This is the program objective that one of my young clients spontaneously gave herself: “unlearn dyslexia’.
Her answer is so relevant and lucid about her difficulty that I wanted to share it with you.
How does one unlearn?
I may shock some people, but yes, dyslexia is the result of learning. Of course, this learning is completely involuntary, unconscious and even impossible to pin down if you don’t know what to look for.
Let’s take a quick look at what happens when learning to read. A child who discovers the world spends a lot of time associating a sound with an object or an action. It is the discovery of speech, and unless there is a particular problem, it is almost impossible to prevent a child from learning to speak.
Then one day this child sees a “funny object”: a word.
But the word is not the thing. Like René Magritte and his painting “This is not a pipe“, we can say that this “cat” is not a cat.
If the child does not make the link between these three small drawings “c”, “a” and “t” and the hairball which makes “meow”, he risks learning dyslexia instead of learning to read.
A changing characteristic
Any dyslexic and any parent of a dyslexic child knows this very well: There are days with and days without. Some days, the child has good results. At other times, notions that we thought were acquired are lacking and the results are not there.
In fact, even very good readers may have difficulty reading on certain days, under certain conditions of fatigue, worry, noise, etc.
The reason for these unpredictable changes is that the child has not learned to handle words as symbols. On the contrary, he has developed stronger than average capacities for imagination to understand the world and tries to understand words as if they were objects.
Little by little, from failure to failure, the child crystallizes semblances of solution which, even if they are not effective, allow him at least to limit frustration and the feeling of failure.
She learns dyslexia.
A characteristic to change
The “capacity for dyslexia” is therefore not stable, constant, unchanging. Not like the color of the eyes, the shape of the face or the timbre of the voice.
And since it is a changing behavior, so it is that we can change it. The reflection seems strange and strongly resembles a truism but it is of great power. This is the reflection that Ron Davis made himself now forty years ago and which led him to master his own dyslexia and to create the method which bears his name.
It is this change that my young client is making. She began to unlearn her dyslexia and to understand how these “funny drawings” found in books work.
Some beginning paths
If your child is beginning to learn to read:
- Stay calm and kind in the face of his difficulties. He needs support more than you do.
- If the child has trouble deciphering, do not force her, do not ask her to guess.
- Know that decoding is useful but not essential for reading. Other methods exist and the Davis method is an excellent example.
- Have him rather “photograph” the word, especially emphasizing what it means.
- I repeat: be sure that she makes the link between the word and what it means.
- Make sure he understands what he is reading (yes, I repeat again). For that, do not ask him “did you understand?” but rather “tell me what is going on in the story“.
- Start with a few words representing her everyday world. Always the same few words until she can recognize them instantly and effortlessly.
- Gradually increase the vocabulary of perfectly mastered words with new everyday words. So, he shouldn’t need to find tricks to escape reading.
And if these few lines are not enough, two last paths:
- Read Ron Davis’ books “The Gift of Dyslexia” and “The Gift of Learning”. They are mines of information.
- Consult a Davis facilitator, they are a wealth of knowlege.
Thus, the child may avoid having to say, like my young client “I want to unlearn dyslexia” because the child will have learned to read and not dyslexia.
This article has been translated from French by Abigail Marshall, with the help of Google translate. For the original French version of the main article, see https://www.infodyslexie.org/lettre-information/.
The drawings on this page are original artwork from the website www.infodyslexie.org — they are used with permission from the site owner.