I recently came across two interesting data points that made me start thinking: “What if the Majority of the Population had Dyslexia?”

The first was an interesting blog titled “Using “Correct Language” And “People First” by Ira David Socol “ that described how commonly known word categorizations often demean the objects of these categorizations. For example, learning disabled, assumes that the people in this category are disabled. If you look up the definition of the word “disabled” in the Webster dictionary you get the following definition:

Disabled: “incapacitated by illness or injury; also : physically or mentally impaired in a way that substantially limits activity especially in relation to employment or education”.

The second data point that came my way was actually a tweet from a twitter called dughall that simply stated “Dyslexia is not so much about learning ‘difficulties’, but about learning ‘differences’.”

As a ‘heavy’ dyslexic, these two data points triggered a thread of thought. For years I have been told that I had a learning disability called dyslexia. The “regular” school system targets “normal” students. The teaching methods, the facilities are all designed for these “normal” students. The system was not designed for people with dyslexia. If you have dyslexia then you need to get special tutoring, purchase assistive technology, request for special testing conditions etc.

Two facts are well known about dyslexics:

1)      Dyslexia has NOTHING to do with intelligence. Some of humanity’s top contributors are known to have been dyslexic. (You can see the cool video “The Power Of Dyslexia about Famous Dyslexics”)

2)      Dyslexic’s reading and writing processing is performed differently then the “normal” population

It is estimated that 5% to 17% of the population has dyslexia. But what if the majority of the population had dyslexia? What if the majority of the population processed their reading and writing just as dyslexics do?

Then what… Well then… Probably the schools would include in their “regular” Reading and Writing teachings programs that are tuned for dyslexics… Probably leading Word Processing vendors such as Microsoft and Apple would include in their core product what is known today as “Writing and Reading Assistive” technologies… Probably English would have naturally evolved to a language with a higher letter and sound correspondence rate, with less English irregularities (see “Ghoti”) and more simplified English spelling …

My Conclusion:

People with Dyslexia simply have learning differences then the rest of the population…It is only because the “system” is designed today for “normal” people that dyslexics have learning difficulties… and it is only because of how the “normal” people categorize dyslexics that they (we) are called “learning disabled”

8 thoughts on “What if the Majority of the Population had Dyslexia?

  • May 20, 2009 at 10:23 am
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    Give power to the poeple (with dyslexia)….

    TOTTALY ARGEE…

  • May 21, 2009 at 12:16 pm
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    Good article, well reasoned. I profoundly agree.

    I usually take it further and say “If 95% of people were dyslexic, non-dyslexia would manifest as a disability.”

    Having said that, all people, dyslexic or otherwise, have issues to resolve and need to develop coping stratagies for their limitations. I would love to have a better short-term memory, for example – so have worked on developing systems to help me with that problem. That is a work in progress.

    The good thing about this thought experiment – the ratio reversal – is that it is a starting point for thinking about how the world would be arranged if dyslexics were in the majority. And that is useful in helping us start to work out how we can arrange our lives in order to be happier, more contented, less stressed individuals

    Your blog is going in my favourites list.

    Rod

    • May 21, 2009 at 5:59 pm
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      Rod – thanks so much for this encouraging comment.
      I am new to blogging – so getting an encouraging comment is much appreciated…

      I completely agree that we dyslexics need to see how better to cope with our limitations/unique capabilities 🙂

      This is exactly why I started Ghotit. I was tired of having all these thoughts to express, but no real capability to express them clearly… I finally decided to develop the solution that I knew would work for me….

      Cheers, Ofer

  • May 29, 2009 at 7:32 pm
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    Nice thoughts.

    A diversity of software suppliers is good for the market and the needs of users which vary. It could be cheaper the mainstream the uses become.

    You talk about phonetics. People have tried for a long time to bring in phonetic spelling. American English being a little more that way than British English. George Bernard Shaw and others advocated in Britain for phonetic spelling. They failed. It could have been a power thing that kept the social and educated elite in their position of power.

    I think you are right about written English (and other written languages) evolving differently if our style of brain processing of text was more common. I think the actual characters of the written language would have developed as clearer shapes as well as. I have been shown that Arial font is much clearer than Times Roman – even if some people think Times Roman is thought to look jazzy.

    Look for your own strengths. Learning differences may well contribute to those strengths. Different ways of thinking bring different solutions to problems or even help us see problems that affect everyone but have not been clearly identified and defined. That’s where real advances in learning come from.

    Best wishes for your future,
    John

  • September 27, 2010 at 4:40 pm
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  • May 12, 2011 at 6:56 pm
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    Thanks for sharing. What a pealrsue to read!

  • August 10, 2012 at 4:22 pm
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    I am a dyslexic adult in Detroit and hnaivg a hard time dealing with the lack of opportunity to elevate my existence in the city of Detroit. When I was a child in Detroit public system I learn to hate school because of the way I put down and told that I will never amount to anything. The sad thing I came to believe all what those negative things the Teachers would say, because they was right I was an academic failure no matter how hard I try not be, due to being dyslexic that hurt.

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