Recently, I happened upon this articlecourtesy of Dyslexic Kids. It states that dyslexia and ADHD are strictly medical problems, and to view them as having any sort of advantage can be damaging to those of us “afflicted” by these disorders.
I heartily disagree with this idea.
If They Offer No Advantages, Why Are They Still Around?
|Da Vinci often wrote his words and sentences backwards.
That’s often a sign of dyslexia.
By Artist: Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) [Public domain],
via Wikimedia Commons
The term “dyslexia” was coined back in 1887, and there have been signs of dyslexia in writing since DaVinci’s time, between 1452 and 1519, it’s not some dreaded new disease as the article implies. Odds are, brain structures that are currently classified as dyslexic and ADHD probably existed long before writing and current educational institutions even existed. ll
If dyslexia or ADHD were as dangerous as the article implies, then why hasn’t evolution eliminated them by now?
Yes, there are symptoms that occur outside of the world of school, but they’re obviously not bad enough to eliminate those who have them before they could have children. The unique problem solving abilities demonstrated by many dyslexics and greater awareness of their surroundings demonstrated by those with ADHD offered real world advantages to those in the past, and can continue to do so for those in the present and future.
Article Source Is Questionable
Further, PR Web, the service the article is published on, is geared more towards increasing web traffic to a particular web page or business than dispensing valid information. Basically, the article is an advertisement for Levinson’s medical center. For me, at least, that does nothing but diminish any sort of faith I have in the information given.
If you look at the overall structure of the web page, you’ll no less than seven links to Levinson’s web page. After studying the bit of SEO that I have, I know that practice is done solely to increase the page’s standing with search engines and drive business to a company’s web page.
The more popular a web page is when someone plugs in “dyslexia”, “ADHD” or any other term about it, the more likely it is to be found by people who are just starting to learn about the world of LD and dyslexia.
Depending on the place they are mentally and emotionally, this may translate directly into profit for this doctor and his clinic.
According to another article on PR Web, apparently Levinson’s branching into autism treatment as well.
Flaws in the Idea
When I looked further into the article, I noticed that he commented that few of his patients benefited from the idea of being a variation of normal, and implied that nothing short of medical intervention helped them. He then goes on to apply that to the general population with dyslexia and ADHD.
Although he may be convinced by that, I have my doubts that his ideas apply to everyone due to the following two points:
- Dyslexia and ADHD aren’t simple enough to address in one particular way because they’re so deeply tied into how each individual functions mentally, emotionally and physically.
- Many of the folks who seek out medical treatment most likely already have a set point of view on the way dyslexia works, the options that are best for them and their own opinions.
There have been way too many people who have benefited greatly from various teaching techniques, tutoring and learning how to accept the way their dyslexia/ADHD fits into their lives for Levinson’s ideas to be the only ones that work.
Personally, I see absolutely no harm in finding gifts in dyslexia and assorted other types of neurodiversity. If those gifts can be used to get around faults in the current educational establishment and establish a fulfilling path in adulthood, why not use them?
What I do see harm with is in promoting only one method of accommodation, whether it’s a certain type of tutoring or a form of medical intervention.
I personally minimize medication intake because all drugs come with risks of side effects or allergy. Even life saving medications, like the albuterol I’m on to stop infrequent asthma attacks, can cause life threatening problems in certain people and situations. As it is, I don’t like taking that, because although the side effects I get are somewhat mild, they’re still unpleasant.
However, others are free to try medical interventions for LDs, if the potential benefit is greater than the risk. If they benefit from it, good deal! If they don’t, then hopefully little to no damage has been done. It’s completely their choice.
Levinson and those who believe him are free to continue on with doing so, if it works for them, but I’ll continue doing what works for me. That just happens to be working on my strengths and striving to normalize something that shouldn’t be viewed as a problem.