Thursday, June 18, 2015

Many dyslexics, late blooming

Some of these issues have come up recently and I thought it was useful to post them here. This is summary of research considerations quoted from my paper "Amazing Shortcomings, Amazing Strengths," from the Asia Pacific Journal of Developmental Differences, vol. 1, no. 1, January 2014, pp. 78-89. Especially note why there are so many dyslexics and the late blooming pattern. 
"Important alternative research trends and perspectives have been becoming more apparent recently. The Dyslexic Advantage organization (with which this writer is associated) has recently formulated a strategy for research progress built around the following series of observations:
"It is increasingly clear that dyslexic individuals do not only differ from non- dyslexics in the ways they process written language. Rather, they differ in the ways they process almost all kinds of information. Consequently, researchers now see that they will need to study more than reading and writing.
"In addition, dyslexic individuals are seen to share common strengths as well as areas of difficulty – and these strengths usually involve brain functions unrelated to reading. Indeed, the strengths of dyslexics provide the reason that there are so many dyslexic individuals in the human population – that is, the dyslexic wiring pattern in the brain has been selected over long periods of time as a favorable trait and this provides the basis for achieving such high prevalence.
"Increasingly, researchers are becoming more aware that dyslexia is a late- blooming profile. The strengths of dyslexics are often more apparent later in development than the strengths of many non-dyslexics. Consequently, because these strengths are more apparent in adults than children – when the nervous system is fully matured – it is now seen as important to study dyslexic adults, including those who are excelling in their lives and work as well as those who continue to have difficulties.
"Another important observation within the Dyslexic Advantage perspective is that it may be inherently difficult to measure the things that many dyslexics are good at. Dyslexic individuals often excel in complex high-level cognitive tasks.
"Consequently, researchers believe they need to develop more creative research approaches and testing methods capable of measuring these high-level skills and talents. These researchers are learning to re-examine dyslexic children in light of what they have learned about the mature adult dyslexic brain. This way, they hope to be able to better understand the true nature and significance of what they observe in the earlier stages of development.
"To emphasize this last point, the Dyslexic Advantage organization has chosen to adopt the image of the butterfly as the institutional logo and symbol – believing that one can only see what the dyslexic brain is 'trying to become' by considering its mature form. If one were to study caterpillars only, one would never guess that this fat, ugly worm with so many legs is ultimately destined to fly high and far on wings of iridescent beauty. (Personal communications, Dyslexic Advantage, October 2013.)"
Thomas West
1 November 2013


  1. Needed to hear this today...My husband bought our son "Leo, the Late Bloomer" when he was about 7. I think I'll get it out and read it again! (He's 21.)