How Dyslexia Works (for Me)
I came across someone who owns a school for special students. She is a caring and helpful person. But she holds very fixed ideas about how to teach someone to read.
You learn the letters. You sound out how the letters are supposed to sound-like with temporarily ignoring the many exceptions which are context-sensitive. Those exceptions are difficult to deal with. But she teaches the "building blocks" of words and demands that her special students follow along in that process. She is, after all, the person who has taught special students for over 35 years and she knows. And, indeed she did know a lot, but not how to teach dyslectics to read. I know how to do that.
Her process is "logical" to her as she does not have dyslexia. And, it is logical to almost the entire school systems in the U.S.
Learn the pieces, sound out the pieces, and then fit the pieces' sounds into words. Makes sense. Except that dyslectics attach zero importance to that kind of step by step process. The reason is that there is no allowance for personal adoption of importance to it. Importance is the key concept as it is importance that determines how things show up in your perception... importance. And just to make it a fuss, the importance is not static, it varies over time a lot... now that goofs you up a lot.
That importance works for me (as I have now observed it) with color first and then shapes. So letters on their own have no importance at all and certainly not because a teacher imposes some step by step order that was not honoring my own method.
For me, straight lines up and down have a preference in perception. So "l's" and "1's and the up and down lines of "d's" and "b's" etc. It is the lines that get perceptual importance. The rest of the letter "may" be ignored, and maybe not.
And circles as in "O's" and the circle in "d's" and "b's" get perceptual importance too.
AND not in a logical order. Just the round shapes today and the lines tomorrow. Those shapes dance around in my mind's eye. I have noticed that if I am tired, then the perception of letters changes. I can add a "river" of yellow to all the circles in letters and that river of yellow with dominate what the printed page looks like... if I am tired it does that. All the round shapes turn yellow and if I squint a bit, there is a river of yellow going down the page. That is perceptually important.
So, the point here is that teaching LETTERS is a bad way to go for a dyslectic person.
What does work is to teach WORDS. Never mind the letters. Just go straight for the words and have a picture of the thing that the word is for right with it. THAT I get immediately. I know this from experience. And it is how I type using a keyboard. I type the words. I have never actually remembered where the letters are. But have memorized how to type the word... THAT I remember and it is now embedded in my mind over many years of typing words, not letters. This runs totally counter to how people teach how to type which is the reason why I taught myself.
So, I have tried to tell this to some special students teachers. And WOW do they not want to hear that...!!!
My merely bringing this up has generated anger from the special student teachers. That amazes me. I have learned to just not bring it up as it has no audience amongst special student teachers at all. It has shown me how I realize how difficult it can be for dyslectics because only someone with dyslexia knows this and that is IF they have chosen to observer it themselves and to watch how it works. Maybe I am unique in that regard. I have no way of knowing, though. I regard dyslexia as very personal happening and it takes a personal curiosity to watch how some mental perceptual mechanics work.
All of this can be dealt with, though, if you know and accept it. Acceptance brings relaxation and followed on that is curiosity and remembering one's own special perceptual mechanics.