© 2021 MTPR
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Arts & Culture

Dyslexia And Kids: Dr. Starbuck Explains

Via Pixabay (Creative Commons)

Hi! I’m Dr. Jamison Starbuck, a naturopathic family physician. I’m here today with health tips for kids about: dyslexia.

Grant: Hello my name is Grant. I came over here a little bit today to talk about myself.

So you have dyslexia, right?

Grant: Yeah.

And what do you know about it that you could tell us?

Grant: It makes it kinda hard to read words, it kinda makes you like, it kind of tries to take on your brain.

Dyslexia, spelled D-Y-S-L-E-X-I-A, is condition where a person’s brain figures out information in a different way than the brain of an average person. When kids have dyslexia they have trouble reading and writing and sounding out words. They might write their letters backwards or make spelling mistakes or leave out certain words when they read a sentence out loud, words like the, or, an, or it.

Some people think that kids with dyslexia are not too smart. But those people are wrong! Kids with dyslexia are just as smart as any other kids; some are average and some are super smart. That’s because dyslexia is not about intelligence. It’s about how the brain thinks about information. When most kids learn how to say and spell and understand language, they do it by thinking about how words sound. Kids who have dyslexia figure out words through pictures and images. So a kid with dyslexia can learn the word horse with a mental picture of a horse. But what’s a mental picture of the? I don’t have one, do you? Or what’s the mental picture of an? Like ‘an apple’? You can imagine apple, but can you imagine an? So when a kid with dyslexia tries to read a sentence that says ‘the horse ate an apple’, they are going to get stuck, right at the beginning with the, and later on with an.

Grant: Sometimes in dyslexia it kind of makes your brain get it wrong, but what you need to do is just fight so it can’t get it wrong.

Lots of people who have dyslexia are really smart. They can be creative and invent new and wonderful things because their brain thinks in pictures and images and ideas. Alexander Graham Bell who invented the telephone and Thomas Edison who invented light bulbs and the motion picture camera, Walt Disney, Winston Churchill, and Leonardo Da Vinci all were dyslexic. Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise and Whoopi Goldberg are famous Hollywood people who have dyslexia. Having dyslexia doesn’t mean you can’t succeed. But it does mean you have to work hard at school to study and learn.

Grant: Well I don’t really have to study a lot. It’s kind of like the normal kids only that it’s hard to read, write and it’s kind of like I think reading is my hardest subject. Math is hard but it’s still easy to me.

Since 15 to 20 percent of the population has dyslexia, kids listening to this show either have dyslexia or know a kid who does. So don’t be scared of it or mean about it. Instead be curious! If you have dyslexia, work hard to figure out how to read and write well because that will help you succeed. If you don’t have dyslexia, be friendly and kind to the kids who do. They might have a lot to teach you about creative thinking and you might be able to help them with reading and writing.

Grant: Well, I think it’s a gift. Dyslexia, to me, it makes me have a really good memory! I’m Dr. Jamison Starbuck and I’m wishing you well.