Is hidden talent synonymous with potential

Reading and writing weaknesses

Dyslexia - the learning disability a hidden talent?

Society has a hard time with dyslexics. However, dealing with them in a new way reveals valuable skills.

Imagine you are in first grade at school and you are asked to read a text. You start concentrated, but the words begin to blur more and more, to dance in the room, to turn in all possible directions and to be reassembled. You get dizzy, nauseous, and all you bring out of your mouth is mistakes and again, mistakes. You have forgotten a word, skipped a line, inserted wrong words, you could not grasp the meaning of what you read. Now the class laughs at you, the teacher rebukes you, calls you incompetent and in general, you should learn more and with greater concentration. How do you feel? And how will you feel the next time you have to read a text?

Many students feel like this or similar. Experts estimate that between 5 and 15 percent of all schoolchildren show reading and spelling skills that are well below average and that can indicate dyslexia.

The word dyslexia is made up of “legere”, Latin for reading, and “asthenie”, Greek for weakness, and is defined in the lexicon as reading and spelling weaknesses with comparatively average or even good general talent.

The problem of the school system

What is important in our schools? How are students judged and their educational opportunities determined?

Programs are determined, a curriculum drawn up; Discussed standards that every child must meet. If it does not meet the minimum requirements, it is quickly described as incapable.

The subjects that carry the most weight, without which a life according to our social expectations is not possible, are reading, writing and arithmetic. It is precisely in these areas that dyslexics struggle. One child put it very aptly: “I can do so much and know a lot more than other children my age. Why can't they see that in school and just accept that I make a few more spelling mistakes than others.

Why are these misspellings more important than anything else that defines me as a person?"Yes, personality, creativity, deviations from the norm are not in demand, they are even considered obstacles. The school classes are large, the teachers are more and more overwhelmed, they have many difficulties with which they have to deal, so every extra problem For example, a dyslexic child, an additional burden. It is also the case that many teachers are not trained for such learning difficulties and are therefore not in a position to recognize dyslexia, let alone cater to a child and support it individually.

It is much easier, and all too often, to describe a child as lazy, their posture at work as problematic and their ability to concentrate poorly. It also happens that a child is labeled as mentally retarded and is deported to a special school.

Now comes a mother who tells the teachers that her child is exceptionally gifted because she has observed that her son or daughter seems to be remarkably advanced in terms of intellectual development, that he or she can grasp and question connections very well and maybe have a keen interest in other topics, such as history or science.

Everyone can imagine what emerges from this: a family struggle against a school system that does not tolerate the unfamiliar. A cycle of disappointment, discouragement, restlessness, hope and perseverance begins. The children have to undergo examinations, intelligence tests, which often turn out that the IQ is not too low as expected, but above average. At some point the diagnosis of dyslexia is made and the student can now be put in a drawer. And then? Then there are self-help groups, lectures, associations, institutes ... many attempts, many disappointments. There is no real help for too long. This complicated and confusing structure, in which those affected are still left to their own devices, robs the majority of children of the opportunity to catch up on their performance deficits in the field of writing through targeted and early support measures.

We came into contact with the feelings of the affected child at the beginning of the article. Something starts to roll for him too, which will shape him for his entire life and which is very difficult to reverse. He is expected to conform to the general norm, to learn more, to concentrate more. It is reproached, it is deeply hurt in its essence.

Self-esteem drops, the fear of failure sits deep in his neck, which makes constructive learning impossible anyway. Lack of understanding and acceptance can develop psycho-reactive disorders; this can be expressed as follows:

extremely restless and unfocused behavior; Attention deficits, resignation or aggression behavior towards all who are connected with performance requirements; Withdrawal, fearfulness, discouragement; self-esteem and self-esteem can sink so low that suicidal reactions can occur.

The children are also induced to develop compulsive solutions to mask their weakness. While this is not a solution, it does bring you relief from the constant frustration. For example, they learn to recite the alphabet by heart in the form of an ABC song, but they don't really know the letters. Or they try to concentrate very hard and slowly decipher each word, but the disadvantage is that it leads to a headache.

Unfortunately, it is not recognized that these children have their talents and abilities in another area, it does not fit into the system either. Mistakes are more likely to be seen than talents.

Think in pictures

He was nine years old and still couldn't speak fluently. His parents thought he was retarded, his headmasters said that nothing would come of him anyway. What would you say today? This boy is Albert Einstein, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921. Numerous inventors, artists and scientists are dyslexic, for example Thomas Edison, Leonardo da Vinci, Walt Disney, Whoopi Goldberg ... All of them were or are highly gifted, possibly precisely because of the dyslexia.

