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Biology 103
2002 Second Paper
On Serendip


Lawral Wornek

Dyslexia is a learning disorder that effects a large portion of the population. Once it is diagnosed, it can be overcome, but undiagnosed it can prove to be a great hardship to people who have it, especially children in grade school who are trying to learn to read or do basic math. Dyslexia has recently been linked to genetics and to brain abnormalities. A lot of research and positive action is being conducted to help people, especially children, work around dyslexia so that they can function normally at school. However, not everyone sees dyslexia as a harmful thing. Many groups are dedicated to the creativity and artistic talent that usually goes hand in hand with dyslexia as well as many groups formed by dyslexics for dyslexics that provide support and an outlet for artistic endeavors. With research and new teaching techniques the effects of dyslexia can be overcome, but for some, that is not the goal.

Researchers have been working on finding the root of dyslexia for years. While it is still unknown why and how dyslexia occurs, a lot of advancements have been made. Dyslexia is now sometimes classified as a genetic brain anomaly. The anomalies in a dyslexic's brain impair how they perceive and therefore learn language skills. (3) It is still unclear where in the brain these anomalies would occur and to what extent. One of the theories, however, is that dyslexia is caused by anomalies in the brain's lipid metabolism. (3) The research is still very preliminary.

Dyslexia is first and foremost a language-based learning disorder. It is characterized by problems with single word decoding and usually is undiagnosed based on the age and level of school of the person suffering from it. (1) If caught when a child is young, kindergarten or first grade, the child can learn to overcome the major pitfalls of dyslexia with special learning techniques such as phonological training and become a strong reader and a strong student. Using multi-sensory techniques to teach children with dyslexia seems to be the most effective. By using all of their senses to learn and then to practice, children are "overlearning" in an effort to make up for their poor memory and initial confusion. (2) If the child with dyslexia is not diagnosed until after they have formed most of their reading habits, around third grade, the special learning techniques are not as effective. (1)

As dyslexia is becoming more main stream and losing some of the stigma attached to it as a learning disorder support groups made for dyslexics by dyslexics have become more and more common. These groups share methods for working around dyslexia and emotional support for those that suffer from it. Most of them also have special programs for parents or teachers of dyslexic children. These groups all stress the fact that it is highly possible to be dyslexic and still be successful. Some even have lists of famous people who have been reported to have learning disorders such as dyslexia. These lists usually contain the professions of those listed, further emphasizing the variety of ways in which dyslexic people can achieve success. The lists are usually very eclectic including such luminaries as Walt Disney, Winston Churchill, MC Escher and Whoopi Goldberg. (4)

Many of the support groups for people who suffer from dyslexia and their families also celebrate the positive benefits of dyslexia. Dyslexia makes language development difficult because it causes people to think in pictures. (5) For this reason, many dyslexics are very talented and creative artists. There are many websites for these groups that display the work of their members. They share painting, drawings, poems, stories, and other artwork from their members whose ages range from elementary school age to college students to adults. For many of the people who post their work with these support groups, dyslexia is the reason that they are artists. It is either their inspiration or the source of their talent. Either way, they comment on their need to have it but the conflicting hardships it causes. Karin Peri, a teenager, wrote a poem entitled "Dear Dyslexia" that perfectly exemplifies this inner conflict. (6) She writes:

Because of you
I see a different angle.
you make me who I am,
But what would life be without you?
A life free of constant frustration,
A chance to see things "correctly"
To say exactly
What I have to say
And write exactly
What I have to write.
But without you
Would I have anything to write?
Anything to say?
Would I have a poem?

Her words are echoed in the work of many of the other artists who post their work on these sites.

Though most dyslexics will admit that dyslexia has been hard and things would have been easier without it, especially school, there are some who embrace it and what it has to offer to them. With new teaching techniques that encompass more of the senses rather than trying to force dyslexics to learn traditionally, it will be easier for future children with dyslexia to hold on to the benefits that it can bring and still be successful in school. The proliferation of support and informational groups for sufferers, their families, and their educators continue to provide services and help to spread these practices.



1)Dyslexia - What is It?

2)The Dyslexia Institute

3)Brooks, Liz. "Dyslexia: 100 Years on Brain Research and Understanding." Dyslexia Review Magazine. Spring 1997.

4)Great Minds Think Alike

5)Dyslexia the Gift

6)memory of Kari Peri



Comments made prior to 2007

We have a self-employment website

Which is open to all people on the autistic spectrum including people with Dyslexia who are welcome to put up a free listing, seek to form a skills group, find a work partner etc.

Its all free ... Donna Williams, 23 February 2006


Daren Walker's picture

Being Dyslexic

Being Dyslexic

I know I am dyslexic,
Not all that alphabetic,
I feel so pathetic,
I really do try my best
Never to achieve above the rest.
I slowly turn the pages of a book,
I peep, I look,
I feel terror creeping up on me,
The words like to play a game of their own,
They can hear me moan,
They confuse me, they abuse me,
Until I lay the book down,
They see me frown.
It's not easy being dyslexic,
I guess I just have to accept it.

