Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Dyslexia, Aspergers and Hudson Hates School

Yesterday I ran into a woman who I had met at an Asperger's Parent's Coffee Group last year. I knew I knew her, but I didn't know HOW I knew her. She came over to me and said: I must thank you for telling me about the book Hudson Hates School.

After I met you, I went to the library and got it out for {daughter's name}. She told me: Mum, that's me.

I have a real love for the book. A passionate soft spot that I can't quite put into words. I came across it one afternoon waiting for Sophie's rhythmic gynmnastics class to begin. I told Sophie: Haha, another kid who hates school!

We read it together and it instantly became the core explanation of Asperger's, Dyslexia and other 'brain' complexes.

You see, Hudson hates school. He doesn't do well at reading or spelling and he never gets a good grade on his Friday spelling test. The other kids are noticing and some are even teasing him.

Sound familiar?

Hudson eventually gets tested for Dyslexia and he is identified as having the condition and he gets special resources to help him. And, in the end, he doesn't hate school so much.

But, what makes the book extraordinary is the diagram at the back of the book. On one page it shows a neurotypical brain and what each side of the brain is responsible for, ie, math, science, painting, numbers, etc.

And on the next page, it shows the dyslexic brain and how the same brain has to do SO much more on just one side vs the even spread of the neurotypical brain.

Sophie took one look at the book, and being 5 and less verbal at the time, said: Mama, I have dyslexia!

And I said, I know you do baby. You're working really hard, aren't you?

Is this why you hate school?

No, she replied. But sort of.

Soph was diagnosed with Asperger's a few weeks later.

It seems to me that the more Aspie's I run into, the more I hear them equate a lot of their educational struggles to something 'similar' to dyslexia. They don't have words for what's going on in their heads, but it's sorta, almost kinda like this.

The words don't fit right. The comprehension is off. The author could have used 'x' word instead of 'y' word and made more sense.

The numbers don't look right in that font. They sometimes interchange in my head.

Movements get confused and I forget what I'm doing.

While Asperger's and Dyslexia are not the same fish, they're both considered neurological conditions, and they are both considered learning disorders. Is there a relationship between them?

It doesn't seem so.

In fact, you'll find some dyslexia advocates hotly admonishing anyone who considers them similar, because they think it takes away from dyslexia. Autism is a hot topic, dyslexia has never had the same interest, fund raising or social awareness.

And, if you go even further down the field of looking for 'why' it's happening, you'll find some who relate autism to a completely different genetic lineage, that of the Neanderthal. I think that ought to interest Soph!

It seems that there are more Aspie kids who have fantastic reading abilities than those who simply cannot recognise the symbols in front of them. In fact, some Aspies learn to read so young they're considered gifted before the age of 5.

They're considered hyperlexic.

And, a lot of dyslexic kids are very verbal, enjoying communication with lots of different people on different levels. They may struggle in communicating in a written word, but verbally they excel.

So, for the Aspie with dyslexia?

It feels like navigating the already sunken Titanic, alone in the dark in a really cold vacuum.

There is this enormous task ahead and there are so many loops and bends and undiscovered areas that we simply don't know where to start or to whom to appeal.

You can have a child, in my case it's my child, who isn't very verbal. Who when asked to read aloud, freezes, stumbles and internalizes it as a failure. Who can't recognise the symbols in front of her, and instead of asking for help, falls prey to her mutism and she sinks.

Like the Titanic.

Quickly and without much flourish.

We're going to aim to get some dyslexia testing done, but who knows how she'll fare on the day.

There's a term for kids who are gifted and who also have other learning disorders, called Twice Exceptional.

I've yet to come anything close to a term for those who are on the Autism Spectrum and facing Dyslexia or any other the other Dys-learning disorders.

But I think those kids are pretty Exceptional too. We just don't have a term for them. Yet.

Anyone else out there, googling away, who happens to have an Aspie with Dyslexia, feel free to comment. I want to know what you're doing, what supplements you're using, etc.

I want it all.

As Steve Silberman writes: 'The people scrambling hardest are parents.' .


Jolene Michelle De Bruyn said...

Your post is the first one I have read that I can fully relate to. My 10 year old son was Diagnosed Last year June with aspergers, they could not tell me at that point if he has dyslexia , But in the last months he has been diagnosed with dyslexia. It makes it very hard, because his communication skills are not very good.I home school him, The pressure in the main stream schools he would just get lost. The Curriculum I am currently using is the Waldorf curriculum. He is also on a range of Tissue salts and Bach flower remedies especially for the night terrors. The ones I use for the night terrors are Mimulus & Aspen(Bach) these two are for known and unknown fears. He also takes pre and pro biotic that keeps his gut healthy. Krill oil for the Omegas.

I can go on, I have found that that has worked for me. It took a lot of reached to get where I am now. When he first got diagnosed all they gave me was the autism website address for support, What a lot that did me.

Now that he has been diagnosed dyslexia. It just feels like This mountain I don't know where to quite start. The only thing that I have found works so far is colored lenses. If you have any further advise I am very open to receiving anything that works.

My email address is

Kind regards

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