The difficulties that dyslexics face stem from having a different mindset than the majority of people. There are actually two types of thinking. One is the verbal way of thinking, it runs straight in time. When you think verbally, you speak words internally and string them together in sentences. This is possible at an average speed of 150 words per minute.

The other is the non-verbal way of thinking, a way of thinking in pictures that is evolutionary, which means that the picture grows as more and more terms are added to the picture. This thinking is several thousand times faster than verbal thinking. As one boy puts it: “Thinking and imagining are the same for me. I can think three things at the same time. (...) I see something as a film, then I think, but everything at the same time ... and I can also control everything. "A pictorial thinker can see a single image that can only be described with hundreds or thousands of words. Einstein, for example, discovered his theory of relativity in a daydream of a few seconds, but for which he discovered one

Tons of books were needed to explain it. The adage seems to be confirmed: a picture is worth a thousand words.

Due to their changed perception, dyslexics have the ability to look at an object from many different angles and, still in thought, to combine them into a clear three-dimensional image. A two-year-old dyslexic boy sees a ball of white in the living room. He doesn't recognize it immediately, which gives him a sense of confusion that changes his perception. He loses his balance a little, his internal clock stops for a few seconds, at this moment he begins to look at the white fur ball from all sides. This begins to unfold in the boy's thoughts, paws come out, the tail, the head ... the little boy recognizes the cat, the feeling of confusion stops. This boy has also developed a system for later years that is much faster and more precise than analytical and logical thinking could ever be, for example for consciously recognizing a fur ball. Only he develops little or no skills in language, in verbal-conceptual thinking, which is necessary for analysis and logic. Hence, difficulties arise in entering school where such skills are expected. The letters that the teacher writes on the blackboard say nothing to the dyslexic, he cannot connect them to an inner picture, he cannot recognize them.

The language actually consists of letters, words, sounds that are empty in themselves, which we fill with meaning, i.e. use as symbols. When we think we are having an inner monologue, we hear what we are saying. Dyslexics do not have a monologue or hear each other. They run a three-dimensional film that is constantly in motion and is captured by several senses.

Now what happens in a dyslexic when their symptoms appear?

A stimulus occurs that is not recognized. This can be an object, a symbol, a spoken or written word.

This ignorance creates confusion. As a result of this confusion, the person concerned becomes disoriented, that is, he activates his brain to change its perception. The disorientation is used to mentally view the stimulus from different points of view and thereby recognize it. This works with objects or animals (for example the cat), but not with language, which, as we have seen, only stands for ideas or concepts. The word is now seen in all possible variants, forwards, backwards, upside down or newly composed. Usually the word also hovers three-dimensionally in space.

The different perspectives that the disoriented person examines are registered in the brain as real perceptions; in the case of language, these perceptions are imprecise. Since they are recorded as real, it is no longer possible to differentiate between right and wrong and errors arise. Then begins the spiral of error, frustration, development of compulsive solutions, and learning disabilities that we have already looked at.

Helping people help themselves

There are only a few ways to get dyslexics out of their spiral. There are institutions that work with spelling laboratories and with computer programs, for example in the form of holiday courses, which are quite successful, or self-help groups. However, as mentioned earlier, outside of such programs, those affected are left to their own devices.

Ronald D. Davis was able to remedy this. He developed a method that offers real help for self-help; Dyslexics learn something independently that they can train and use again and again.

How did it come about? Ronald D. Davis is a dyslexic himself and went through all the ups and especially the lows of a life that could not conform to the general norm. Even so, he became an engineer, then started making art and became a sculptor. One day he made the experience that when he was completely absorbed in his artistic activity, he could not decipher a shopping list or write legibly what else he had learned to do. It always happened as soon as he used his talent for altered perception, which enabled him to contemplate and see an object in his mind from all sides.

So he realized that he had no brain damage - no structural problem, as some experts still suspect - and that he was apparently able to influence his symptoms willingly; all he had to do was figure out the how. He then developed his concept, which is based on two main pillars:

Orientation training: Ronald D. Davis discovered that he kept changing the location from where he was looking at his mental images. He also noticed that his dyslexic symptoms increased or decreased depending on where he looked. He called this “place” the spiritual eye, synonymous with imagination. He also noticed that this spiritual eye was also the spiritual center of other senses, the hearing,

the sense of balance, movement and the sense of time (therefore symptoms such as dizziness, nausea or loss of sense of time may occur). For example, when dyslexics look at a letter and become disoriented, they instantly have dozens of different views of it, their mind's eye moving around the letter as if it were an object in space. It's like a helicopter; who flies around a building and monitors it. Here is the disorientation at work to recognize the object.

