learning disability

Stop bullying of dyslexic kids

Experts in dyslexia have for many years focused on teaching children to read in the conventional way. But there are hidden costs to this more-of-the-same approach that impact many children who have a hard time in a mainstream classroom: self-harm, such as cutting or anorexia, and bullying.

There are different types of reading: eye reading, ear reading and finger reading. Blind people read with their fingers; mainstream people read with their eyes. In my case, I use my ears, as shown in this demonstration of using speech built into a standard iPad from Headstrong Nation, a national organization for dyslexic people.

It’s very important for all children to get a fair chance at learning to read with their eyes. However, focusing on eye reading in perpetuity can create painful shame. The shame comes from being told that part of you is unworthy—the part that does not read with one's eyes.

Read the rest of Headstrong Founder Ben Foss's most recent post for the NCLD here...

When I came back to get my results, the lab coat–wearing researcher looked very nervous. She couldn’t make eye contact with me and fidgeted in her seat. The more anxious she looked, the more nervous I got that this wasn’t going to go well. She finally looked up from her clipboard, and the following conversation ensued.

“Ben, I don’t know how to tell you this...but you’re really dyslexic.”

“Really? Excellent!” I meant it. I was greatly relieved.

Read the rest of Headstrong Nation founder Ben Foss's recent post for the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD): What Dyslexia Looks Like in My Brain.

"As a dyslexic person, reading is like having a bad cell phone connection to a page. Information drops out, and I can’t access the content. When I listen to a book on tape or a talking computer, it’s like having a landline. Mainstream readers “eye read”; people who are blind and use Braille “finger read”; I “ear read.”

When I was a kid, I desperately wanted to understand the joy of reading. This desire quickly turned into a deep sense of shame. I assumed my slow eye reading must have been my fault for not trying hard enough—rather than the problem being a flaw in the design of the book itself. I created elaborate camouflage—I even won a local bookmark-making contest! I wanted everyone to think I was “well read,” but all of my energy was going into hiding who I really was. For the first time in my life, I officially love books. That’s because today, I published one. It’s a step-by-step plan to help parents of kids who are dyslexic like me find the path that will allow their children to love books, too. For someone who always felt left out when others began discussing literature, this is a profound moment."

Read the rest of Headstrong Nation founder, Ben Foss's Dyslexia Insight #3: What It Takes for a Dyslexic Kid to Love Books from the NCLD.


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