3 NLP Ways to Help With Dyslexia

Filed Under (UnLearning Difficulties With NLP) on 01-04-2010

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Here are 3 questions a woman in Australia had asked me.  I hope my answers will benefit you.

1. What is dyslexia? Is it a learning disability where someone has trouble reading and writing?

The word dyslexia comes from Latin and means difficulty with language.  People think – because it has been drummed into them from time immemorial – that it’s a learning disability, but it’s nothing more than a learnt behavior – which people treat as a disability – that the brain acquires at some young stage by getting confused by something.  Dyslexia can reveal itself in many ways:

  • difficulty with reading
  • reading speed being slow
  • reading comprehension being poor or none [=the reader forgets what s/he read once s/he closes the book]
  • writing being impossible, slow, or ugly
  • inability or poor ability to spell
  • and many other things – every person’s dyslexia is different, so we’d learn by asking each person.

2. There’re actors who are dyslexlic. Don’t they need to memorise heaps of lines?

Actors are primarily auditory, so memorizing lines doesn’t pose a problem, because they do it by sound.  As long as the dyslexic actors don’t have to go near the printed word, they’ll memorize any lines!  I said primarily auditory.  But that doesn’t mean all actors are only auditory.  Those who are primarily visual will memorize lines by methods such as loci whereby they memorize contexts through making objects in their environments their memory anchors and then looking at those objects in the order in which they need to memorize the things corresponding to the objects.  So the appropriate lines will come when the actors look at the object that anchors those lines for them.  Also, because they’ve been memorizing lines daily for years, they’ve trained their brains and their memories will be excellent!

3. Why do people with dyslexia have to wear blue and green coloured glasses?

A person is officially “diagnosed” with dyslexia when s/he looks at a page full of words and the words are moving around.  The tinted glasses are supposed to stop this movement.  They will stop it up to a point, but will never completely get a person out of dyslexia, because if the person’s brain produces word movement, it doesn’t matter whether s/he sees the page through green, blue, or pink glasses – the words will still be moving, because the movement is a product of the brain = from within the person.

And now a question this woman didn’t ask: how can we prevent dyslexia?

In many cases dyslexia occurs when children first come to contact with words.  The reason is that up to the age when a child starts reading and writing everything in the child’s world is three-dimensional.  Words are the first things in two dimensions and this can confuse the brain.  Because people with dyslexia are incredibly visual they work very hard to recreate the 3D effect with words by turning them in all directions in their imaginations.  This causes the letters or whole words to move around the page and then there’s no wonder that they have nightmares about going near reading or writing words!

Another common reason for dyslexia is that if a child has a parent or a pair of parents who have dyslexia, the child will naturally take this up as the norm “if mommy & daddy do it this way, this is how it should be done”.  The child will copy the behaviors of the parent(s) without knowing why, because a child’s reasoning has not yet been developed.

Therefore: Teach children from their youngest age to see words as pictures in their imaginations, because this is how people without dyslexia do it.  Ask a good speller to spell a word and s/he’ll see it in his/her mind as a still [=not moving] picture first, then the picture of that word will give him/her a “right” feeling, and then s/he’ll finally spell it out loud.  People with dyslexia do not SEE the word – instead they try to sound out each letter or to feel for how the word should be spelt – i.e. “hmmm, this feels / doesn’t feel right!”  This is unreliable, because sounds and feelings take time to happen.  But when you see a picture, you see a lot of information in front of you in a fraction of a second and the same applies for you remembering something as a picture!

Tell children stories and encourage them to visualize [imagine] the content of the stories.  Then ask them about where, when, what, how, why, and who was in the story and what things and people looked like.  This is how you’ll be teaching reading comprehension and this is how they’ll remember what they read for much longer after they’ve closed the book!  And moving words will not be an issue.

Contact me for more NLP help for dyslexia.

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