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Understanding Dyslexia - KQED Forum
Tools and Technology
Dan Liebowitz provides educational consulting related to learning differences, ADHD, executive function skills, and assistive technologies.
Dyslexia is a specific language-based learning difference that is neuro-biological in nature and irrespective of intellectual functioning. It is characterized by difficulties with processing the phonological components of print.
Many children with dyslexia experience difficulty learning to read and write. The dyslexic profile can include specific difficulty with handwriting, which is known as dysgraphia. In addition, repeated difficulty with math, known as dyscalculia, may also exist as part of a dyslexic profile.
Despite their weaknesses decoding words, children with dyslexia often possess creativity and strong emotional and cognitive ability.
Dyslexics are big thinkers, who may have trouble processing the details.
These individuals may create brilliant software, but the manual will be filled with misspelled words. They may excel in setting up large-scale financial systems, but when asked to answer, “What does 8x8 equal?” they have to pause a bit too long. Think Charles Schwab or Dr. Carol Greider (2009 Nobel Prize winner in Physiology or Medicine).
Dyslexics are highly creative problem solvers who often come up with solutions and ideas that are outside the box.
Their learning challenges spur them to look for alternatives to pencil and paper to express the fullness of their insights and comprehension of complex concepts. They may have difficulty with the mechanics of learning, but they have unique ideas that come from their fresh perspective on challenges in our world. Think Whoopi Goldberg, Steven Spielberg, or Richard Branson.
Dyslexics are primarily visual-spatial learners often possessing tremendous strengths in visual-spatial thinking.
By building upon these strengths and finding new ways to inspire learning in our children, we can help our students reach their potential. Think Leonardo Da Vinci, Nicholas Negroponte, or Richard Rogers (architect, George Pompidou Center, Paris).