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What is Dyslexia?

Bill Allen
Bill Allen
May 03, 2022

Among the experts, there is a widespread disagreement on what dyslexia actually is. In fact, if you ask 100 experts to define dyslexia, you will probably get 100 different answers. Until there is a universal recognition of the fact that there are no two cases of dyslexia that are exactly alike, the disparity as to what dyslexia is will persist. The good news is there is a great deal of common ground for recognizing the reading and writing symptoms displayed by the dyslexic reader. 

Some Theories 

In 1896, W. Pringle Morgan, an eye surgeon, determined that dyslexia, specifically the inability to read and write, was a visual problem.  However, subsequent ophthalmology-based (related to the eye) solutions proved ineffective as nothing could be found “wrong” with the vision of a dyslexic when tested.   

In the 1900s, the classical view was that dyslexia resulted from a developmental brain impairment of the angular gyri of the cerebral hemispheres – the brain area where visual input and recalled language sounds work together.  In 1925, Samuel Orton talked about “word blindness, and he theorized about the dominance of one side of the brain and cerebral dominance as the problem.  His teaching strategies are still used today. 

Recently developed imaging procedures have shown that brain activity is different in a dyslexic than in a normal reader, and brain activity differs for the kind of task performed and for any variation in the circumstances while performing the brain activity.  Increased activity in the forebrain is seen in the dyslexic as they read, suggesting that they must work harder -- use more of their brain than their other well-developed thinking pathways -- to find a way to make written characters into sounds and words that he recognizes and can use. (“Dyslexia and the New Science of Reading.”   Newsweek, November 22, 1999; p.72-79.) 

Abigail Marshall’s research (2017) shows that NIMH scientists studying the brain found: 

“That adults who become capable readers use different neural pathways than nondyslexics. This research shows that there are at least two independent systems for reading: one that is typical for the majority of readers, and another that is more effective for the dyslexic thinker.” 

Some Definitions 

Mosleys “Medical Dictionary” (6th edition, 2002, p.561) says that:  

“Dyslexia is an impairment of the ability to read, as a result of a variety of pathological conditions, some of which are associated with the central nervous system.  Dyslexic persons often reverse letters and words, and cannot adequately distinguish the letter sequences in written words, and have difficulty determining left from right.” 

 Taber’s “Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary” (15th edition,1986, p504) defines dyslexia as: 

“A condition in which an individual with normal vision is unable to interpret written language. The exact cause is unknown but thought to be due to a CNS defect in ability to organize graphic symbols.”   

 The Merck Manual of Medical Information” (Home Edition; New York: Pocket Books, 1997, p. 1255) says that: 

“Dyslexia is primarily a specific language-based learning disability that interferes with learning words and reading despite average or above-average intelligence, adequate motivation and educational opportunities, and normal eyesight and hearing….  Dyslexia is caused mostly by deficiencies in the processing of sounds and spoken language by the brain.  The deficiencies are present from birth, affect word decoding, and may cause spelling and writing problems.” 

The Magical I Am Definition for Dyslexia  

The dyslexic thinks in an unusually high percentage of three-dimensional thought – we call them “3-D dyslexic learners.” And, when confused, they will create or alter perceptions in their mind in an effort to make "sense" of things.  (Bill Allen, Founder, Magical I Am, Inc.)   

This kind of dyslexic problem-solving can be done both consciously and unconsciously. What's interesting is that for the dyslexic, this process works extremely well in the complexities of the three-dimensional world of living life; however, in the two-dimensional world of written language, this problem-solving characteristic can create chaos. 

Finally, after 100+ years of trying to explain it away, society is now placing an emphasis on reaching and teaching the dyslexic mind!  At the same time, parents and educators are recognizing the incredibly high percentage of dyslexia that still is not being diagnosed and being addressed appropriately.  

Moreover, going forward, businessmen and women are recognizing that the dyslexic mind with its three-dimensional out-of-the-box problem-solving thinking capability needs to be tapped for a future advancement in innovation that will propel our economies.  

Who would've ever thought that the past achievements of these now famous dyslexics in the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, as well as in other fields dominated by manipulation of the 3-dimensions, like the performing arts, athletics, business, and strategy, would pave the way for an educational paradigm shift in learning to read that the Sky Village - Trail of Spells app by Magical I Am is destined to bring about? 

How Many Famous Dyslexics do you Know?

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