'In the case of five-syllable words he could not say them, let alone spell them'
"Even in the case of three-letter words, Brenda would say hesitantly, 'Is it right?' Progress was by no means uniform. One of my reports, six months from the start, reads: 'Evening of despair. Brenda had a cold, which may account for some of it. Even so she showed remarkable disability. Starting with "point?" she could not even make the "oi" noise. We went laboriously through other words I had put on a list, with Brenda guessing wildly.
Definite relapse. We shall never get far at this rate.' The report for the next week, however, is more encouraging: 'Brenda much brighter. Went through last time's list without much trouble'.
"During a dictation test Michael produced the following: 'Mi deg cet his lug on an open ten' and 'I sra har ran bie in the wet'.
"He had a similar programme to Brenda, being gradually introduced to the 'noises' made by different vowel sounds. In later sessions, when he was aged about 11 and I could ask him to spell long words such as 'discrimination', I found that in the case of four or five-syllable words he could not even say them without confusion, let alone spell them... "It was not until many years later that I realised becoming 'tied up' when saying certain long words could be an indicator of dyslexia. Looking back, I am now aware that there were many interesting points about Brenda's and Michael's spelling errors whose significance I did not appreciate at the time.
"The commonly accepted view nowadays is that dyslexics have a deficit in the area of phonology, that is in the recognising, remembering and ordering of speech sounds. That idea had not yet come to the fore; nor had the concept of multisensory teaching. But in so far as I trained Michael and Brenda to pay attention to their tongue, lip and mouth movements as they said the words, I was in a sense giving them multisensory teaching without realising it."
Copyright Tim Miles, from Fifty Years in Dyslexia Research