Find Your Orientation Point

February 28, 2006 at 9:43 am (Uncategorized)

I sat down with Nate last night and worked on some exercises from the book, “The Gift of Dyslexia.” It’s a visualization exercise meant to center the “mind’s eye” where it should be and “turn off” the disorientation center of the brain.

Nate looked at me and asked, “What’s ‘disorientation’?” I said, “Confusion, not understanding things.”

He looked at me with those big blue eyes and he asked softly, “Can we turn that part off?”

I responded, “That’s what you’re going to learn to do.”

I had him write “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog” before we started. I then had him write it afterwards, noticing when his mind “jumped” away from the subject. I had him bring his “mind’s eye” back to the “orientation point” and write it again.

In the first sentence he made the “q” a “g” and had to write over it. He also capitalized “fox” and “jumped.” In the second sentence, he got the “q” right but erased and re-wrote the “w” and the “z” and only capitalized “jumped.” I pointed out which letters made his mind “jump” and how to reorient himself.

The third sentence was perfect. True, he had written it three times, but not only was it perfectly spelled and punctuated but it was fluent. “Fluency” in these terms means how fast something is written. His handwriting was beautiful and he even pressed harder with the pencil. There was no hesitation in his writing. Normally, no matter how many times he writes the word, “quick” or “pick” or “dog” or “was,” he hesitates because he has trouble with “q,” “p,” “g,” “d,” “b,” “w,” and “z.” At least half the time his “b” and “d” are combined and the “q” looks like a “g” before it looks like a “q.”

For a child who has been writing the alphabet since he was four, he should be much more fluent. He has to stop and concentrate on how the letters are actually formed. With the orientation exercise, he doesn’t have to do this because he has “turned off” the disorientation caused by his mind “jumping.”

I asked him this morning why he thought he did so much better on the third sentence. He said, “Because I worked harder on it.” I asked, “But were you able to work harder on it because you were able to concentrate on it or just because you worked harder?”

He said, “Oh, because I could concentrate on it,” then he scrunched his face up and said, “but I didn’t have to try as hard to concentrate.” *Light bulb*

Last night, when I had him compare the first sentence vs. the third sentence and I asked him what he thought about it, he just grinned at me and hugged me very hard. Baby steps . . . and more exercises.

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