Slipping Through The Cracks


Joe didn’t know where to start. He slipped through the cracks. He didn’t develop strong reading and writing skills before leaving school after grade 10. A young family and supportive wife sent Joe to The Learning Place after the loss of his job. Here he improved the skills he needed to help him find a new job. Now a parking control officer, Joe is a happy, contributing member of both the workforce and his community.

Joe’s story is an unfortunate one, particularly because it’s a common one -- a student “slipping through the cracks”, resulting in low level literacy and basic skills. If that student successfully goes through life “hiding” their low level literacy problem, chances are that they do little to nothing to improve it because they become good at concealing it.

It can be difficult to identify illiteracy because it carries such a stigma. A recent study found that some people find literacy problems more embarrassing than an incestuous relationship.

    Does Canada have a literacy crisis?
  • Four in 10 high school youth have insufficient reading skills. Two in 10 university graduates, five in 10 adults, and six in 10 immigrants also have insufficient literacy skills… While both levels of government are engaged in literacy programs, there is little evidence that it is working. Canada is losing billions because of illiteracy. (Toronto Dominion Report – Literacy Matters, 2007).
  • By 2031, more than 15 million Canadian adults — three million more than today — will have low literacy levels. The rise will be greatest in Ottawa (80%, to 500,000 adults). The number of Canadian adults with low literacy levels will increase 25% in the next two decades, creating a "literacy dilemma" if the problem isn't addressed immediately. (Canadian Council on Learning, The Future of Literacy in Canada's Largest Cities report, Sep 8, 2010)
  • With health-literacy skills considered to be at level two and below, 60% of adult Canadians lack the capacity to obtain, understand and act upon health information and services and to make appropriate health decisions on their own. (Canadian Council on Learning Health Literacy in Canada. 2007)
Do you know someone, whether it’s a family member, friend, employee, or colleague, who has difficulty maintaining employment? Do they tend to bounce from job to job without longevity, or whenever you give them something to read, they always say they left their reading glasses at home? Chances are that low level literacy may be the culprit. Don’t let them slip through the cracks any more, refer them to The Learning Place. We’ll help them change their life for the better.

Overcoming Adult Dyslexia


“The looks, the stares, the giggles…I wanted to show everybody that I could do better and also that I could read.” ~Magic Johnson

Over the years, there have been numerous definitions and descriptions of what dyslexia is and how it can be identified. At first it was described as word blindness, then as strephosymbolia, meaning a twisting of symbols, and eventually as dyslexia. The word dyslexia comes from the Greek dus/dys meaning bad or difficult and lexis meaning word, vocabulary or language.

Dyslexia can be written about in terms of how one learns to read and write; or in terms of subtle differences in the way the brain responds to the written word. These differences make it difficult to learn to read, write and, sometimes, deal with numbers.
On the other side, it is documented that people with dyslexia can be more advanced in the way they see, understand and process nonverbal information and can be very creative and novel in problem solving.
Many adults with dyslexia are very thorough, because they leave nothing to chance. They plan carefully because they have to be prepared. Having had to work much harder than their peers while at school or college, they develop the ability to apply themselves to a task and persevere despite setbacks.
As an adult asking yourself 'am I dyslexic?' can be a scary question. You may be worried an assessment would confirm that you are indeed dyslexic. On the flip side, you may be concerned that a test would show that you are not dyslexic and have other learning issues. Nevertheless finding out one way or the other will have a positive impact on your life. It’s important to discover just why a learning difficulty exists, because unless you know the precise nature of the problem, it’s not going to be possible to deal with it effectively. Psycho-educational assessment for adults is about pinpointing the difficulty and advising on remediation. It’s not about putting a label on the person.

Even if a person is affected with adult dyslexia, it can mean that they will be weak learners in just one aspect like reading or writing. It does not mean that they are dumb and worthless.

They may be very talented in some other fields that don’t involve reading and writing, such as painting etc. The amendment in learning strategies must be made on the basis of the unique talent that the person possesses.

Recognize that feelings of rejection are normal with dyslexia. In general, a person with dyslexia does not get a good response from their surroundings. People at school, in their neighborhood, and even their immediate family, often start to taunt them or ridicule them, considering them to be dumb and stupid or just plain lazy. This can have severe impact on the person’s self-confidence, causing feelings of isolation and rejection.

Therefore, once the problem is identified, through a dyslexia test, proper actions must be taken showing that they have the talent to achieve success. It can be difficult to win self-confidence back but that’s why this is the stage that must be won before coping is possible.

One way to improve the reading and writing skills of someone who has dyslexia, is by focusing on building the phonetic decoding skills. Since dyslexia causes slower reading, teaching to break words into their basic sounds and then rearrange these sounds to produce different words is very beneficial. Such training will gradually help an adult with dyslexia learn to read more accurately and at a higher speed.

We all know how challenging life can be when you can’t read and write properly. This is why it is so important to maintain determination and never give up trying.

Contact The Learning Place at (905) 793-5400 or visit our website at

“Learning is the only thing the mind never exhausts, never fears, and never regrets.” ~Leonardo Da Vinci

Dyslexia Indicators in Adults


Dyslexia can be written about in terms of how one learns to read and write; or in terms of subtle differences in the way the brain responds to the written word. These differences make it difficult to learn to read, write and, sometimes, deal with numbers.

    Below are is a list of indicators* which may show that dyslexia may be present. When looking at the list of indicators, remember:
  • No person will have all the indicators.
  • Many people will have several of the indicators.
  • Some indicators are more common than others.
  • The number of indicators observed does not indicate whether the dyslexia is mild, moderate or severe.
  • Everyone has strengths and weaknesses so people who do not have dyslexia will relate to a few of the signs. People who have dyslexia will tend to relate to a significant number of the following indicators.
    Indicators of a possible learning difficulty arising from dyslexia in adults:
  • Difficulty with reading aloud.
  • Difficulty with reading unfamiliar material.
  • Tendency to mispronounce or misread words.
  • Slow pace of reading.
  • Reading for information only, not for pleasure.
  • Understanding more easily when listening than when reading.
  • Difficulty with spelling.
  • Finding it hard to visualize words, or remember the sequence of letters in a word.
  • Difficulty with sentence construction and punctuation.
  • Difficulty putting information on paper.
  • Difficulty in spotting mistakes made in written work.
  • Finding it easier to express thoughts in words than in writing.
  • Underachieving at school, particularly in exams.
  • Having immature or ill formed handwriting.
  • Tendency to be clumsy and uncoordinated.
  • Confusing left and right.
  • Finding it hard to remember things in sequence.
  • Difficulty in remembering new information or new names.
  • Getting phone messages wrong.
  • Confusion with times and dates and appointments.
  • Getting phone numbers wrong by perhaps reversing digits.
  • Making ʻsillyʼ mistakes in calculations.
  • Having ʻgoodʼ days and ʻbadʼ days.
  • Poor short-term memory.
  • Having close family members with dyslexia.
If you’re an adult who suspects that you or someone you know may have dyslexia, contact The Learning Place at (905) 793-5400 or visit our website at “Learning is the only thing the mind never exhausts, never fears, and never regrets.” ~Leonardo Da Vinci *Source:

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