By Daren Walker June 2011

Anonymous's picture

1st thing - he is NOT too

1st thing - he is NOT too far along to be helped. Alot of these kids are not caught until HIGH SCHOOL or even as adults. We did not catch the problem until the end of 3rd grade and had been told for the past 3 years "he will be fine, he will mature, he will finally get it, things will click"... Struggles with homework, worries about forgotten books and assignments, horribly written notes, papers, stories, AWFUL spelling. Nothing unusual we were told. Private testing determined his dyslexia. Read EVERYTHING you can on-line. "Overcoming Dyslexia" by Sally Shaywitz is fabulous and everyone should get a copy BEFORE starting a child in pre-school. Who knew teaching him/her to read was such an issue and that there are things you should look for to determine if your child cannot read. The book gives you all kinds of web sites and things to do at home - it just explains things. Lots of ideas and ways to make reading and spelling easier. We are now tutoring and working to get him some help at school. A few ideas (these are all in the book) Books on tape (audiobooks) - him reading along and running finger under words, 15 minute reading out loud, sometimes only reading list of words for "timed fun". It is all about fluency and practice. We are just beginning this journey too. Good Luck.

Nicole's picture

My baby boy

I am looking for help and insight. My son that is 7 was diagnoised with dyslexia. It explains allot. The more I read about the "challenge" the more I become sad. I felt that he was dyslexic since kindergarten. The school system would not test him. I begged for three years. Frustrated and depressed I sat at the dyslexic 504 program directors door and begged. After talking to them for 5 minutes they agreed to test my Ryan. He is dyslexic.

Now I have been told I have to spent extra time working with him. I have gotten some ideas on how to help my little guy. We are struggling, of course, but we are trying. The web sight has advised that in order to "over come" it needs to ber caught in kinder or 1st. Well, nobody would test him or listen. Now he is soo far behind on spelling, writting and daily life.

I have such a huge guilt factor! After everything I have read he was scresming for help for years. I would fight and plead with him to to things. Poor baby just could not. I could not understand the extent of the dyslexia. It goes beyond reading and writting.

I need any advise on how to help him. What programs are out there to help are there benefits that I can take advantage of to help him?

Anonymous's picture


Your son was diagnosed only a year before I, and just when you think there is no hope for him to excel at writing remember there is.
I'm a dyslexic and disgraphic, was in Advanced Placment language arts and LOVE reading. Though some things your son will always have to deal with,

disorganization/ or extreme organization
handwriting problums
belive him when he says i can't seem to remember it, or i forgot my textbook at school it happens again and again and may just put him to tears.
Sometimes things will dissaper off a page, for seconds and illusions with the page will happen from time to time.

here are some web sites for help

francis osei's picture

hi im 23 i fill om suffreing

hi im 23 i fill om suffreing from the same thing im an able to spell correctly a i also forget things and dont no who to tern to im from london so if you can please email me with a contact number of some one that might be able to help me it will be much appricated thank you.

Serendip Visitor- (delali)'s picture


Ok saw your message and wanted to get closer.
I believe I may help in a way to reduce the condition but God Almighty is capable of a sure cure.....amen!

I am a teacher anyway.

Edel Williams's picture

my thoughts on my sons diagnosis at the age of 9

“Sit down for Gods sake, its homework time!
Oh now just don’t start that crying.
Every day it’s just the same
We seem to go through this stupid game.”
Just five more minutes mam,
I need a break
Just five more minutes mam,
Till my head doesn’t ache.
Stop fiddeling with your pen,
concentrate hard,
t, h, e, n that spells then
Yes, I know you are tired.
But we’re sitting here till this is done
And yes son, I know, we’re not having fun…

I sent you to the shops for bananas and bread
And you bring me home just carrots instead
I know mam I’m sorry I just forgot
I guess my memory is not so hot..
If you wanted to remember you really would
No Mam I’d remember if I could
I don’t forget to make you mad
And when I can’t remember it makes me sad.
Dyslexia she says, that’s what your son has.
Dyslexia she says, just as simple as that
Her words strike me like a slap in the face,
But now everything falls into place.

Not being able to remember, or tell the time,
Not being able to match phonics or rhythm and rhyme
Not being able to read, write or spell
Living in his own kind of torture and hell.
Now there’s a reason for all these things
I can almost hear his soul sing.
With specialized teaching he’ll soon catch up to his friends
And my sons’ bruised confidence will be on the mend
Dyslexia is not a blessing nor is it a curse
And while things could be better, they could also be worse.
Tutors, workshops and hard work will help put right what is wrong
And my son’s whole life will be solid and strong
He will succeed in life and have a fantastic occupation
But getting him there – that is my vocation!

Anonymous's picture

I have read this three times

I have read this three times and cried three times. It is the same in our household. Thanks for putting it into words. I am working on stopping the tears and starting over again tomorrow....