Dyslexia Matters - Discover the gifts within you

large question markWhat is dyslexia?

A different way of thinking

The terms “lazy”, “stupid” or “day-dreamer” are sometimes used by others when referring to people with dyslexia or its associated learning difficulties but, in fact, these people are usually highly intelligent and are merely misunderstood.

Dyslexia is not a disease or a defect, nor is it caused by brain damage. It is simply an alternative way of thinking. Dyslexics think predominantly with pictures, not with the sounds of words, and the term “visual spatial learner” or “picture thinker” is often used to describe them because of this visual way of thinking. They have a wonderful natural ability, a gift, to see mental images as if they are real, and to perceive these images from many different angles or perspectives.

This ability to view the world from many different perspectives is very useful for problem solving and for creative tasks but, unfortunately, this same visual way of thinking can cause problems with literacy, numeracy, motor skills, organisation, focus, time management and auditory processing.

Why is it a problem?

Everyday symbols, such as letters of the alphabet, punctuation marks, and numerals (numbers), should be seen from one customary perspective in order for them to be decoded properly and for understanding to take place.

If these symbols are seen from a different perspective, they may be perceived as something else - for example: d flipped over could be seen as b, or q or p, depending on the viewpoint. This leads to confusion, disorientation and mistakes.

This perceptual ability works very well in the three dimensional world – the teapot can be visualised from every viewpoint…

images of a teapot from side, back, front and top

But it can lead to confusion in the two dimensional world of letters, symbols, words and print…

the word teapot repeated ten times with each word unique as individual letters are flipped horizontally and vertically at random

Visual thinking in relation to reading

Dyslexics tend to think predominantly in multi-dimensional images, rather like a movie running through their mind, so when they are reading, they form pictures for each word being read. This is easily done when reading “picture” words:

examples of picture words: pen, flower and puppy

But a problem quickly arises when they cannot formulate a picture for a particular word such as “the”, “and”, “a”, “on”, “by”, “there” etc.

the cat sat on the mat - showing picture words and blanks for non-picture words

When a dyslexic is reading and they come across a non-picture word, the picture thinking process is interrupted and their understanding is impeded, resulting in confusion, disorientation and subsequent mistakes.

book with letters flying off the pageWhat is disorientation?

When a dyslexic person is confused, they can become disoriented and their perceptions can be affected, resulting in an inaccurate sense of reality in one, or more, of the following:

This misperception of reality will cause them to make errors and this in turn will deepen the confusion and disorientation as they realise that they have made a mistake. Their frustration and anxiety will rise rapidly as more and more slip-ups occur. Confusion and anxiety are the main blockages to effective learning.

schoolboy struggling with readingIn general, dyslexics have a low threshold for confusion and this can be lowered further by stress, dehydration, tiredness, anxiety, hunger (low blood sugar levels) and some medications.

Cover-up strategies

Many individuals with learning difficulties suffer from low self-esteem, shame, embarrassment and humiliation and, out of desperation and fear of being found out, will often develop cover-up strategies such as:

There are hundreds of cover-up strategies and they work to a point, but they are unreliable and could lose their effectiveness at any time. This is because the root cause of the problem – disorientation – has not been addressed and resolved.

The Davis approach is effective because it has a two-pronged strategy - it first gets the individual to recognise and control their disorientation, and then it introduces methods to deal with the non-picture “trigger” words, thus reducing the frequency of confusion and mistakes. The need to use cover-up strategies will then fall away and true learning begins to take place.

schoolgirl struggling with mathsRelated learning disabilities

Many learning disability categories are considered to be related to dyslexia because they typically result from the same cause – disorientation.

Because the Davis methods are successful in managing disorientation, amongst other things, they can be used successfully to provide improvement for the following conditions:

Each individual has a different set of learning issues and often more than one condition is diagnosed or recognised. There are several types of Davis programmes available and once an initial consultation and assessment is done, the appropriate programme will then be tailored to suit the client’s needs.

Dyslexia Assessment

figure with magnifying glass - taking a closer lookThe link below will take you to the Davis Dyslexia website where you can complete the free on-line assessment. To return to Dyslexia Matters after completing it, simply close the Davis Dyslexia tab or browser window.

The questions in the assessment are similar to those asked during the Initial Consultation. There are no right or wrong answers, just answer honestly, or use your judgement if you are completing the Assessment for someone else.

Once you have completed the assessment, it is recommended that you print the results for your own records, as well as to bring them along with you to a consultation.

For more information, or to arrange an initial consultation, contact:

Amanda du Toit, Licensed Davis Facilitator


mail24 Lightwood Way, Beaumont Hills, NSW 2155

phone02-8064 7248 mobile04-0556 5338

emailComplete this simple contact form or email info@dyslexia-matters.com.au.

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Professional services described as Davis™, Davis Dyslexia Correction®, Davis Symbol Mastery®, Davis Orientation Counseling®, and Davis Math Mastery® may only be provided by persons who are employed by a licensed Davis Specialist, or who are trained and licensed as Davis Facilitators by Davis Dyslexia Association International.

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