This time of each new year shops and advertisements bombards us with “Back to School” slogans.


Shelves in shops display all the tools a learner in a new  grade might need, pens, glue, notebooks, erasers, staplers, files and many more.  Then follows the first day at school, the new classroom(s) and the new  teacher(s).   Set, ready and Go!  Easy.

Not so easy for learners with dyslexia!  

“Back to school” for learners from grade 1 to grade 12, without “tools” to cope with dyslexia,  often come with ‘n high dose of stress, anxiety, depression, dreadfulness and is often experienced as another renewed stimulus to lowering self-esteem.  Take note that dyslexia comes with a number of undesired “side-effects: Attention Focus, ADD, ADHD, compulsive inaccurate solutions, handwriting issues, alphabetical obstacles, spelling problems, Maths comprehension problems, clumsiness, lack of time management, and some more.

School is suppose to be  the major learning place to prepare for life, adulthood, careers, and overall developing self-confidence that comes with the acquiring of knowledge and wisdom.  In return, school demands from the learner to able to READ, WRITE, UNDERSTAND, SPELL, STUDY, MEMORISE  and PASSING TESTS.  Schools all over the world start teaching the building blocks for reading with sound: letters, the sound and combination of sounds that the letters are able to produce, continuing lists of new words, never ending  and often nonsensical (for the dyslexic) grammar rules. The generally accepted basis here is the link between LANGUAGE SOUNDS and THE WAY IT IS WRITTEN.  Without the ability of decoding meaning from the sound of the words, there is almost no learning through reading.

This strategy works  fine for learners who are not dyslexic, and have no other learning disabilities.  BUT NOT FOR DYSLEXICS.

It is widely accepted that people with dyslexia are NOT primarily VERBAL THINKERS – they do not think with the sounds of the language.  They often have little or no internal monologue, they do not hear what they are silently reading, or thinking in their minds. Instead, they are composing a mental picture by adding VISUAL MEANING to each new word.

Words that describe real things don’t cause dyslexics much trouble, the socalled “touch-words”.  The challenge lies with words that CANNOT be pictured, like THE, AND, BUT, EACH, WHAT, and about 200 more of such abstract words.  Reading a sentence containing these words in between picture words, causes a series of unrelated pictures with blank spots in between.  This is because these non-picture words appear in each and every sentence, like this one: “THIS dog IS NOT VERY healthy AND SHOULD DEFINITELY visit A vet”.  There are no pictures in the dyslexic person’s mind for  THIS/IS/NOT/VERY/AND/SHOULD/DEFINITELY/A. The only pictures the dyslexic reader can form are of DOG, HEALTHY, VISIT, VET. The inaccurate, distorted meaning derived from these pictures is that ”healthy dog  visit a vet.”

This lack of understanding of what the sentence really is saying immediately leads to feelings of confusion,  the reader becomes DISORIENTED (one of the uncontrolled characteristics of dyslexia). The perception of symbols (letters/words) gets distorted.  Letters seem to change around, words are omitted or replaced. This leads to an impossibility to read, write and comprehend and leaves the person desperate, powerless, frustrated and with a fast developing and  (often) dangerously low self-esteem. And that is what makes “back to school” such an undesirable concept for  a learner with dyslexia.

Dyslexia, although genetic (inherited from one or both parents),  is not a disease, not a mental dysfunction, is not meaning the person is slow, dumb, uncooperative in the class.  Dyslexia is a DIFFERENT WAY OF THINKING, not compatible at all with modern (verbal) schooling methods. The “triggers” in words and letters,  causing the dyslexic disorientation,  are build-in in letters (like b/d, p/q, f/v, u/y) , and non-picture words (most of the Dolch/sight words). The good news is these “triggers” can easily be de-triggered.

The well proven Davis methods of correcting Dyslexia are being facilitated in more than 45 countries, in as many languages.  The well tested and proven methods addressing the person’s dyslexia has been designed and researched by a dyslexic person (Ron Davis) and is very fast grasped by the dyslexic, as it “speaks” her/his language. All it takes to change a former fearful “back to school” into an immeasurable excitement to learn another new year,  is a 5 day intensive one-on-one (individualised) programme.

Most dyslexic parents/adults have learned to cope with their dyslexia in some or other way.  They too, can correct their dyslexia.  However, the focus now is the learner, from preschool age, who should never be allowed to experience the school learning process as a threat.  Many parents with dyslexic children may have received some comment, or have seen unexplained low marks on the last school report pertaining  to a suspicion of dyslexia.

Why should such children be subjected to another year of the agony of not being able to read and write? At this time of “BACK-TO-SCHOOL”, please offer the dyslexic learner the life-long opportunity to enjoy school, to properly and easily showcase his/her gifted talents,  high intelligence, and fulfilled personality to him or herself, classmates, teachers and to the world.

Contact Jan Viljoen,  Dyslexia Correction Intervention Practitioner, at or call +27 83 413 1428.