Sydney Dyslexia

A fine site

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ADD and the World of entertainment

disorientationThe World According to the ADD/ADHD child

Children who are showing signs of distractibility or lack of focus often fall into the ADD/ADHD category. They spend hours in a state of disorientation where they experience an alternative reality. Often this reality replaces the reality that the rest of us experiences.

But what would it be like to entertain ourselves in a self created fantasy world?

In an imaginary world time doesn’t exist – everything happens at once

Order doesn’t exist – everything simply is, everywhere you can imagine – randomly

Consequences don’t exist – we make it up and in that alternative reality things ‘just happen’.

Being director and creator and actor of that inner fantasy makes for a great movie, where everything circulates around ‘me‘.

Not surprisingly, these life concepts of me, change, consequence, time and many others are missing, incomplete or inaccurate.

In the ‘Davis world’, these concepts play a major role in establishing a new order of understanding and an ability to fully participate in life.

Ron Davis: “If you eliminate the reason why a problem exists – the problem will stop existing.”


Every Child is Special – Aamir Khan movie

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Having been to a fantastic Attention Mastery Workshop in Christchurch last week, I was introduced to this absolutely beautiful Indian film – it’s long and you’ll need the tissues ready, but so worth the watch. It’s in English from the original Indian version.

The young boy and his imaginary world are such a superb example of ADD, paired with Dyslexia, that any parent with a child that struggles in school will be able to relate – laugh and cry.

In the Davis world we call it ‘disorientation’ and you hardly ever see a better way of depicting its different varieties as in this movie.

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Diagnosis and symptoms

ImageA typical letter/email from a worried mum:

I am sure many mothers out there can relate very well!

“Brief History – I have been aware that something hasn’t being ‘right’ for a few years, Unfortunately there isn’t a lot of Support or people who know about Dyslexia in Singapore, even though we attend an International School. In 2010, I had him privately tested over here, I can send a copy of the brief report I received. The psychologist verbally told me that Dean had Slight dyslexia but he didn’t have all of the traits, so nothing to worry about. We have had extra help through school but I don’t believe this is working. I have being feeling more frustrated for him, and over the past 12 months, i have seen no improvement in his reading, it is a daily fight to get him to read, as he struggles so much he just shuts down. About 2 months ago his teacher told me he had lost some of his enthusiasm for learning, for me this was a massive wake up moment!!! as he had always being so keen to learn and participate, I assume the work was getting harder and he felt frustrated. 

He is the happiest, kindest boy you would meet with a huge personality, and I have always being told that the class wouldn’t be the same without him and that he contributes to the class conversations openly with enthusiasm and interesting facts. 

The years seem to be passing too quickly and looking towards Year 6 and then secondary school for him, it scares me how he is going to cope if he cannot read the text fluently. When I was reading your website, I noticed he has a lot of the traits, the only one he doesn’t have is his understudying of ‘text’. He may read slow and disjoined with zero expression, but he understands what he reads, although he then cannot transfer this to pen and paper, as he hates writing. 

I’m not sure whether he can be tested while we are over here, however if would be great to get an accurate diagnosis so if he does indeed have Dyslexia we can get him the correct help he needs. I’m sure the school would co-operate if they had to help in any way. I look forward to hearing from you. “

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Dyslexia and Spelling


just a few interesting words you’ll see:

don’t: bont

judge: juj

stuff: suf

by: duy

size: sise

because: becas

thinks: feks

…. and the list goes on. This is a real example from a very bright 7-year old who is now doing extremely well, a year later.

Creative spelling is one of the most common side effects of this creative mind-set. These children have gone through many years at school, trying to read, write and spell, using the phonic way that suits so many children. Unfortunately not my clients. They are telling me that sounding out makes them feel nauseous, confused, frustrated and – worst of all, stupid.

When they see that 80 % of children in the class room have improved and seem to be getting it, the increasing lack of confidence is one of the signs that help is needed – but not help in the way of doing the same words in the same way as they do them at school. 









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What can I tell my child to feel more confident about their dyslexia?


What can I tell my child to feel more confident about their dyslexia?

Depending on their age, using appropriate examples, explain the gift that their way of thinking comes with. My own passion about the abilities of that mindset probably helps, but all my clients end up being really proud of the fact that they are part of an elite club of people with a dyslexic learning style. Depending on their interest, I’d point out Walt Disney or Tom Cruise, Keira Knightley or Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci or Quentin Tarantino and just about any top sportsperson. All these people didn’t succeed despite being dyslexic, but because of it. Most of these individuals did struggle at school, were teased or bullied, but once they found their strength and used their gifts, many of them went straight to the top of their field. In today’s workplace, opportunities for dyslexics are greater than ever, not only because of our increased need for creative solutions but also our heavy dependence on the internet and technology, which really suits right brainers

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Why ‘because’, anyway


Words that don’t have a picture – or at least not a clear one – are often very tricky for dyslexics to understand.

They may be able to read these words, especially the short ones like ‘a’, ‘on’, ‘for’ – but if you asked them what these words mean, the answers will surprise you.

I had an interesting experience with a 14-year old client recently. He came to my place and the first thing he said to me was: ‘How can you afford this anyway?’ Not taking any offence, as I knew it wasn’t meant to offend or sound rude, I just said, ‘That’s an interesting question.’

Later that day, we were looking at these non-picture words, like ‘because’ or ‘him’. I casually asked if he knew what ‘anyway’ means. We looked it up in a dictionary and it said: 

anyway: in any case (amongst other explanations)

We then discussed sentences where it was appropriate to use the word. He then made a model of himself with an umbrella and the sun, saying that it doesn’t rain but he’d take an umbrella anyway. I then asked him if it made sense to use ‘anyway’ after questions which he used to do almost automatically (When is lunch anyway? What’s the time anyway?). He agreed that it doesn’t make the sense he wanted. There is no reason for sarcasm – and he reached that realisation himself.

After that he never used ‘anyway’ for the rest of the program – what a clever young man!


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As a teacher, what can I do with children who are hyperactive and distract the rest of the class?


What to do with hyperactive children in the classroom?

Discourage the use of stimulants, such as Ritalin, even if it’s tempting. There are healthier and more supportive activities that would help them.

When a child displays signs of hyperactivity, being forced to sit still and not move makes them nauseous. It’s the closest to a feeling of seasickness. It’s not just in our mind, but there actually is a 
biochemical change happening too.

Children with ADD and ADHD display higher levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Disorientation shifts our perception of time and increases the dopamine output, and having an increased amount of dopamine around the synapses of the brain, the “internal clock” speeds up. Naturally, time in the classroom seems to be excruciatingly slow in comparison.

Instead of using discipline to force them to sit motionless, encourage an activity when you see that happening. It could be as simple as running an errand, giving a note to another teacher, accompanying another student to the sick bay or anything you can think of. Movement, stretching or any combined class activity, like playing with Koosh balls is great to help them and synchronize the energy of all children.

Koosh balls (the rubbery, stringy toy balls) are a fantastic tool that many teachers use already. For additional benefit, ask your students to throw and catch while standing on one leg, throw them in a sequence to different children (teacher to Mary, Mary to Dean, Dean to John, John to Patrick …) and after a while, reverse that sequence, which keeps them totally focused and on task. Ask them to catch overhead, like an eagle would catch a mouse, while throwing them underhand, with the balls next to each other, in one hand, so they arrive at the catcher’s eye level simultaneously. Throwing the balls to either the left or right side of their head has the additional benefit of mid-line crossing, when they catch the two balls. Very young children (approximately up to the age of eight) have trouble catching the balls overhead and find it easier to catch with both hands stretched out, palms facing up.