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New Web Page -- 12 August 2003

Dyslexia is considered a reading disorder affecting 1 in 5 school children -- and presumably still affecting any adults who did not overcome it during their adolescence.  Importantly, dyslexia is a condition that supposedly persists despite normal or above-average intelligence and quality schooling.  There is, moreover, a body of so-called scientific evidence that suggests that there is "a glitch in the neurological wiring of dyslexics that makes reading extremely difficult for them." [1]

Highly significantly, brain scans show that the cerebrums of people with dyslexia are perfectly normal -- and thereby rules out brain damage as a possible cause of what is perceived as a problem.  The truth is that dyslexics may and often do have brains which are considered extraordinary -- that is, extra-ordinary, with a capital "E". "Dyslexics, in fact, seem to have a distinct advantage when it comes to thinking outside the box." [1] 

Even while referring to dyslexia as a disability, one reporter notes that "dyslexics are overrepresented in the top ranks of artists, scientists and business executives.  Perhaps because their brains are wired differently, dyslexics are often skilled problem solvers, coming at solutions from novel or surprising angles and making conceptual leaps that leave tunnel-visioned, step-by-step sequential thinkers in the dust.  They talk about being able to see things in 3-D Technicolor or as a multidimensional chess game." [1] 

And they call this skill a disability?  Are they crazy?

Consider the arrival in your school of a newly arrived immigrant from Russia -- someone who is fluent in Russian, Greek, and Mandarin Chinese.  Unfortunately, there is no one at the school that speaks any of those three languages, and thus the immigrant must contend with remedial English, starting in many respects from scratch in conversation, reading and writing.  Keep in mind that the new arrival is not suffering from a disability -- and in fact is probably more conversant in language skills than anyone else in the school.  But there is a different methodology used to communicate -- distinct alphabets as well as different vocabularies, sentence structure, and diverse cultural backgrounds.  This causes a lack of "fitting in" -- a skill not necessarily a good thing, and certainly a disadvantage for anyone aspiring to become a cog in the Corporate machine.

It is entirely possible that dyslexia is not a disability, but only a different thinking methodology.  Furthermore, it just might be a better methodology!

It is noteworthy that the left side of the brain is particularly adept at processing language and logic, while the right side is more attuned to mathematics and analyzing spatial cues.  Tests which indicate good spatial relations and mathematical skills are thus right brain functions -- but the latter skills are not as culturally acceptable as the left brain ability to manipulate, control, and make excuses via the wonders of language.

In addition, logic -- even when not taken to the extremes of the average Vulcan -- is a left brain attribute, but is always limited by the input data.  Incomplete data can and will logically lead to an incomplete conclusion.  Intentionally misguided information will likewise lead to intentionally misguided results.  This accounts for the ability of lawyers and politicians to survive and prosper in the world -- all the while avoiding like the plague the label of dysfunctional, brain-skewed dyshumans, a label which is more accurately leveled at these language-prolific scoundrels.

Intuition, however, while often illogical (the good news) and seemingly irrational, is often the preferred route.  Intuition, for example, includes the possibility of divine inspiration, and has no preconceived limit in the input data.  There is also the connectedness of intuitive thinking, which is more in tune with universal reality, and part of the massive universal input potential.

The right side of the brain is also considered the feminine, receptive side -- thus the greater likelihood of externally generated inspiration.  This receptive nature, the ability to allow all manner of input from a variety of sources, seemingly simultaneous, is extraordinary.  It is what allows mathematicians to more easily solve their (mathematical) problems -- but not necessarily allow them to communicate their success to the non-mathematical world.  The fact that participation in marching bands improve mathematical skills is simply that the student in a marching band is practicing different skills at the same time, both music and marching.

Mathematics may be thought of as logic, but in reality, the creation of mathematics (as opposed to the simple repetition of learned techniques, such as in accounting*) is often highly illogical -- at least in the inspiration to strike off into some logically inexplicable direction.  Logic may be applied to justify or prove the intuitive conclusion, but that's only to meet the weird requirements of the left-brain-biased culture.

[*A notable exception is “creative accounting” in which Independent Accounting Firms display an unlimited amount of unlawful, unreasonable, and unaccountable skills in meeting the demands of CEOs in misstating corporate financials.]

