Dyslexia Diagnosis: the Ability Within the Disability


Many who receive the diagnosis of dyslexia are conditioned in believing that it is a negative learning disability. According to research, someone who is dyslexic just has a different ability to process information, specifically within the phonetic region of the brain.

If an individual does not process the same way as the mass population, does this really mean that a disability is present? This may be true, however it can be said that the only disability is in the literal translation of the word “disability” without the negative connotations that seem to be put with it by default. Research shows the learning processes in those with dyslexia are just different than what is expected, or to what is seen amongst the mass population. In this light, the same could be said for those that have an inability to understand the processes of the dyslexic brain.

Some of the most astute characters in the history of human science and development have been diagnosed with dyslexia, including revolutionary scientist Albert Einstein. The musical genius, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, was also one remarkable individual who was said to have had dyslexia.

The question can safely be posed: How much of a disability can it be once it stops being defined within a limited viewpoint?

According to Reading Horizons Dyslexia Specialist, Shantell Berrett, dyslexia is a neurological disorder, no matter which stance one takes on it. This is because of “the way the brain is mapped out in the womb” and is structurally different in the way that the visual-spacial aspect is handled. She goes on to say that the verbal aspect is overemphasized in dyslexics and therefore they often have an enhanced vocabulary. (Could those not diagnosed with dyslexia be said to have a vocabulary disability?) Berret suggests that the weakness lies in the “missed connection between the sounds and the visual representation” of those sounds. Due to their requirement for a different way of being instructed and different approach to being taught how to categorize and program certain phonetics, the label of “neurological disorder” is cast.

“Oh, that is not normal, therefore it must be a disease.”

By definition, the word “disorder” implies chaos or turmoil, and in this context, it implies that the way the dyslexic brain functions is out of alignment with the prevalent order seen in the human brain. Dyslexia is indeed different from the normal functions of the brain, however, it comes across as being a negative “disease” because those who are not dyslexic are unable to relate to those with dyslexia.

Research has shown that when dyslexic students are given the opportunity to perform tests orally and/or with more time, they achieve better results. Even though it seems that people carrying the diagnosis of dyslexia are seen with a certain disability, the true nature of their ability is available for all to see.

Those with dyslexia have a greater connection with the right side of the brain and have enhanced capabilities in comprehension, conceptualization and spatial relationship awareness. What is more, research has shown that their intuition is more readily recognized and they have strong awareness when seeing a higher perspective, or understanding the “bigger picture.” In fact, it has been said that the “wiring” of the dyslexic brain creates the ability to become masters at certain tasks, due to the way the thinking process is engaged.

Going one step deeper within the of potentially enhanced capabilities within the dyslexic; Yale research says that in many who are not dyslexic, IQ levels are dynamically linked with reading (over some time) yet studies have shown that this is not the case with those said to be dyslexic. The article goes on to say that this highlights the independent development of reading and independent development of cognition in the dyslexic learner. This is what forms the basis of the “dyslexic condition” — a simple independence.

It seems that changing the collective view of dyslexia being a disability can assist those with the diagnosis in realizing the potential ability within dyslexia.

Written By: Jessica Rosslee

Dyslexia Diagnosis: the Ability Within the Disability.

Jimmy Kilpatrick, a national recognized professional special education advocate since 1994.

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