An adult with dyslexia watching the new HBO documentary “Journey into Dyslexia” suddenly began to understand a tremendous array of memories and emotions never understood before.
The opening title screen with words artistically drawn at angles was reminiscent of how words can swim on the page for a dyslexic reader. He said, “I felt like when I read a book, I had to force the letters to stay in a consistent line across the page.” From those opening screens, the movie captures the frustration and isolation of being a dyslexic very well.
According to the movie, 10% of the population is dyslexic, but our schools are programmed for the 90%. Unfortunately, the 10% are too often labeled lazy, crazy, and stupid, when they really are very smart. A young student doesn’t know what’s wrong; he or she doesn’t know that words don’t swim for everyone else and doesn’t know what to ask for.
Schools need to help students with dyslexia before they get hardened to failure, give up altogether, and become “bad kids.” This kind of hardening is very common. However, when dyslexia is understood, children learn to accept their differences and be proud of their special gifts. “Journey into Dyslexia” shows many dyslexics with talents in the arts, science, business, engineering, and athletics.
Before hardening happens, which is at a different age for every child, schools and teachers need to intervene and encourage this pride. This movie is a must-see for every teacher, parent, and adult so they may better understand the problem. “It’s inspirational and informative! This film captures the emotional component of having dyslexia and the lifelong impact on a person’s character,” said McKenzie Erickson, an intern working for Bookshare.
Another invaluable resource for families and individuals with dyslexia is this post from the National Center of Learning Disabilities: “The Natural Emotional Cycle for Parents of Children with LD.”
These powerful resources bring awareness to different ways of learning. Dedicating this October to understanding dyslexia in children, family, and friends can help you find a way to make a difference in the life of a dyslexic.