Volume 4 #4 April
I often watch “Judge Judy” and admire her ability
to zero in with sharp questions that extract just the information
she needs, whether the hapless plaintiff wants her to or
not. But one time I got so mad at her that I actually found
her web site and wrote her a note explaining something in
VERY CLEAR language—polite, but VERY CLEAR. The plaintiffs
were twin high school age boys who had some complaint against
a boy who had done something wrong to them -- I have forgotten
the exact circumstances-- and the other kid ha d a countersuit
against the twins because they had biffed him good.
Judge Judy ascertained that the twins were poor students
at school and the butt of endless jokes, but what she didn’t
see was the depression and quiet despair in their eyes that
marked them as dyslectics. Before the end of the program
she delivered a stern lecture to them on working harder at
school and getting better grades so that they would not be
the victims of teasing.
This was too much for me, so I explained,
in my e-mail, about dyslexia and how kids were bullied in
school- often right under the eyes of their teachers, for
something for which they were not responsible etc., etc.,
etc., implying that she should find out before the show whether
dyslexia was a contributing factor in a case.
I never heard from her, of course, and I haven’t seen any cases since in
which bullying in school was a factor, so I don’t know whether she
reads her e-mail or not.
But violent kids are becoming a menace in places. A dyslectic
student can turn violent just as fast as a good reader, even
to murdering a parent, as happened three years ago in bucolic
rural Vermont. How do you tell whether the violence is frustration
from endless humiliation in school, or perhaps the result
of a violent home life where rebellion is the norm? Or both?
First you test for a discrepancy between his IQ and his
reading level. Then you do the tactile localization test
described on my web site. This will tell you whether dyslexia
is responsible for part of the behavior problem. If the answer
is yes, you teach him to read. If he calms down and becomes
able to do his schoolwork, the violence will abate. If not,
you have done your part, and it is up to somebody else to deal with whatever
else is fueling his bad behavior.
Dyslectic children are just as complicated as any other
kids. They can be subject to schizophrenia, clinical depression,
epilepsy, fetal acohol syndrome, abuse, and every other Awful
Awful that afflicts mankind. If you can lighten a child’s
load with good reading, you have done your bit. The rest is up to that “village
it takes to raise a child”.
This is good advice for anyone who tends to get involved
in a fracas in school (especiallly, apparently, in the cafeteria).
Make yourself scarce when you see trouble brewing. Go buy
an ice cream and walk back very slowly to your table, or
ask the teacher for permission to go to the bathroom, or
whatever, but beat it. If you are not around, the teacher
can’t blame you and send you to the office. (The voice