I recently read an interesting article called “Neurodiversity and Dyslexia: Compensatory strategies, or different approaches?” The article argued that the current educational system classifies people with dyslexia as people with deficits. As such, the educational system is focused in “remediating” / “fixing” these deficits.
However, if schools would adopt a new approach of recognizing that people with dyslexia simply learn differently and create programs for students to excel at how they learn best, then people with dyslexia would graduate school with a higher quality education, and with a much improved level of self-confidence.
So can this be realistically implemented?
The first step is to formalize how people with dyslexia think and learn differently. If this is understood, then educational programs can be created geared for people with dyslexia. For example, these programs can focus less on demonstrating short-memory skills and visual processing for details (e.g. demonstrated in good spelling) and more in promoting a holistic learning approach when teaching a given subject. Such programs will allow a person with dyslexia to excel and demonstrate his strengths. Potentially, as formal recognition is given to these special analytical strengths, the dyslexic person will strengthen his relative learning and cognitive advantages.
Making the change of seeing dyslexia not as a ‘deficit’ but rather as a valuable and unique skill set is a huge leap. Society is so ingrained with the concept that dyslexia is a deficit that most dyslexics themselves live under this assumption. Dramatic and enlightened shifts from these misconceptions are required to produce a real and long-lasting effect on the quality of education for a dyslexic.
2 thoughts on “If dyslexia is not a ‘deficit’, what is it?”
As a private dyslexia school, we support exactly what you are talking about – and commend you for saying it! Everyone in this educational field needs to understand and move forward with the approach you so concisely outlined.
Private schools is definitely a step in the right direction…
Hopefully one day, such programs will also be offered in public schools too…
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