Before you can overcome dyslexia, you must first admit you have dyslexia. Then, you must have the motivation to reach out for help – intervention. Diminishing dyslexia as an adult is life-changing!
I wondered for years if I had dyslexia, attention deficits with hyperactivity (ADHD), or both. Yes, I most likely had both. I said, had because I am no longer hyperactive with attention deficits.
During my teen years, a move to a farm drastically changed my diet. My ADHD simply went away. I was thrilled to have newfound energy. As an adult, intervention and dietary changes were life-changing helping me diminish dyslexia, improve sound tolerance, and calm my brain.
How I Improved Clarity of Speech, Diminishing Dyslexia
My dad remarried when I was a preschooler. He and my birth mother were from New England. My stepmother was from the deep south, Georgia. I remember her jokingly sharing that she retaught me how to talk. Now, I know that much more was occurring than just a new cultural exchange of vocabulary. She would be shocked to learn that I now write a weekly blog.
Thank you, mom, for teaching me how to write! For caring enough to proofread every college paper. And, for continuing to correct how I said a word until our Lord took you unto himself.
When I completed two Berard-Based Auditory Integration Training, six months apart, I told nobody in my family. Imagine my surprise when my father exclaimed, “Did you complete auditory training! For the first time in my life, I can understand what you are saying.” I stood there in shock because I had only spoken two sentences. I was still standing outside having just knocked on his door. Wow! I had no idea that for 44 years others struggled to understand what I was saying.
Ear Infections Contributed to Unclear Speech and Sound Intolerance Into Adulthood
Unfortunately, I suffered ear infections until age eight. Ear infections impact brain development. I remember sucking my thumb to relieve discomfort in my ears as a child.
Looking back, I am positive that my unknown milk intolerance caused inflammation in my ear’s eustachian tubes. When eustachian tubes are inflamed, fluid builds up in the middle ear with or without an ear infection. Consequently, you hear distorted, unclear speech. Why am I so sure? Because eliminating all dairy from my diet at age 48 eliminated my ear pain. However, when I enjoy a dairy treat, my ears will hurt for a day or two. When I listen, speech sounds muffled and more difficult to understand.
Our speech develops based on how we hear others and ourselves. That is why a child with hearing loss has unclear speech.
I am looking forward to completing training in an iLS Integrated Training program called VoicePro designed to improve listening, speech, and articulation. Since losing part of my vision and experiencing significant inflammation from mold exposure, I am once again struggling with expressive speech difficulties.
Improving Attention, Focus
I remember attending an event as a young adult. Of course, there was a dinner. After eating, sitting felt like torture. I needed to move! I decided to figure out what the heck I was eating that made me feel so crazy. Initially, I tried a food elimination diet.
Removing milk sugar helped for the next ten years. Later, IGG food testing revealed an intolerance to casein found in milk and pork. When I eliminated all dairy and gluten from my diet, I felt improvement in my hearing. What I heard was louder and clearer. By then, I was in my forties! Diet can improve your focus.
Sound Intolerance Can Coexist with Dyslexia
Covering my ears occurred so often that my father started correcting my behavior. He had no idea how much discomfort I experienced from sound. Nobody thought to ask me what I felt. If they had, I would have told them that somebody was putting needles in my ear.
Sound intolerance is greatly misunderstood. Diminished hearing weakens your hearing system. Thus, you are unable to tolerate loud sounds. Strengthening my hearing system with Berard-Based Auditory Integration Training took a year. To this day, I am able to tolerate all sounds except the ones that are supposed to bother you like a barking dog or a siren.
Berard-Based Auditory Integration Training is the only program with the option of adding more volume in one ear. I must listen with more volume in my right ear or my expressive speech difficulties return. Actually, I found that out the hard way. I share the importance of Right Ear Advantage in my video, Who Knew How You Hear Your Own Voice Affects Speech Fluency?
Admitting I Had Dyslexia as an Adult
My own daughter’s diagnosis of Dyslexia confirmed for me that I indeed had Dyslexia. Like me, she struggled to spell and learn how to read. At first, I thought she was a late bloomer and would simply outgrow her reading difficulties. My reading did not take off until age eight, so she was simply like her mama.
The most ironic part of her story and my story is that I am a special education teacher. I knew how to modify her curriculum and the importance of one-on-one teaching. Thus, I homeschooled waiting for her to bloom. That is until the emotional distress and frustrations made me realize I needed to act.
