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Last week, I tried to explain how world view perspectives and consequent filters determine how we interpret information. I say “tried” because interpreting information can be a complicated issue, as things are usually not black and white but many shades of grey. This is not to suggest that truth is not absolute, as much as to say that people will find themselves in differing places along the path from error to truth. I personally believe truth is the ultimate intellectual and spiritual destiny for everyone, even if the individual is not aware of it.
Having said that, let me give you another example of differing perspectives regarding something near to my heart. As a dyslexic, my filters respecting dyslexia are very different from those who see it as a “condition” that needs “fixing”. A recent article I read brought this issue clearly to light.
The article started with, “The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the challenges faced by people with dyslexia, who struggle with reading and writing despite apparently normal vision, intelligence, and spoken language ability.” This is true, but it begs a definition of normal. Also to be questioned is why dyslexics are singled out as affected when the lockdowns are affecting all students.
Dyslexia was then referred to as a disorder that “…affects about 10% of school-age children, and when left untreated has long-term consequences for individual well-being.” The article continued by painting a grim picture for these poor individuals including higher drop-out rates, low literacy, propensity for mental health disorders and addictions, which lead to under-employment, homelessness and incarceration. It ended by inferring that dyslexics represent a societal challenge that requires diagnosis and treatment, especially during pandemic school closures as dyslexics are outside the influences of professionals. Wow! Those are quite the statements!
From the perspective of the article’s author, dyslexics are not only afflicted with a disorder but a societal threat in need of fixing. As a dyslexic, I see the issue much differently.
To start, most dyslexics don’t realize they are dyslexic. They are usually comfortable in their own skins, even if struggling to be like other “normal” people. However, when dyslexics are identified as having a disorder, and attempts are made to normalize them to fit a largely dysfunctional, artificial learning environment, they soon see themselves as weird or broken.
This makes sense when perceived through the eyes of one who believes dyslexics to be “learning challenged”. Since we all perceive things through our own filters, we all have a tendency to place ourselves as the standard by which to measure others. Therefore dyslexics have a disorder according to non-dyslexics.
I don’t believe this sentiment is shared by dyslexics. In fact, since research has shown dyslexics to be very intelligent, it is just as likely that dyslexics see non-dyslexics as being somewhat disconnected from their reality!
The measure of normality is dependent on the beholder. Dyslexics feel perfectly normal in their own skins, but when attempts are made to fit them into a system that cannot meet their needs, they are made to feel lesser in the eyes of others. Sure they can be a little slow to learn to read by non-dyslexic standards, but they will usually learn to read if encouraged at the right time and in the right way, rather than being “treated” or “fixed” so they can appear to be like everyone else.
Remember, if dyslexics are supposedly intelligent, is it possible they can trick the “fixers” into believing they are reading when, in fact, they aren’t? Help dyslexics to learn in their own way and in their own time and they will do well. I would say the pandemic has highlighted the schools’ inabilities more than those of dyslexics.