Eyes Tell All
May 3rd, 2016
We know more about dyslexia now than we used to. When I first waded into the murky waters of LD, about 15 years ago, there was little awareness of dyslexia in education. We haven’t entirely resolved this, but lack of knowledge is no longer the problem.
One thing we know for sure is that dyslexia is not a result of faulty vision. It is a result of nonstandard (NOT flawed) brain circuitry for processing language. Yet the eyes are still essential to reading; they are the entry point for all written information on its way to the brain.
As a dyslexia tutor, I can tell you there is another role for the eyes. A student’s eyes tell me everything about the moment we are in. Shaded, averted eyes signal fear, uncertainty, self protection. Most students enter into tutoring with this look. Shy eyes tell me the student is scared but willing to risk with me, hoping I’m right, that there is reason to believe they might succeed after all.
Bright eyes tell me we’re getting there! It shows up there first; the student might not even realize it, but we are laying foundation for reading which will scaffold to skill. It is happening in the brain, felt in the heart and stomach, and reflected in the eyes.
Dancing eyes tell me this child or adult is beginning to fly! They feel it, they show it, they are crazy happy to discover they can do this! Reading is like that for the 20%.
The hard work of reading takes place deep inside the skull where the serious grey matter resides. But there is no question the eyes are essential, as entry point for the student, and window for the tutor.
Barbara Felix M.A., CALP
Dyslexia Achievement Center, LLC