Is dyslexia a disorder or a gift or just different normal functioning?
This article was briefly summarized by Dr Harold Levinson and then critiqued. Hopefully readers will recognize the confusion and "globally goop" permeating dyslexia and some of its reviews.
According to this article, "Many who receive the diagnosis of dyslexia are conditioned in believing that it is a negative learning disability. According to research, someone who is dyslexic just has a different ability to process information, specifically within the phonetic region of the brain...If an individual does not process the same way as the mass population, does this really mean that a disability is present? ... The learning processes in those with dyslexia are just different than what is expected, or to what is seen amongst the mass population. In this light, the same could be said for those that have an inability to understand the processes of the dyslexic brain....How much of a disability can it be once it stops being defined within a limited [disability] viewpoint?"
Hopefully Dr Levinson's following critique will enable readers interested in this disorder to recognize dyslexic-like scrambled thinking in this and other like-minded nonsensical content. Dr Levinson writes:
Unfortunately, this article neither clarifies the symptoms and origins of dyslexia nor properly explains that even gifted dyslexic individuals may also have neurophysiologically based functional impairments requiring treatment, despite the article's title "ability within the disability." By rationalizing that dyslexia is not a disability but just a different way of thinking, the uninformed reader might overlook the many typical symptoms, failure, suffering and impaired self-esteem experienced by even gifted dyslexics, let alone the vast majority of non-gifted dyslexics--all desperately seeking true understanding and help. Because many dyslexics are driven to succeed despite their impairment, or to prove that they're not as dumb as they often inwardly feel, some clinically inexperienced readers have mistakenly considered this disorder as a gift or just a different normal. Nonsense! Dyslexia is no more of a gift than diabetes or any other medical disorder. The above article also fails to emphasize that the vast majority of dyslexics do not attain expectations and continue to suffer throughout adulthood. Needless to say, none of these underachieving dyslexics or loved ones view their disability as a gift. And they want help. Following successful medical improvement, many have spontaneously reported, "Now I have a brain"..."I no longer feel as dumb or retarded as before"...."I now better understand why others might have considered me smart. Before improvement, I thought people complimenting me were just dumber than I was."..."I always felt like an imposter acting successful rather than feeling it. People acclaimed my supposed talents while I envied those who inwardly felt happy and content--normal."
Adding logical insult to injury, it should be recognized that dyslexia is not just a different capability of phonetic processing as the writer states. Rather dyslexia is a disorder which may affect visual, phonetic, memory, spatial-temporal, balance/coordination...processing.
According to Levinson, dyslexia is a syndrome of many reading and non-reading symptoms, including writing, spelling, math, memory, speech... It results from a fine-tuning dysfunction within the inner-ear and cerebellum. Dyslexic symptoms arise when normal brain structures fail to process and compensate for the scrambled signals received and transmitted. Also all dyslexic symptoms have been shown to rapidly and dramatically improve with medical treatment. Were dyslexia just a different way of learning, this improvement would not occur utilizing inner-ear and signal-stabilizing medications. The fact that different theories of dyslexia exist and no one completely understands the processes of a dyslexic brain does not imply that dyslexia does not exist, as the above article confusingly states.
About Harold Levinson, M.D.
Formerly Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at New York University Medical Center, Dr. Harold Levinson is currently Director of the Levinson Medical Center for Learning Disabilities in Great Neck, New York. He is a well known neuropsychiatrist, clinical researcher and author. His "highly original" research into the cerebellar-vestibular (inner-ear) origins and treatment of dyslexia and related learning, attention-deficit/hyperactivity and anxiety or phobic disorders has evolved over the past four decades. Levinson's concepts encompass the collective insights derived from the examinations, follow-up and successful treatment of over 35,000 children, adults and even seniors and have led to new methods of screening, diagnosis, treatment and prevention. His expanded theories appear capable of encompassing and/or explaining all reported symptoms as well as most other concepts and experimental data, thus resulting in a truly holistic perspective.
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