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FAQ on Learning Disabilities

Questions About Dyslexia

How do I know if it is dyslexia?

Dyslexia can be defined as intelligent, bright or even gifted individuals who, for no obvious reason, struggle to learn in reading, writing, spelling, math, focus, organization, time management or social skills.  Dyslexia is the ability to think multi-dimensionally. It is the ability to think in pictures and to register those pictures as real. Therefore, perception may be altered and what is seen or heard will then be inaccurate.

We take the view that the term dyslexia does not just affect reading and can have a wider impact throughout one’s life.

If you think you or a loved one may have dyslexia and want to look into this further, we recommend three things:

1. Visit our list of common characteristics. click here

2. Contact us for a free informal assessment and information seminar. click here

3. Read more about dyslexia in “The Gift of Dyslexia” by Ron Davis. click here

Can I have dyslexia and still read well, but struggle with math, writing or ADD?

Yes, dyslexia is a thought process, a way of thinking, not just a “reading problem.”  It often manifests itself in other areas such as struggles in writing, math, spelling, social skills, time management, organization and more.  Dyslexia, like “learning disabilities,”  is an umbrella for many different diagnosis (click here for a more comprehensive list of alternate diagnosis).


Each program at Rocky Point Academy is individually designed to meet the specific goals of the client.

Why do you call dyslexia a gift?

Dyslexics are primarily picture thinkers and they specialize in mental or sensory imagery. This method of thinking is subliminal, thorough and very fast. Most dyslexics are not aware that this is what they are doing. Since dyslexics think in pictures or imagery, they tend to use global logic and reasoning strategies. They look at the big picture to understand the world around them.

Dyslexics tend to excel in areas such as:

  • strategizing

  • creative endeavors

  • hands-on activities

  • solving real world objective problems

Thinking primarily with images, dyslexics also tend to develop very strong imaginations. They use a picture or feeling based reasoning process to solve problems rather than a verbal one. If they are at first confused (or intrigued), they will mentally move around an object and look at it from different viewpoints or angles. From this thought process, they develop many unique abilities and talents in areas such as:


  • spatial awareness

  • reading people

  • strategic planning

  • music/dancing

  • engineering

  • manual skills

  • artistic ability

  • building

  • piloting vehicles

  • designing

  • mechanical arts

  • drama/role playing

  • athletic ability

  • inventing

  • storytelling

This same ability can also be the foundation for a problem. When disoriented, the individual will experience their own mental images as reality. Most people are able to experience a state of disorientation when looking at an optical illusion, or when exposed to misleading sensory stimuli, such as that created by virtual reality amusement rides. A dyslexic disorients on a daily basis as a reaction to confusion. Disorientation is what occurs when the dyslexic is using their natural problem solving skills. This natural mental response to any confusing sensory information manifests itself as the dyslexic learning style.

Is dyslexia hereditary?

(by Abigail Marshall used with permission)


Scientists believe that there is a genetic influence for dyslexia, but there is no way to predict whether a child of dyslexic parents will develop dyslexia or not.

Researchers who have studied identical twins with reading disabilities have found a little more than 50% correlation among the twins – that is, if one twin has a reading problem, the other twin will have a reading problem only about half the time. From this, they surmise that reading disabilities are are about half due to heredity, and half due to other factors such as the individual’s environment, experiences, education, or upbringing.

Genes on at least eight different chromosomes have been identified as having some role or connection with dyslexia. None of these are implicated in all cases of dyslexia. Thus, whatever genetic influence exists does not come from a single cause, but from a combination of factors.

Do you have a list of recommended reading?

 Our top three choices are:

“The Gift of Dyslexia,” by Ron Davis

“The gift of Learning,” by Ron Davis.

“The Everything Parent’s Guide to Children with Dyslexia” by Abigail Marshall

I want to look into this further, what is the next step?

The next step is to contact us for a complimentary assessment to see if the program is a fit.  This assessment is combined with an information session and takes about an hour.

What does your assessment involve and what will it tell me?

* Please note:  The following are assessments, not “official diagnoses.”  If you need an official diagnosis, please feel free to contact us and we can direct you to a psychologist.

There are several different assessments that are given in order to be sure that a client is successful:


Assessments done during the initial information seminar:

1. The Davis Perceptual Ability Assessment: The purpose of the assessment procedure is to determine whether a person with a learning disability or other perceptual problem is a candidate for the program used at Rocky Point Academy.  The assessment can determine the following:

  • The ability to experience self-created mental images as real world phenomenon.

  • The ability to intentionally access the brain’s perception distortion function.

