Mind's Eye Miracle
My journey with dyslexia remediation started in first grade. I was diagnosed with dyslexia by an ophthalmologist as well as the headmaster of a learning disability school. Unfortunately, not much was known about dyslexia then, and neither expert had much confidence in their diagnosis. It was decided to put me in 3 years reading remediation therapy. No matter how I applied myself, at an early age I knew something was different about me.
Only dyslexic readers know the shame of dyslexia and being caught stumbling while reading out loud. The following is an explanation of how dyslexic readers struggles while reading out loud can go throughout life. I am a churchgoer, except for a seven-year stint in my late teens through my early 20s; and in the episcopal church that I attend, the congregation either stands or kneels saying several different creeds aloud. As an adult I would experiment in church with my reading ability. Every six weeks to six months, I would say to myself, just before the congregation began to read aloud, “I am going to say this passage smoothly without any stumbling over the words.” You see, since no one was hearing what I was reading, I knew it was safe to experiment with my reading. In all my attempts, and they span a time frame of over decades, I was never able to accomplish the goal of my experiment – A fluid, smooth oral read.
Excerpt from Patton: A Genius for War, by Carlo D’Este, (p46):
The usual definition of dyslexia as “a learning disorder characterized by reading, writing and spelling reversals” is highly misleading. This description barely scratches the surface of a complex disorder that, in addition to creating difficulties with reading and writing, includes an inability to concentrate, sharp mood swings, hyperactivity, obsessiveness, impulsiveness, compulsiveness, and feelings of inferiority and stupidity."1 A tendency to boast is also very common among dyslexics. Moreover, dyslexia often affects spelling, grammatical, and mathematical abilities. Like Patton, many dyslexics are eventually able to overcome the reading and writing aspects of the disorder and lead productive lives. What is often overlooked by those who perceive dyslexia as merely a reading problem is the lifelong traumatic emotional effect it has on its victims. Until recently those who studied dyslexia never seem to have grasped fully that its reading aspects were merely the tip of the iceberg.
In 1995, while recovering from my fourth devastating depression in 17 years — I believe all four depressions to be dyslexia-related — I read the above Patton paragraph about dyslexia. It changed my life. This type of change can impact so many lives of dyslexic and struggling readers; and it is about to impact your child’s life. My journey while recovering was a wonderful serendipitous six-week venture that led me to the book, The Gift of Dyslexia by Ron Davis. Ultimately, that book led me to attend a Davis Dyslexia Association International (DDAI) Dyslexia Correction Program. The point I want to make is how I discovered the power of the Mind’s Eye and how this power helped to motivate me to develop Magical I Am™ and the Bindu M.E. Tech™.
Discovering the Power of the Mind’s Eye
The Mind’s Eye is an incredibly powerful and useful tool for all individuals with dyslexia, as well as those who can read, but do not like to read. From my sessions with Fred Furtah, Headmaster of Furtah Preparatory Academy, I knew ahead of time that at DDAI I would be making the upper-case and lower-case alphabet letters with sculptor’s clay. What I didn't know was that it was going to take me approximately five hours over the course of two days to be able to visualize and say these two sets of letters in reverse from Z to A. At that time, I was 46 years of age and I was earning a six-figure income from my real estate job. Needless to say, I was quite humbled and chose not to call home to tell family of my meager accomplishments.
Later on, in day two, I mastered 14 punctuation marks and maybe one or two abstract words. Again, I didn't call home to tell of my accomplishments.
On the morning of day three, while I was working to master the word "that", I literally lost my composure and burst into anger. I vociferously stated to my Davis facilitator, Sharon Pfieffer, (a woman to this day that I still appreciate and consider to be a saint), “This is so stupid! I can't believe I have paid all this money to come out here and work with clay doing all these words that I already know!” Sharon was a bit taken back, but calmly said for me “take an early lunch; restore your composure; and I will have you read something after lunch”.
Upon coming back from lunch, Sharon tells me that if I can read a newspaper article, that means I can read at the eighth-grade level. As anyone who knows me will say, I am a bit of a joker, so my response to Sharon was…“When I arrived Monday morning, I found out while reading to Brian Grimes, the Director of DDAI, that I could not read aloud and comprehend 50% of the fifth-grade level text, “Cooking with the Sun”. BTW…That epiphany with Brian came damn close to putting me into tears”. How could I have graduated from college, and accomplished a couple of quarters of being on the Dean's list, and be the equivalent of a functionally illiterate reader? All of this was mind-boggling to me, but I joked to Sharon, "since I can't read out loud at the fifth-grade level, give me something at the third-grade level.” Sharon laughed and pulled out a third-grade textbook, and had me check my point (this simply means to use your imagination and visualize an already set point above one’s head, and by doing so, the Mind’s Eye moves to that location), and then read several paragraphs.
She abruptly stopped me and asked me what I read. I made a joke or two about what I had read, which conveyed to both her and me what we both knew -- I had comprehended the text. She then proceeded to ask me what I wanted to read next? I believe the text I was about to read was eighth-grade material. She had me check my point, and I read several paragraphs … then I stopped in the middle of a paragraph ... Sharon asked, “What's wrong?” I was almost in tears. I said, "there’s no more stumble or jerky reading and I understand what I just read.” Then excitedly, I said, "Go get me the Bible! I have never understood that book.” Her response was, “This is a business building, Bill. I don't know if I can locate a Bible here .… “
Long story short, she came back with the Bible. She had me check my point and read, and she asked questions after every three or four verses that I read. Again, even though I was answering her questions in a joking manner, we both knew I understood what I was reading.
Then I said, “Go get me some poetry! I have never understood that stuff.” Her response was, “Bill, this is a business building….” Needless to say, she came back with some poetry. Once again, I checked my point, and read it to her. After I finished reading the poem, I looked up and a tear was flowing down her left cheek. I said to her, "Why are you crying, I'm the one who is dyslexic?" She responded by saying, "No one has ever read poetry to me before!” What a moving and incredibly powerful moment that was for the two of us.
So, in three short days, I was able to do something that I had not been able to do for 36 years of my life — read aloud fluidly and with comprehension. It was, and still is, a miracle! Now here's the point that I want to drive home to you, the reader: I asked Sharon, "How can this be? I've only mastered the upper- and lower-case alphabet letters, punctuation and maybe five words, yet I'm reading fluidly with comprehension.” Her response was simply, "That's the power of the Mind’s Eye." Then she added, "You still have to master ALL the abstract words because the Mind’s Eye cannot power through every reading situation ... dyslexics think in terms of meaning and when having difficulty reading, they are missing the meaning or a picture of the meaning of the abstract word(s) in the text.”
Fast Forward to Today.
I have checked my point (my Bindu) so many times in the last 25 years that I can't fathom what the count would be. Sometimes I think I even check my point unconsciously. Don't know for sure. However, when I do check it consciously, and I might add effortlessly, a feeling comes over me that lets me know my Mind’s Eye is on point. I can then proceed to whatever task I was intending to do. The neural pathway has been built and strengthened to the point that it's now a part of who I am and what I do in this crazy thing we call life.
In closing, you might want to know, do I still stumble over words when reading? The answer is a two-fold “YES.” Confusion is a part of reading and life itself. Any individual who says they don’t get confused sometimes when reading silently or aloud is either lying or the supreme genius. That said, now when I read, whether silently or aloud, and I hear a stumble or am aware I am confused, I know what to do…
I check my point and proceed….