I think that I learned more during my years of homeschooling three children in all subjects than all the years of university education and teaching public school put together.
When My Awareness of Dyslexia Began
I remember my special education college professor bemusing out loud after watching me teach reading, “Now, I understand.” She never told me what she understood. I was too embarrassed over my inability to correctly enunciate a few fifth-grade reading words to ask.
Later, I saw no point in seeking out an explanation for my difficulties in correctly enunciating words. I recognized the behavioral characteristics of dyslexia. What was the point? While in school, I earned straight A’s. In college, I earned mostly A’s. Now, I was no longer in school.
Upon reflection, the point of seeking a diagnosis as an adult is to gain a greater understanding of your struggles. Most importantly, the diagnosis helps you explore neuro-based intervention to diminish your difficulties. You can change your brain. That is why stroke victims can regain the ability to talk, walk, and use their hands. Today, we know that neuroplasticity of the brain allows us to retrain the brain. For example, researchers found that auditory integration training strengthened an auditory neural pathways.
Diminishing Dyslexia as an Adult is Life-Changing
When did I become motivated as an adult to seek life-changing help? About the time I realized that two out of my three children inherited a mixture of my learning challenges.
It was life-changing for me because I improved my communication skills with my husband, children, and others. I could speak without thinking about every word. It felt foreign, but wonderful, to talk confidently knowing the words would simply flow out of my brain through my mouth.
Working at your level of intelligence removes the need to cope, to hide your struggles. Think of it as taking off a heavy backpack, a burden.
You can finally enjoy group conversations, share your thoughts, and feel understood.
Recognizing Full Impact of Dyslexia on My Life
I failed to fully understand how much dyslexia had and was still affecting my life until I understood auditory processing difficulties. Here are some memories that may help you understand your child, a loved one, or even a friend.
Much to my siblings’ dismay, I talked so much that they nicknamed me chatterbox. Talking out loud is how I organized my thoughts. I lacked an inner voice.
Often, I seemed to question what I just heard. However, repeating what I heard with a question in my tone of voice helped me make sure that I understood what I was hearing.
Memorization was very difficult for me. The word, the answer, would stay stuck in my head. I knew what the word meant but had no idea how to spell or say the word. Taking a test and having a conversation was challenging.
I annoyed others with my brainstorming ideas. It was just the way my brain sorted through the details, the steps ahead to arrive at the goal.
Understanding that dyslexia meant spelling and word retrieval difficulties, which are both auditory processing weaknesses, helped me accept the way my brain worked. It also helped me focus on looking for interventions that would strengthen my auditory processing skills and diminish my dyslexia.
The Gift of Learning Challenges
On a positive note, my learning challenges resulted in the development of analytical skills, problem-solving, and tenacity. I figured out ways to get around my difficulties. I wanted good grades, so I worked very hard to get them.
Creativity helps you cope with all the roadblocks a struggling learner experiences at home and away from home.
At Any Age, Intervention Is Life-Changing
The statement above is so true. I feel blessed that striving to diminish my children’s learning challenges also provided me with much-needed help to diminish my dyslexia.
Berard-Based Auditory Integration Training
The simplicity of completing the In-home Berard-Based Auditory Integration Training (AIT) still leaves me in awe. There is much work leading up to it but completing AIT only takes one hour, twice a day for ten to fourteen days. Since your brain never turns off your hearing, your auditory system keeps getting stronger.
After Berard-Based Auditory Integration Training, I developed my inner thinking voice, remembered what I studied, and so much more. Now, I could learn to focus on listening without interrupting.
My Concussion Exasperated My Dyslexia
While my brain was still developing right before my 19th birthday, I suffered a concussion. Did you know that your brain develops until age 26? This period of development is as critical as your preschool years.
During my work with concussion clients, I found many struggled with sound intolerance and/or learning difficulties before their concussion. Like me, they often had undiagnosed visual processing difficulties.
Ask for Life-Changing Intervention
Do you still need motivation to diminish dyslexia and other auditory processing or sound tolerance challenges? If so, I share from personal experience that cognitive weaknesses from our developmental years are compounded by age-related hearing loss and age-related vision loss like cataracts. However, it does not have to be a “normal” part of aging.
I encourage you to read about the Moore Auditory-Visual Questionnaires to learn more.
Life does not occur in a vacuum. Whatever you experience physically or emotionally, you may discover that you are no longer able to cope with your challenges.
Whatever your struggles, I hope you reach out for help.
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