  • The ability to consciously view mental images three dimensionally.

A tendency or preference to think non-verbally with pictures of concepts and ideas vs. internal dialogue.
When someone has these abilities and is confused, stressed or using creative imagination there may be distortions in the areas of vision, hearing, balance/movement and time. These distortions can cause difficulties with reading, writing, spelling, math, coordination, spatial orientation, speech, hearing, motion, and/or attention focus. They can also be the reason for exceptional talents in creativity, mechanical aptitude, music, dance, art, engineering, strategic planning or athletics.

A positive result indicates that the ability of disorientation can be brought under conscious control and can be turned off when they are a barrier to learning or performance.

Note: If you are from out of town and unable to make it into Calgary for the assessment, please contact us and we can do a phone screening.

2. Motivation Screening: The second portion of the assessment determines whether a child/adult has sufficient motivation to take a program.  Do they realize they have a struggle? and do they want to do something about it? This portion is very important if a client is going to see continued progress after a program.

3. Characteristics Checklist: This form can be filled out ahead and brought with you (click here for the child/student form or here for the adult form) or it can be filled out when you arrive.


Assessments done during a program:

1.Davis Symptoms Profile: Once a client has decided to attend a program a list of strengths and weaknesses will be filled out by the client and a support person (parent, spouse, close friend).  This will enable us to design a program that will use the natural strengths of the client to address the areas of deficits.  It is also helpful in establishing clear goals for the outcome of the program.

2. Pre and Post Academic Levels (This may or may not be included with a program – it will depend on the needs of the client.) In a reading program the Ekwal/Shanker Reading Inventory is used to determine pre and post reading levels for the client.  The math program will generally include a informal assessment to find areas of confusion.

How do I schedule a week?

In order to schedule a week, we require that an assessment is completed by a facilitator.  When the assessment is completed and the program is determined to be a fit, we can register you into a week that works with your schedule. Programs run throughout the year. Contact us here

What does a typical program look like?

A typical program generally runs Monday through Friday for three hours in the morning, a hour off for lunch and three hours in the afternoon.  All programs are provided one-on-one.  Friday afternoon is dedicated to helping those that will be supporting the client after a program (parents, spouses, teachers).  After a program is completed, a client may come in for “follow up sessions” to address any concerns, review material or boost motivation.

For more information click here.

How is this program different than others for reading?

Many reading programs include all the elements of an effective reading program (phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension).  What sets the Davis method apart is that it also addresses the root cause of learning disabilities. The student learns how to control disorientation at will. This program corrects the learning disability using the natural strengths and talents of the individual’s personal thinking and learning style.  It is fun and engages the creativity of the learner.  Many other programs address only the symptoms and involve a lot of repetition (which dyslexics often find boring and tedious).

For more information on our reading program click here.

How is this program different than others for math?

The Davis approach goes to the root of why some people have problems understanding and learning math with traditional teaching methods. The basic building blocks on which all math is built can be completely or partially missing for somone who is dyslexic. Once the foundation concepts for understanding math are mastered and the math functions can be “seen,” math becomes easier. Visual-spatial thinkers may also be confused by the “words” that describe math functions so these words must be mastered.  Davis Math Mastery does not use memorization tricks, flashcards, or repetition.  For more information on our math program click here

How is this program different than others for ADD?

The Davis approach goes to the root causes of why some people have problems controlling their attention, energy level, and social interaction, and resolves them. These root causes are:

  1. they experience the passage of time inconsistently

  2. they think in images rather than in words

  3. they are highly imaginative

  4. they have little or no concept of self as separate from and/or in relation to others

  5. they have little or no concept of time, sequence, order, cause, effect, or consequence.

Commonly seen results:


  • Increased self-esteem

  • Ability to control energy level

  • Improved self-management in social situations

  • Improved ability to maintain attention focus

For more information on our ADD program click here

Why is the program done intensively during one week and is it okay to miss school for a whole week?

Immersion is the easiest and quickest way to create new learning habits.  If the clients goes back into the school/work situation each day, they will resort to what they are familiar with to “get by”.  Being immersed in the program for a week enables the client to become skilled and develop confidence in his/her new tools.  Once these skills are established, they can then successfully apply them in the school/work setting.

The day is broken up into many different activities and breaks are taken between activities in order for optimal learning to occur.

Although the client is missing five days of school, they are gaining tools that will make learning easier. This is often preferable to waiting until school is out for needed help.

Most teachers agree that an intensive one-on-one program is the most conducive way to learn information quickly and thoroughly. Generally, teachers are very understanding and assign minimal homework for the missed week.

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