This does not eliminate the possibility that in order to function effectively in the current status of the modern world, it might be necessary for the dyslexic to be able to learn the communication technique used by the majority of others -- particularly those in control by means of language skills (politicians, corporate executives, commentators, and religious leaders).  Learning to be in harmony with such a world, of course, can be done by among other things, strengthening the brain's ability to link letters to the sounds they represent.  In effect, this constitutes a rewiring of the brain sufficiently thorough that any so-called neurological glitch disappears.

Is this a good idea?  Are we really certain that a brain "rewiring" – which might also be construed as a brain washing -- is in the best interests of anyone”  How horrendously problematic will it be if someone is not able to master the skills that the majority claim to have mastered, and thus meet the skills demanded by corporations and employers?  It might make better sense to offer the dyslexic a chance to be fluent in the mainstream language medium -- but not at the cost of eliminating the "out of the box" thinking that dyslexics innately possess.  Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.

With the advent of Indigo Children, complete with their unique skills, perhaps the crowd that is dysfunctional is the one committed exclusively to language skills.

As previously mentioned, language is considered the curse of the Kali Yuga.  "Linguists believe that the spoken word is 50,000 to 100,000 years old.  But the written word -- and therefore the possibility of reading -- has probably been around for no more than 5,000 years.  'That's not long enough for our brains to evolve certain regions for just that purpose,' says Guinevere Eden, a professor of pediatrics at Georgetown University in Washington, who also uses brain scans to study reading.  'We're probably using a whole network of areas in the brain that were originally designed to do something slightly different.'  As Eden puts it, the brain is moonlighting -- and some of the resulting glitches have yet to be ironed out." [1] 

Apparently, the word from Eden (pardon the pun) is that reading is a makeshift device designed to get along with a society that reveres writers and philosophers and at the same time shuns plumbers and ditch diggers.  Reality is such, however, that in such a society, inevitably, neither one's theories nor their pipes will hold water.

Reading may serve a purpose, but experience may far exceed it in terms of information or data gathering.  If we are truly capable of telepathy and other aspects of ESP, why aren't those people not reading minds considered to be the dysfunctionals with a "glitch" in their brains?  If we are only using 10 to 15 percent of our brains and DNA, why isn't there a massive research program to bring everyone into a far greater percentage of brain power? 

Meanwhile -- while we wait for all those language-gifted personalities to wake up and smell the roses (literally!) -- what do you do if you're a parent with a dyslexic child?  There is an understandable urge to do everything possible to enable your child to operate in the current state of the world at their greatest effectiveness. 

The difficulty is that the Inter Net is flooded with commercially available methods and techniques for dealing with dyslexia.  One of them is http://www.dyslexia.com, which at least notes the fact that dyslexia is a gift.  That's encouraging.  They go on to state that, "Dyslexic people are visual, multi-dimensional thinkers. We are intuitive and highly creative, and excel at hands-on learning. Because we think in pictures, it is sometimes hard for us to understand letters, numbers, symbols, and written words.  We can learn to read, write and study efficiently when we use methods geared to our unique learning style."  But then they go on to the discussion of how much their techniques will cost.  That may be a necessity, but it’s singularly unfortunate.

The key seems to be that working with mainstream methods to improve your child's ability to pursue happiness in this strange world is a laudatory effort, but you might want to temper it with the idea that nothing should reduce or eliminate the "neurological glitch" which gifts your child with such wonderful visual, multi-dimensional, intuitive, and creative skills.  Adding yet another skill, such as language -- which may not survive in the long run -- is not all bad.  Consider it a temporary fix or band aid.  Just don't forget to nurture and encourage the far more marvelous skills of the dyslexic!

As a final word (or paragraph), it should be noted that perhaps the more encouraging aspect is that families with a dyslexic child in their midst often rally around the child in their quest to help.  Bonding between the members of the family becomes a very real result, and thus Dyslexia has a curious tendency in many cases to create a deep sharing of love, care and affection among family members and friends.

Not bad, for a "glitch" in the neurological brain cage!



[1] Christine Gorman, "The Science of Dyslexia", Time Magazine, July 28, 2003.


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