Are We Born With Dyslexia?

Filed Under (NLP coaching learning difficulties) on 01-12-2011

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Are we born with dyslexia?

The belief that we are born with dyslexia [or dyscalculia, the numerical version of dyslexia] has been drummed into us for decades. So there’s absolutely no wonder that it’s so prevalent.  But countless experience has proven that we’re not born with dyslexia.

History helps us understand the present.

Everything began somewhere. If we go by the NLP principle that everything that is said or experienced is said or experienced by somebody, we’ll more easily relate to what comes next.  In exactly the same way as the first person invented names for colours, things, food, and the German government officials picked the number 65 out of the air as the minimal retirement age in 1948 and many countries quickly adopted the idea, when the first person discovered that another person had difficulty with language, the discovering person didn’t know how to deal with the difficulty.  All s/he could do was give the other person’s difficult experience a name.

And thus was born the name dyslexia – a Latin word meaning ‘difficulty with language’.  And dyscalculia for numbers followed suit. The news spread around the neighbourhood, town, region, country, another country… and the world.  Since bad news spreads [and sells] faster than good news, the news of dyslexia kept spreading. And people loved the fancy word and were so spellbound by its authority that nobody ever questioned what dyslexia really was.  Years ticked by until recently when people started questioning dyslexia.

…and into the future…

So that’s the history. And what consequences did history leave on many generations?  Such that most people, especially from the more senior generations, still firmly believe that we are born with dyslexia.  After all, older people are generally notorious for finding change hard. Another fact is that people like to complicate things. Accepting the fact that dyslexia is nothing more than a learnt behaviour would be too easy or simple for some people. Yet so many people cry for simpler lives in a simpler world… Then there’s the world of education.  It too is generally notorious for finding change hard. Many people in education have vested interests in keeping things as they are. Well, here are two facts that mitigate against the belief that we’re born with dyslexia:

Dyslexia is a learnt behavior, not a disease or condition.

When a person is born, there’s nothing different about a person who will later develop dyslexia from a person who won’t.  The difference will come later.  When a person reaches 3 or 4 years, a few factors will come into play.  Firstly, 3 to 4 years is the age when a child first comes across written words and numbers.  Up to this age everything in the child’s environment, alive or not alive, is 3-dimensional.  People, furniture, toys, food…  A word and a number are the first things in 2 dimensions.  And this can confuse the brain.  As a result of the confusion the brain will try to recreate the third dimension.  So it will start turning the word or number in all directions at once or moving the word or number around the page.  And this is exactly how a child gets into dyslexia.

We are certainly not born with dyslexia, nor is dyslexia genetic.

A child has not yet developed reasoning at 3 or 4 years of age.  So all the child can do is simply copy what parents and siblings do.  If a parent, both parents, or a sibling displays dyslexic behaviours, the child will copy those behaviours and eventually consider them normal.  This is also why there are whole families with dyslexia.  They all unconsciously learn dyslexia from each other. And it is exactly the unconscious nature of learning that gives them the explanation to believing that we are born with dyslexia.

NLP can definitely help with dyslexia. We could talk about how.


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