There are currently 37 symptoms that people with dyslexia and ADD exhibit. In October I worked with an 11 year old and discovered yet one more to add to the list.

In a reading program at my learning center, clients are, of course, required to read. Many times they resist when it comes time to do the reading exercises due to negative symptoms they have experienced when attempting to read. These symptoms can be dizziness, headaches or stomach aches, as well as confusion over letters and words; causing the person to experience moving or blurry letters. In a Reading Program we give the client a method that will lessen the symptoms and give them clear perception of the text. Eventually the negative symptoms will cease to exist once all the confusing triggers have been dealt with.

Near the end of the second day of his program, my client, Mike, was still avoiding reading at every turn. I was finally able to persuade him of the importance of reading for me using his tool to focus. Upon completion of a paragraph, he rubbed his eyes. I asked Mike what was wrong. He said his eyes hurt. At that moment his dad walked in and I explained what had just occurred. His dad asked him, “How do your eyes hurt?” To which Mike replied, “They sting, like when you are swimming in a chlorine pool.”

Mike was describing a new symptom not on the list of 37 characteristics. Mike's eyes were trying to adjust to the brain's confusion over the unrecognized letters and/or words. In his attempt to adjust to the blurry or moving letters he squinted his eyes; thus, giving them a stinging sensation.

It was suggested by a fellow facilitator that this symptom could also be from sensitivity to florescent lighting and I should try having him wear sunglasses. The following morning Mike's dad bought a pair of sunglasses and Mike read an entire page with no complaint of stinging eyes! The next day I was tending to a minor emergency in the office and asked Mike to find a game or puzzle to keep him busy while I tended to the situation. When the emergency was over, I was surprised to find Mike lying in the floor of my lobby reading (and reading without sunglasses)! When I asked about his eyes he said they felt fine.

At lunchtime, Mike ran to the door to greet his dad and exclaimed, “I like reading now, reading is fun!” His father couldn’t believe his ears and had to wipe tears from his eyes. His son, whom he had described to me as a “survival reader”, was reading for pleasure and liking it!

Mike was able to overcome his barrier to reading because he was able to tell someone, for the first time, why he was avoiding reading. Once the stinging symptom could be dealt with, he felt free to trust his focusing tool; therefore, giving him his breakthrough in reading.

Incidentally, another of those 37 characteristics is avoidance. Who wouldn’t avoid reading if they were experiencing stinging eyes!

Author's Bio: 

Lesa Hall holds a B.S. in Education and is a Licensed and Certified Davis Dyslexia Correction Facilitator and Owner Reading Quest, LLC (Learning Center) with experience in grades pre-K through 7. Focused on facilitating clients, one-on-one, in programs that eliminate the reasons they struggle with learning. She is currently working towards a license for a cutting edge autism program.

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