People with dyslexia, both children and adults, tend to have directionality confusion to a significant degree. For most of us, directionality becomes automatic at an early age, but in dyslexics the process never becomes an automatic one. Directionality confusion causes problems with reading, writing, driving, and even just telling a friend about a birthday (tomorrow, not yesterday).
Here are some of the ways in which directionality confusion is expressed:
- Even as adults, dyslexics may need to draw upon the tricks taught them by their mothers or teachers to help them know their right from their left. This never becomes fast, easy, or automatic.
- In a home where dyslexic people live, one is liable to hear people say, “It’s on your left. No. Not that left. The OTHER left.”
- Due to left/right confusion, a dyslexic will confuse the letters b and d. One letter points to the left while the other points to the right.
- Math problems may be attempted from the wrong side of the equation, or the dyslexic may carry the number in the wrong direction.
- People with dyslexia may not be able to distinguish between the concepts of up and down. As a result, the letters b and p, d and q, m and w, and n and u become confused.
Direction Words Confusion
- These words will be confused: next/previous, first/last, over/under, after/before.
- Time confusion is expressed in the inability to distinguish between tomorrow and yesterday.
- The dyslexic may confuse north, south, east, and west.
- Adult dyslexics may find they often become lost while driving, even in familiar, long-traveled areas in their hometowns.
- Dyslexics tend to have trouble reading and understanding maps.
Sequencing is also difficult for the dyslexic. Any task that must be completed according to a specific order will be a challenge for the dyslexic. It may be hard for the dyslexic to accomplish a list of tasks if there is no apparent logic to the ordering of the list. Memorizing a list without logic is impossible for the dyslexic.
Here are some tasks that tend to be a challenge for those with dyslexia:
- Shoe-Tying: this is a skill that involves a sequence of steps as well as directionality. Lots of dyslexics cannot tie their shoes until they are in their teens.
- Forming Letters: dyslexics may begin and end letters at strange points. They can’t remember the series of pencil strokes they must make to form the letters. So, they just dig in and start writing from wherever and continue on until the letter bears some relation to its correct form.
- Long Division: long division problems entail following a sequence of five steps, in the same sequence, for each problem. The dyslexic may have a good grasp of each step but may not perform them in the proper sequence, and he may up generating the wrong answer.
- Touch-Typing: the logical answer to dysgraphia, a type of very poor handwriting that often accompanies dyslexia, is touch-typing. But it’s harder for kids with dyslexia to learn how to type. The keyboard displays the keys in a random order which must be memorized by rote.