Note: The thoughts expressed in this article are that of the author and in no way reflect the Virginia Department of Education's position on learning disabilities of a neurobiological nature (dyslexia).
What Causes Dyslexia?
I am asked this question frequently during television, radio, and print media interviews, but recently when a Facebook friend asked me what causes dyslexia, I did not feel restricted to the standard medical explanation I usually give as an answer. I decided to share what I believe to be a more humanistic and holistic cause of dyslexia. Here is my answer.
The cause of dyslexia is a perfectly healthy, functioning brain being born into a largely literate society. You see, the root cause of dyslexia is a largely illiterate society becoming largely literate over the last two hundred years. There is nothing medically wrong with a dyslexic person's brain. I have seen fMRI's and MEG scans to prove it. This leads me to believe that dyslexia is a technological disability, not a physical disability.
The technology is the written language, and the disability is that not every brain is born naturally wired to learn this technology easily.
Man created written language approximately four thousand years ago. When early symbols were drawn on tortoise shells, and then assigned value or meaning, which in turn other people could interpret, that was the equivalent of the Smart Board, I-Phone, and Internet all rolled into one. It was the newest, hottest, earth-shaking technology of its day. And, yes, it was a man-made technology. Now, fast forward to the last one hundred or so years. We, as a society, are dictating that everyone needs to be proficient with reading and writing.
So, you see, we, as a society, caused dyslexia. As little as two hundred years ago, if you had dyslexia, you probably would not have even known it. Now, don't get me wrong, striving to be a highly literate society is a good thing. The problem I see with this societal demand, relating to this relatively new technological revolution, is the inferred stereotype that people not proficient with the written language, are somehow stupid.
What causes dyslexia? In short, we do!
What causes the pain and suffering that almost always accompanies dyslexia, we do!
Some old food for some new thought,