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Our journey with Dyslexia #Gift

Updated: Aug 26, 2022


I want to share our journey we have had with dyslexia as a family. Our eldest son was officially diagnosed at age 14 with severe dyslexia, however we had already found something that helped him! At age 11 he could not read 3 letter words, and was at about grade 1 with his reading ability. He was bright in every way, and also had an amazing gift of observation for detail but found reading and writing very challenging. We came to learn that having Dyslexia was a gift. It also, as far as I could see (being the home educating mum and feeling very responsible for his development) was a big challenge to daily life. Imagine not being able to read signs for "DANGER" or "KEEP OUT" .. this could actually be quite tricky in every day circumstances. I worried about how he would function in life if he could not read easily. I also wanted him to know the simple joy of reading and going on literary adventures with a good book!


We were homeschooling abroad, where there was no testing available, but I had a hunch that was what we were dealing with, at that stage he would never pick up a book for fun and read from cover to cover...


After doing lots of one on one work with various phonetic programs, we still did not seem to be progressing. We were on several homeschool forums and some were specifically for children with learning challenges. We came across the suggestion of a book called the Gift of Dyslexia..by Ron Davis. We bought it and read it.. several times, because it was quite interesting but it took me a few times to understand the process being used and the why..


This short clip talks about the Author of the book, Ron Davis


In the book it talks about how Dyslexia is a gift because of their ability to use their minds very imaginatively. There are many highly creative thinkers and creators who are dyslexic.


After a while I decided I would block off a week of our school schedule and do the exercises for orientation with our son that are in the book. At that time his reading level was just about a grade 1, he could not read many 3 letter words without difficulty and definitely not any of the "sight" words that do not fit phonetic rules.. he would make up words, with letters that were not even on the page. It was not a case of getting letters just mixed up, he just invented things to fill the space up it seemed.


All that started to make sense as the book describes the reading process for the dyslexic.


I really recommend reading the book in order to understand the concepts. Dyslexics get dis-orientated, so Ron found a way to help orientate and maintain that sense of orientation for the student. As the teaching progresses, that becomes a more natural process and eventually becomes second nature.. the book or the course will explain it much better than I can!


After doing this first thing of finding the orientation point and learning how to manage that - we did the next steps..

We started by having him make the whole upper and lower case alphabet in clay - which would be his spelling tools for the exercises. He also learned the placement of letters in backwards order starting with Z.. to A etc (which is a fun trick to learn!) The main take-away for me having read the book, was that dyslexics have a picture in their heads for every word. However, words like "it, and, on, is, off, at," do not have a picture, like the word "horse" does, for example. So then it is a case of understanding the concepts of all those "sight" words that do not fit in phonetic rules and are not actual things.. and have no meaning without a picture.


We would look up a word in the dictionary, have him think about the concept and then he made a clay model to explain the concept. Because Dyslexics have amazing memories - this usually only had to be done once with each new tricky word. We also did exercises that helped train him read from left to right and understand full stops and paragraphs other parts of punctuation. It was a bit like re-programming the brain to go in the right direction on the page. At the end of the week, after we had done the exercises set out in the book, Josh could read a large paragraph with words I knew he had not seen before that were grade 5 level., so I knew it was not just because he had memorised the shape of the words! He had progressed from grade 1 to 5 in a week!! We continued to use the techniques we learned, with his spelling etc on a daily basis. That was 16 yrs ago.


When we returned to the UK we had him tested at age 14 and he tested very highly dyslexic with auditory processing issues, however he scored very high in vocabulary. He then was able to get extra time in exams and use a laptop for some things.



Josh went onto get 8 very good GCSEs grades (A,BBB CCCC), then went on to do History, Spanish and Politics at A levels. He then went onto to do a 4 yr BA Degree in Spanish and Political Science, which included a year in Spain studying philosophy in Spanish. He now lives and works near London.


There were times back in those younger years when I had no idea how things would pan out. We are so thankful we found the help we needed, which I believe changed the course of Josh’s life.


We have told so many people about the book! On coming back to the UK 12 years ago, the first people I met at the school gate at my daughters new primary school were parents of struggling students - one with dyslexia and another being homeschooled with Aspergers. At the time there were only a few trained facilitators in the UK, but my friend sent her kids on it and were dramatically improved in so many ways! Now 12 years on there is a Foundation offering comprehensive courses for parents and teachers, and training to become facilitators. There are tons of amazing testimonials on Youtube where you can hear about the improvement people find when doing the Davis Methods! The foundation in the UK is called https://www.davislearningfoundation.org.uk/


Watch this testimonial of a chap who was 10 when he started the Davis System - its a wonderful story!




As you can see I am pretty pumped about this, because it also worked with our son who was really struggling with reading - he then picked up a Star Wars book and never looked back!

I love hearing other stories of people who have been through the program or just read the book. There are plenty of testimonials if you search in You tube - here is just one:


Because Ron Davis was autistic as a child, and never spoke until he was 12, he has also developed with the help of other educational professionals a whole range of courses that helps the parent/carer work in the world of the autistics.


I am also especially happy when I hear about educators in the school system who have been "converted" for want of a better word, to this way of working in the classroom, with whole ranges of learning challenges. Here is one teacher who has changed the way he works since being introduced to this method and is a strong advocate for it!



I hope this has given you a little peek into what was our world, how we have been helped through this program, and to see how others too are benefitting. It thrills me to see more and more people having these breakthroughs!



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