The exercises we did in class tonight to simulate the experiences of a person with LD were fascinating, interesting, eye-opening… and frustrating!
I read the story about the fiddler (or was it a rabbit) with great wonder. Not because it was a riveting story, but because I could read it at all! Written backwards, in mirror image, it was a challenge, but once I realized what the pattern was, I felt like I was able to make a switch in my brain to compensate. I am normally a fairly slow reader; I was the one the teacher was usually waiting on to finish when we had to read things in class. Yet tonight, I was the first one to finish reading the story about the fiddler. This made me wonder if I maybe have a bit of learning disability in me that I have learned to accommodate without even realizing it.
I understood what Dr. Gerber was trying to do by creating that feeling of pressure to finish reading the selection. I have been on the receiving end of that pressure many times because of my slow reading pace. I watched the angst growing on the faces of my classmates as they struggled to read the paragraphs, and I could see the sense of urgency when Dr. Gerber would ask who needed more time. I remember times when I would start skimming what I had left to read so I wouldn’t hold up the rest of the class any longer, and then while the teacher would ask questions about the reading passage, I’d go back and try to finish reading it.
During our discussion of this exercise, we talked about how we all employed some type of strategy to decipher and decode this story. I felt as though the strategy I employed was very deliberate, and I started to appreciate what someone with dyslexia does every time they read something. Then Dr. Gerber said something that stopped me in my mental tracks – when a child first experiences these reading problems, before they understand that they have dyslexia, they don’t have any available strategies to help them decipher what they’re reading.
Я предполагаю, что походил бы на меня пробующий прочитать это предложение на русском языке.
(Translation: I guess that would be like me trying to read this sentence in Russian.)