Dyslexia Defined by Visiting Author
A lecture on identifying and dealing with the disorder.
February 22, 2006 12:08 PM
The author of the book, "The Other Side of Dyslexia," gave a lecture on her own struggles with dyslexia and her holistic approach to treating the disorder.
Anne Farris spoke at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) , a division of SF State's College of Extended Learning on Feb. 14 at 12:00 p.m.
According to the National Center for Learning Disabilities (NCLD) Web site (www.ncld.org), dyslexia is a life-long language processing disorder that hinders the development of oral and written language skills. The condition affects 10 percent of the U.S. population, said Farris, who was diagnosed with dyslexia over 20 years ago.
Ten people (of which eight out of 10 are dyslexic) listened to Farris' methods of dealing with the disorder, which included a change in diet, educational kinesiology and meditation.
The biggest misconception about people with dyslexia is that they are not as intelligent as others, according to Farris, who identifies it as a "feeling-based disorder rather than intellectual." Dyslexics tend to think more in spatial terms than linear and see things as a whole rather than breaking them up into parts, she added.
Signs of dyslexia in adults include reading below expected level, poor memory skills, difficulty understanding non-literal language, (i.e. idioms, jokes, proverbs), avoiding reading aloud, difficulty organizing and managing time, trouble summarizing a story and difficulty learning a foreign language, according to Ncld.org.
Thirty-four-year-old massage therapist Sonya White was forced to drop out of SF State because of dyslexia.
“I just couldn’t handle the reading...10 to 20 books a semester was too much for me,” said White, who was studying for a master's degree in occupational therapy. White discovered she had dyslexia two years ago through a learning evaluation test. White said dyslexia causes her difficulty in carrying conversations.
White is now coping with dyslexia through a method called "Brain Gym," (educational kinesiology), which uses body movements to overcome learning challenges.
However, White is not the only SF State student with a learning disability. There are 200 to 300 registered SF State students with reading, writing or mathematical learning disorders at the Disability Programs and Resource Center on campus, according to Zi Hengstler, M.S., a licensed educational psychologist and learning specialist at the DPRC.
“We do not attempt to remediate the problem, but we help to accommodate students with learning disorders,” said Hengstler.
The accommodations include allowing students with writing disorders to use computers instead of writing with pen and paper and allotting more time to complete exams. Students with reading difficulties are offered books on tapes. The DPRC is located inside the Student Services building, room 110.
Farris said that people with dyslexia need to be in positions where they can express their creativity, or they can often become bored or frustrated.
“I’ve always been very hands on and involved in creative careers, said Roger Gamble, a 46-year-old hair stylist from San Mateo, who was diagnosed with dyslexia at 3 years old. "I’m very visual so I learn through images."
Gamble said that he always has problems with words and remembering what he reads. He is currently reading at the sixth grade level.
Farris said the most important thing to do is to encourage dyslexics because everyday is a struggle.
“Dyslexics are just as brilliant and advanced as everyone else, we just get to solutions in a different way,” she said.
For more information on the DPRC, visit www.sfsu.edu/~dprc/.
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