NLP for Help With Dyslexia

Filed Under (NLP for learning difficulties) on 01-04-2012

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How can NLP help dyslexia? 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 dyslexia is a learning disability, but it’s nothing more than a learnt behavior which people treat as a disability. The brain acquires this learnt behaviour at some young stage because something confuses it.  What usually confuses the brain are words and numbers. The reason is that they’re two-dimensional. They’re the first two-dimensional things that the brain comes across. Dyslexia can reveal itself in many ways:

  • difficulty with reading
  • reading speed being slow
  • poor or no reading comprehension – the reader forgets what s/he read when s/he closes the book
  • impossible, slow, or ugly writing
  • inability or poor ability to spell
  • and many other things. Every person’s dyslexia is different, so the best thing is to ask.

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 dyslexic actors don’t have to go near the printed word, they’ll memorize any lines!  I said primarily auditory.  Primarily doesn’t mean only. Every person is visual and feeling too. The question is to what extent each. And that also doesn’t mean that all actors are only auditory.

Those who are primarily visual will memorize lines by methods such as loci whereby they memorize contexts through making nearby objects their memory anchors and then looking at the 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 therefore 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 the movement, it doesn’t matter whether s/he sees the page through green, blue, or pink glasses. The words will still be moving. The movement comes from the brain, hence from within the person.

What causes dyslexia?

In many cases dyslexia occurs when children first come across 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 and numbers 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 third dimension by turning words and numbers in all directions in their imaginations.  This causes the letters or whole words to move around the page, so there’s no wonder that they have nightmares about 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 mom and dad do it this way, this is how I should do it”.  The child will copy the behaviors of the parent(s) without knowing why, because a child’s reasoning has not been developed.

How can we prevent dyslexia with NLP?

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. Then the picture of that word will feel right, and then s/he’ll spell it out loud.  People with dyslexia do not SEE the word because the words are moving or for other reasons. Instead they try to sound out each letter or feel for how the word should be spelt: “hmmm, this feels / doesn’t feel right!”.  This is unreliable, because sounds and feelings take time.  But when you see a picture, you see a lot of information in a fraction of a second. And the same applies when you remember something as a picture!

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

Do you have dyslexia? Or do you know someone who has dyslexia? NLP can help. Let’s talk about how.

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