I felt like I had dropped into The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland while doing my first case study for the Final Field Assignment in my Davis Facilitator License Training Program. It was all so amazing and incredible. Here is the story:
Richard was 56 years old and not able to read a pre-primer, Dick and Jane, level book at all, even after weeks of practice with the same book. He had been diagnosed by a local medical school as the most dyslexic person they had ever seen. He was quite proud of this. Along with having an IQ of above 145, he knew his visual gifts were nearly limitless — writing different texts with both hands simultaneously, visualizing six stories at the same time in his mind, and solving high-level math problems instantly in his head.
Richard told me he had tried phonics programs, and they didn’t work at all for him. The letters were moving, rising off the page, and sometimes out the door if his imagination was sufficiently triggered in anger. Richard said, “I built my own computer with no manual, and then I found the website, dyslexia.com. I ordered the CD’s of the book, The Gift of Dyslexia, and it made sense to me!”
As my first case study, I was anxious to see how these Davis processes and techniques would work. In less than an hour, Richard was reading my book on the Civil War, including words like battalion and topographical. You see, Richard was made to read at school, even though he made many, many, many errors, and people would tell him the words when needed — and that was most of the time. Richard knew words, but he just couldn’t see them accurately, as they moved most of the time. Plus, he had no meaning for many of the words he read!
I explained the cause was words for which he had no visual meaning. These words were symbols for concepts that didn’t exist physically in the real world. I explained, “If they don’t actually exist where you could have seen them, how could you ever make a picture of them in your mind with which to think? Try to visualize a flower… easy! Try to visualize a cloud…easy! Try to make a mental picture of the words should, why, was, that, from, by, and many other abstract words… impossible!” Even words he could picture easily, such as cat, dog, house, car, and pencil could be distorted when abstract words were nearby. He was amazed that over half the words he read and heard were these abstract words.
How did I fix this? Because he had received and embraced one of the Davis focusing methods to control his imagination. In less than an hour, he was able to perceive the words correctly, which allowed him to begin recognizing and reading them.
Every technique worked perfectly, just as I had been trained. The Sunday School lessons he had to prepare each week had taken at least ten readings and lots of help from others before he could proceed and teach them. Now he got the lesson completed after just one reading. I heard from Richard several times after his Davis Program. First, he received a score of 98% on the English test to be a census taker. Second, he graduated from HVAC-R school at the local junior college. Third, he became an adjunct professor at that school in math and Theory of Electricity for over six years. He was so proud to send me a list of the textbooks he had read for his classes, so I could put them on my website.
This was just one of many successful programs, but as my first, I will just never, ever forget the ‘wonder’ of it! We both felt we had come through the looking glass of wonderland. Maybe our focusing technique is a true looking glass!
This article was first published in The Dyslexic Reader (Issue 1, 2001 – Vol. 84)