down. (Turn it sideways.) Now the child has eight large boxes that keep numbers in a straight line, with plenty of room to work any problem. I stated that I tried using graph paper. The mothers gasped and said that was way too small and hard to read for anyone with dyslexia or dyscalculia. I decided to start over with him in math and go very slowly. By going slowly with no goal in mind as to what and when he was to finish, and using the notebook paper technique, he started getting better grades in math. Click on the photos below for a closer look..
 
  • I use the A Beka math program. I like using only the quiz and test booklets for each student’s seat work. This means that instead of twenty to fifty problems each day we do only ten to thirty. (With my children this has been plenty of work. They all understand math better than any subject.) Every day we would go over each and every problem, with me writing it out and him telling me the answers. Then the next morning he would work the problems himself. If he got one wrong we went over it again. Slowly he started remembering addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts. Every day he felt more confident in his ability and so did I. I didn’t see algebra in his future but he was getting much better grades. The example of the tortoise and hare is a perfect analogy for this situation. XXX

I was completely wrong about algebra. Last year he was in eighth grade. He received and “A” in his pre-algebra class. This year he is taking Algebra 1, and he is getting all A’s. Now, many times, he tells me the answer before I can write the problem down. Wonderful!

Some websites that can help: