THE MEDICAL MODEL AND DYSLEXIA
It seems when people start discussing important issues having to deal with Education, Sociology, Psychology etc, the discussion goes to whether the Medical or Social Model is most appropriate. So we are all about Dyslexia Awareness and we advocate for the Social Model. It just makes sense to me that because we are talking about people and how Dyslexia affects them that the Social Model is the most appropriate. The reason I feel this way is because the Medical Model says that people with Dyslexia are broken, their brains need rewiring or statements like that.
People with Dyslexia are not broken, they don't need to be cured and there is no pill that makes Dyslexia go away. Sure the Medical Method is appropriate for lots of issues, just not Dyslexia. Maybe the pharmaceutical companies want to get a piece of the action for a "cure", so far all the medical evidence and research I have seen just is not conclusive. So if the Medical Model is inappropriate then let's look at the Social Model.
The Social Model basically states that any barriers that we impose on people with "disabilities" are the ones we make because of ignorance of the issues. The issues surrounding Dyslexia are really simple. Dyslexics are not stupid, not lazy, they can focus just like you and me, most can learn to read, write and spell and do all the regular tasks in school and in the work place. All the tasks that non-Dyslexics do aren't learned without some sort of specific knowledge; it's the same with Dyslexics. People with Dyslexic issues just need to have the information presented in different ways.
There, now you know what has to be done, just implement some different teaching methods. Sounds like a huge and difficult task but it's not. The methods we have created are simple to learn, simple to teach, inexpensive and quick. Just how effective is it you ask? Well recent information I found from a major New Zealand Dyslexia Awareness association made quite a profound impact on me. They found that schools in the U.K. who used Dyslexia Friendly methods in the classrooms had amazing results. By using teaching methods that work well with Dyslexics, the whole class, including the non-Dyslexics, moved forward more quickly than if the class was taught using traditional teaching methods. The same traditional methods we are using in Canada and America. What this means is that schools can teach more quickly and effectively if they adopt these Dyslexia Friendly methods.
But why is it taking so long for the "powers that be" to implement the necessary changes, why aren't teachers in North America being taught about Dyslexia? I know that the ignorance that has surrounded Dyslexia 25 years ago is still with us now. We have done seven presentations to Federal and Provincial Service Providersand Pro-D Days for teachers in the last three months and at every single one of them we get the same comments. The Teachers and Service Providers all need more information about Dyslexia because they haven't gotten the training they need to understand or accommodate it. If they need more information and help and are not getting it why is that so? I don't know the answers. I do know one thing though; let's not wait for the people in charge of the Education of our kids to make the necessary changes any time soon. We have to take action ourselves; we need to be our own advocates.