In the past, children who were naturally left-handed were forced to use their right hand. While we know very little about what influences hand preference, we do know that handedness reflects the wiring of the individual brain.
These days, left-handedness is more accepted and acknowledged as a natural preference. Children are no longer forced to switch to their right hand or rapped over the knuckles for their natural preference of left handedness. Out of this has developed a whole range of left handed tools and resources.
A dyslexic person is naturally a visual thinker. As with left-handedness, we really understand very little about the wiring of the brain of those with dyslexia. It is known that a dyslexic person can have trouble with phonics based reading techniques. Using phonics based reading strategies can be like forcing a left handed person to use his/her right hand. When it doesn’t work, we send the person off to an occupational therapist or, in the case of a dyslexic, a speech therapist. Or should we really…?
If we recommended to a left handed person that they should change their pencil grip, use a different pen or pencil, give them coloured paper or recommend they take medication, would that help?
Not necessarily. And it would be nothing more than madness to expect any of those to help substantially long term. Yet for many years we have failed to understand that by asking a person with dyslexia to do any number of those things, and not address the root issue in the eye, brings us just the same results!
Hopefully we are in the era of a new dawn when visual dyslexia is recognised for what it is, is fixed and the untapped potential in all those with visual dyslexia can be released, rather than denying them the true life that is really theirs to live.