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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Neither Contradictory Nor Coincidental

  • Author(s): Stevenson, Laura Jane
  • Advisor(s): Daniel, Sharon
  • et al.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition defines dyslexia as “a pattern of learning difficulties characterized by problems with accurate or fluent word recognition, poor decoding, and poor spelling abilities” (67). Few, however, understand the complexities of its neurologic make up or recognize the key strengths with which dyslexia is associated. Because of this, the current education system tends to cater to non-dyslexic students and often prevents dyslexic individuals from reaching their full potential. The purpose of this paper is to describe the cognitive benefits of the dyslexic processing style and reveal the ways in which the public school system fails dyslexic students. Toward this purpose, this paper examines responses to qualitative interviews collected from various sources and discusses recent findings in neuroscience and educational psychology. Neither Contradictory Nor Coincidental is an interactive video installation aimed to raise awareness around this issue. The piece includes audio from interviews with twenty dyslexic individuals and a transcription of each. By placing text in a three-dimensional environment the piece highlights the dyslexic mind’s strength in processing three-dimensional material. While navigating the piece the viewer is able to experience how challenging it is to interpret written information in an environment far more suitable for three-dimensional elements, which is precisely why dyslexic individuals struggle to read. Broadly speaking, the piece is aims to shift the stigma that accompanies dyslexia, and reveals the harmful effects of the public education system can have on dyslexic students.

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