By Ronald D. Davis with Eldon Braun, © 1995, 1998; All Rights Reserved.
Government statistics show 25,000,000 Americans--one in ten--are functionally illiterate. The primary cause is dyslexia or one of its many variations, such as ADD or dysgraphia.
Today's educational methods are limited when it comes to teaching basic literacy skills to students who have problems with reading, and writing and math.
The school system is stacked against dyslexics from the start, because they are "real world" thinkers, using mainly pictures and concepts instead of mental sentences. They require special training to master the basics of written language easily.
This doesn't mean they are stupid. Leonardo da Vinci, Einstein, Edison, Churchill, Walt Disney, Whoopi Goldberg and Greg Louganis were considered "dummies" during their early years of school. They didn't suffer from learning disability, but teaching disability.
Many teachers just don't know the right methods for presenting information in a form dyslexic and ADD children can assimilate. As a result, these children may be warehoused in "special ed" classes. The subsequent loss of self-esteem triggers the syndrome that makes dyslexia worse. Stress, confusion and heavy concentration only increase perceptual and attention problems. The harder a dyslexic struggles, the more difficult reading becomes.
Many "learning disabled" people become highly successful once they escape school. They think they have a knack for doing something without realizing that it stems from the same cause as dyslexia -- their ability to mentally combine imaginary and real world images in a creative or intuitive way. This talent can play havoc with reading and writing, but it is highly useful for the arts, engineering, sports, strategy, salesmanship, and invention.
No matter how talented they are, adult dyslexics are often secretive and defensive. They write down inverted phone numbers and financial figures. They can spend an hour trying to decipher a memo. They hide their illiteracy and get other people to read and write for them -- a subterfuge invented to get by in school. Many get headaches from trying to read accurately. The loss of productivity is difficult to estimate, but is obviously enormous.
Dyslexic employees are some of the smartest, most imaginative and highly motivated people in your workgroup -- and your company's management. Instead of penalizing them for written language deficiencies, profit from their special talents.
For information about the one-week intensive Davis Dyslexia Correction program, contact a licensed Davis Facilitator.