Mirror Read Blog 5: Guest- Gillian Graham: Jumping into Puzzles

My son James* (age seven) has autism. He’s reading well, but has taught himself to read whole words by sight.

He didn’t learn to decode or to “sound out” words.  He recognizes very very well. He loves  patterns and puzzles.
He is absolutely fascinated by mirror reading.

It took him a little while to figure out that what he was reading was not a foreign language. For an autistic kids, it can be hard to understand that something can look very different but still be the same thing.  James was a little confused by mirror reading at first because he thought it was a new language – like Russian or Chinese or Hebrew.  But as soon as he figured out that it was English characters – reversed – then it was like a lightbulb went on and he dove right in.

His whole language approach doesn’t serve him here. When he reads Mirror Read books without a mirror, he looks at the words differently. For the first time, I can see him actually try to decode the individual letters, and succeed.

James really is exploring a new dimension in learning.
* not his real name

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