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Davis Dyslexia Association

Dyslexia: The Gift Information and Resources

Davis Dyslexia Discussion Board

I have only one grade school memory that’s worse than when my kindergarten teacher refused to call on me even though my hand was patiently up… I peed my favorite rainbow-colored, checked jumpers in front of everyone (hey, it was the 1970’s–every body wore them!).  The memory I doubt will ever be erased from my mind though, is the memory of disrupting my class daily by getting up from my desk to make that long, agonizing walk down the hall to the “Remedial Reading Room.” 

It’s not what you think. I don’t think my peers ever teased me because I went to the remedial reading room. In fact, I think many were jealous they were stuck in class while I was off on some mysterious adventure.

You see, in grade school, I was pretty much an A student in everything except penmanship and, the dreaded, reading. Spelling should have also been on that list, but, er um, I kinda cheated on spelling tests, and my mom, being the only non-dyslexic in the house, was the human dictionary at home. Truth be told, the remedial room was not a mysterious adventure, it was a torture chamber. I spent my time there vacillating between crying and wanting to punch people’s lights out for making me do things that I failed at repeatedly. And boy, did I hate failing! Like most dyslexics I was extraordinarily successful at most things I put my mind to, so failure in the remedial room was hard to take.

By Junior High, between Apple Works Spell Checker (God bless spell checkers!) and a highly developed memory, reading and spelling slow ceased to be a noticeable problem. Penmanship, well, that is another story. Truly, my Apple IIE computer had a huge impact on my academic life. By the time I was in college even the best specialist had a hard time detecting my dyslexia. I had learned how to cope so well, that the only noticeable dyslexic trait was the amount of time I would take to read. To this day reading takes me two to three times longer than the average person, but do I ever remember what I have read. In one of the battery of dyslexia tests my memory of spoken or written word was 95% accuracy in recall of long and complicated pieces even several days after reading it.

I graduated from college with high marks, climbed the career ladder with success in positions intensely focused on writing and communication, but somehow, dyslexia still dogged me. Although I was functioning without any visible signs of dyslexia, I was fully cognizant that being dyslexic shaped me in both good and difficult ways, and reading still took longer than it should.

All of that is changing now, and the reason is just as extraordinary as the result. A few months ago a friend recommend I check out the book The Gift of Dyslexia. I’ll admit, I was skeptical. I had already been through a battery of specialist and books claiming they knew “just what to do” for me. So, I grudgingly entered the book’s title into the search engine, which led me to the Davis Dyslexia Association site.

What I read on that site compelled me to get the book from my local library and read it in a day. I am an avid reader, but reading a book in a day was a first for me. I went from thinking “Yeah, it’s a drag, I’m dyslexic” to “Hurray, I am dyslexic!”

Author Ronald D. Davis, with the help of Eldon M. Braun, uses The Gift of Dyslexia to explain how dyslexia is truly a gift allowing dyslexics to accomplish a great many things in a way non-dyslexics would find hard to do. He proposes the genius of the great dyslexics everyone cites, Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, Henry Ford, Whoopi Goldberg, W.B. Yates… is not in spite of their dyslexia, but because of it.

According to Davis, it is widely believed that as humans we either think in terms of verbal conceptualization or nonverbal conceptualization. Most people, whether they realize it or not, think in terms of sound, or verbal conceptualization. Dyslexics think in terms of pictures, or nonverbal conceptualization. This brings us to one of my favorite, new-found facts! The rate a verbal conceptualizer can think is limited to the speed at which words can be composed in a linear fashion. The average is about 150 words per minute, or 2.5 words per second. A nonverbal conceptualizer, like a dyslexic, has the ability to think in a non-linear way, with pictures, anywhere from 400 to 2,000 times faster than a verbal conceptualizer.

As nonverbal conceptualizers, dyslexics are very aware of their surroundings, often find “day dreaming” an effective way to problem solve, and can be very gifted at finding creative solutions to difficult, multifaceted problems at lighting speed.

The problem arises when the dyslexic talents collide with areas where dyslexia makes the task more difficult, like reading. Excitingly for us dyslexics, our teachers and our friends, Davis has discovered a program that helps dyslexics discover how to use dyslexia when it is helpful and how to turn it off when it is not. The book defines dyslexia, discusses successes shared and problems faced by many dyslexics, and gives detailed instructions on how to uses Davis’s procedure to overcome the difficulties of dyslexia. It is amazing—absolutely nothing like any other expert dyslexia advice I have ever received. I am nothing short of amazed by what Davis’s program is doing for me!

No! Paul Popiel is not going to pop out and offer you a related product! I am completely serious! If you don’t believe me, check out the web sites in the sidebar, or check the book out from your local library. What have you got to lose? Only the chance to fully use one of the greatest gifts you could ever have!

Kellee K. Sikes is a contributing editor for LiNE Zine and Principal of Pioneer Technologies. With the gift of dyslexia she founded Pioneer Technologies, Inc. to shares her lightening fast troubleshooting abilities and secrets for success with her clients through business analysis, project management, and business development. Share your dyslexia story with her at kellee@linezine.com.

 

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