Now it is time to find the "switch" who can turn the disorientation on and off. This happens because the dyslexic learns to consciously bring his mental eye to a certain point, then he is oriented and can perceive the external world correctly. The location of the spiritual eye varies slightly from person to person, it lies on the symmetry plane of the body, a few centimeters above the head and moved back a little.

The aim of this training is not to prevent disorientation, but to be able to switch it on and off, because it is a valuable talent, for example in the field of art.

The symbol mastery training: As we have seen, various stimuli trigger disorientation. For many dyslexics, it is caused by certain letters and punctuation marks, or by mathematical symbols and numbers. If one really wants to eliminate the learning disability, all trigger words and symbols must be learned until they are completely mastered. Those affected knead letters, words and symbols out of clay, identify them and practice using them. For example, they knead a comma, then form the written word “comma” and then search for the character in various texts and thus learn how to use it. The same with words, where the word and the corresponding image of the term are formed, and with numbers.

As soon as the main meaning of a trigger word has been mastered, the dyslexic can begin to think non-verbally with this word and no longer needs to use forced solutions.

What should definitely not be missing, accompanying this training, is love. The love for this talented person who may never have been properly understood and who still has many open wounds. He needs to be motivated again and again, to get the understanding and real interest, so that his self-esteem is strengthened again. He needs an openness, a life-affirming attitude that shows him: "Your life is important and worth living, it makes sense". And not to forget, also in this situation, the humor that makes so many things easier and gives so much courage and strength to conquer the mountain.

Recognize talent as talent

In the course of this article, it has become clear what talents dyslexics have. Let's go into a little more detail.
Dyslexics are very inquisitive, they sometimes make their parents sweat with their many questions. They have pictorial, intuitive and complex thinking that enables them to solve the most difficult brain teasers. You have the ability to consciously see mental images in three dimensions and to walk around them in your imagination. It even goes so far that they can experience self-generated mental images as real external appearances. Your creative potential is high, the creativity that makes new inventions, redesigns and changes possible. Many scientists, engineers, artists and dancers benefit from these talents.

So dyslexics are highly gifted, talented people, which, due to our structures, do not fit into our school system. They cannot be squeezed into our norms and therefore they are inconvenient. Perhaps it is time for us to think about norms. What is a norm? It is a rule, a rule according to which something is carried out. These norms change over time and can vary from place to place, from people to people. We know our norms; If these norms were different, however, the dyslexic people would possibly be viewed in their entirety with weaknesses and talents and their positive sides would be emphasized.

At the moment, our society seems to have the tendency to want to squeeze everything into generally applicable norms, to globalize everything, as the saying goes.Everyone has to go through the same system, everyone has to have achieved certain points in order to be able to function in our society at all, to be anyone at all. There is no longer any consideration of individuality, personal talents, no, it is even annoying when someone is different. Yet everyone has their place on earth where they should have the right to develop their inherent talents. We don't all need to be the same.

Many monocultures are grown in forestry and agriculture. The plants have to share the same layer of soil, the same nutrients and the same water, or rather, they have to struggle for it, a kind of competition arises that does not exist in mixed cultures. It is the same with us humans. Since we all have to fight for the same positions, for the same places, competition and selfishness arise. Rather, the path looks like that each person uses their possibilities, personal abilities and talents for the benefit of the whole. This would create an enormous potential for positive developments and collaboration, work hand in hand, even with dyslexics.

Yasmina Schwab

Contacts: Davis Dyslexia Association, Conventstr. 14, DE-22089 Hamburg, Tel (040) 2517 86 22. or Davis Dyslexia Association, Franz Toetschel, Freie Strasse 21, CH-4001 Basel, Tel (061) 272 24 00.

Sources: Dyslexia as a talent signal, Ronald D. Davis, Ariston Verlag 1995 When the words dance, Saskia Steltzer, Ariston Verlag 1998

Source: Journal: No. 26/2. Quarter 2000
Contact address Austria: ZeitenSchrift, PO Box 229, AT-6890 Lustenau.
Publisher: ZeitSchrift, Postfach, CH-6343 Rotkreuz. Tel: + 41- (0) 41-798 11 98;
Fax: + 41- (0) 41-798 11 90

An article by Yasmina Schwab

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