Book Review: The Gift of Dyslexia

Dyslexia

As a pediatric occupational therapist, I have worked with children with Dyslexia in schools and in clinic set up over the years. In addition to providing occupational therapy interventions, I have always been curious to discover with them, their strengths, gifts and talent. This fact alone made the title just perfect; it caught my eye and, without a doubt, my heart. I picked this book with an aim to quell my curiosity.

The Author, Ronald Deel Davis, is Dyslexic. As a reader, I find it more captivating reading from an author who has had a personalized experience on what they are writing about. This pick for a read was just right. I can only imagine how hard it was to be a dyslexic student in Donald Davis’ learning days. The teachers, parents and the community were not aware as we are now. Information about learning disabilities was not as accessible as it is now. With the internet, we are definitely fortunate to have such information at the click of a button… I digress.

Davis' Perspective of Dyslexia

After reading the first few pages, I had to take a pause. I discovered that I needed to have to an open mind and to shift my mindset to be able to fully appreciate Davis’s work. Why so? Well, Davis had an interesting perspective about Dyslexia. According to Davis, Disorientation is one of the main challenges faced by a dyslexic learner. Dyslexics used disorientation unconsciously to perceive multi-dimentionally.

Reading on, I got a feel of how it happens. Davis talks about how a potential dyslexic (P.D) infant, a two year old, a 3-5 year old, a 6 year old and a 9 year old are affected by the multidimentinal perception of the world around them in their dyslexic state. I nodded in agreement with his findings that the dyslexic learner is primarily a non-verbal thinker who has little or no internal monologue. The dyslexic learner thinks with mental pictures and they get to hear what they are reading while reading out loud. This picture making process for the dyslexics is stopped by trigger words and or unknown words.

I once watched a film that had blank gaps in between, I felt confused, frustrated and finally, just quit watching the film all together. I couldn’t get the plot of the film, as much as I tried to concentrate, the gaps made my efforts futile. I related this with Davis’ description of the Dyslexic learner’s process and understood why they find it hard to comprehend what they are reading and why some are so frustrated with school work and why some eventually give up. I now get it.

The Davis Procedure

Davis created the Davis Procedure which enables the Dyslexic learner to control disorientation, thereby controlling the dyslexic symptoms. This approach involves orientation counseling and symbol Mastery.

The Gifts of Dyslexia

The best part of the book came when I got to explore the different gifts of the dyslexic learner/individual. If not suppressed by parents or by a rigid educational system the dyslexic learners can develop to be great creatives and masters in their gifting. For Albert Einstein it was physics, for Michael Jordan it was basketball. Amazing! right? Try to pick out any famous person with dyslexia and identify their area of mastery.

The Thoughtful End

As I finished the book, I had a few questions running through my mind:

  • Are there Davis Method Providers in Africa and Specifically in Kenya?
  • Is there a Davis Program available for teachers?

I went on to research and find answers to these questions. Not just to quench my curiosity, but also to understand what is going on in Kenya, Africa and Online with regard to the Davis Procedure. Here is what I found out:

  • There is Davis Procedure practician in Kenya. They can be found at www.dyslexia-africa.com. Their telephone contacts are +254 721 492217 or +254 733 513 821.
  • There is a public Facebook group dedicated to issues related with the Davis Procedure – Davis Dyslexia Support
  • There are different Davis Learning Strategies workshops for teachers conducted in different regions.
  • There is the Davis Dyslexia Association Africa – DDAA.

To learn more about Davis’ extraordinary story check out www.davisautism.com and look at the article Red dirt and water.

The Gift of Dyslexia

Book Details

Title: The Gift of Dyslexia
Author: Ronald D. Davis
Publisher: Souvenir Press
Year: 1997
Pages: 258
ISBN: 0285634127

Special Features: The typeset is larger than normal text and with the fewest possible work breaks in order to make it dyslexic – friendly

In Conclusion

I would gladly recommend this book to parents, teachers, occupational therapist and any one curious about Dyslexia and the Gift of Dyslexia with only one advice… “Have an open mind” 🙂

Have you read this book? Do you have any experience with the Davis Procedure? Do you have any questions regarding Dyslexia and the Davis Procedure? Leave a comment or chat with us on WhatsApp. You can also get in touch with us. Don’t forget to share widely.