RITES Student Explains Dyslexia by I. K.
I.K. is a 7th grader whose favorite subject is math.
You might not be dyslexic but you might have some kids in your class that are. This article will help you better understand what dyslexic kids are going through.
Most people know that the biggest struggle for dyslexic kids and adults is reading. This will describe to you what it is like for some dyslexic kids. You pick up a book and when you open it, you read, but then your brain says, “This is a better-fit word for this sentence.” So that is what you see and read even though that word is not really there. Or maybe after a few seconds, you have to take a break because the words start to smoosh together. And sometimes they decide to spread out on you. Or other times, it is d r o w k c a b. Or even upside down. But it is always hard to learn to read when you are dyslexic. It will always take us 2 times as long as it does for other people to read. Sometimes we have to read it twice, once to decode and once to understand. Listening to audiobooks is a great way for dyslexics to read and research shows it can activate similar parts of the brain.
Dyslexia affects not only reading, but also writing. One way dyslexia affects writing is it takes longer because dyslexics have to think through every word. Dyslexic’s handwriting is often messy because they are trying to go fast to keep up. Sometimes when I am writing it takes me so long to get the first part of the sentence down that I forget the second part. Without lines, dyslexics have a hard time writing straight across the page. Technology can help with speech to text or just typing because typing can be faster than writing by hand. It can also be hard for dyslexics to edit their own writing because it is hard for them to scan for mistakes. In addition, punctuation can be hard to figure out because it can all look the same. But the hardest part about writing for dyslexics is remembering how to spell words.
For dyslexics, letters can sound very similar and letters can look almost the same, which can make spelling extremely difficult. For example, dyslexics have a hard time telling B’s and D’s apart when they are not capitalized. Also, P’s and Q’s can easily get mixed up. In the beginning, dyslexics have a very hard time telling short and long vowel sounds apart. Another challenge is writing out words that they’ve heard because it is hard to match the sounds to the letters. Often on tests spelling counts and using Kahoot or Quizlet does not help you study the spelling. Another thing for dyslexics is it’s hard to relearn stuff that they learned wrong. For example, I always spell “qu” as “cw”. Because of all this, it is really hard to copy the board, especially if the teacher writes in cursive or very small letters. Even as dyslexics get better at spelling with interventions like Orton-Gillingham, it is still hard for them to remember how to spell words while they are writing fast. Talking is very distracting, even small conversations can make you forget the entire thing you were writing. In addition for most dyslexics are challenged by grammar and remembering different parts of speech.
Listening and Other Strengths
Many dyslexic kids are good listeners. Other strengths are their great ability to notice things that others don’t, like seeing the bigger picture. They also usually have good spatial knowledge because they are picture thinkers. Many dyslexics are good at creating businesses because of their people skills. Some famous dyslexic businessmen are Richard Branson and Walt Disney. Other dyslexics are highly creative actors and artists like Tom Cruise and Leonardo da Vinci. These dyslexics were so successful because they use their advantages to counterbalance their weaknesses.
Most people think that dyslexia is just about having a hard time reading and writing. It actually can affect many areas of learning. Some dyslexic kids can have a hard time with math because when they copy a problem from the board they switch the number order. Some dyslexics can not write without lines on the paper. Another example can be that they need more time to read directions twice but teachers go too fast to let them read twice. Some fonts, text size, and colors are hard to read for dyslexics. Most people don’t know that dyslexics need a bigger font size on the whiteboard, websites, and books. All these things can really add up to make learning and getting through the school day difficult. In addition, we normally don’t think about the other areas of life like learning an instrument that can be affected by dyslexia.
Even though I love music, in the beginning, it was really hard to read the notes. When I was learning the violin sometimes notes were upside down and hard to read. I had to practice very hard to be able to read the notes in the song fast enough to play the song. Now it takes me a long time to learn new songs when I get them. I can’t just sight-read them. But once I learned them, I can play them very well. This is one example of how dyslexics just have to learn a different way than most people but they can learn successfully.