The results of our survey are in, and there’s lots to share! This post will be an overview.
Let us start by saying, “Thank you!” All told you provided over 900 responses in under 2 days! With this kind of involvement we can truly do great things together in crowdsourcing dyslexia!
In this post, we’ll give an overview of the basic results.
Who We Surveyed
The survey was directed to three groups:
- Adults with dyslexia
- Parents of dyslexic children
What The Survey Asked
Each group was asked the same basic question:
“The success of dyslexic individuals, both in school and work, is often believed to depend on a mix of the following factors:
#1. Having Fixed their reading, spelling, and other problems.
#2. Discovering and developing their Strengths.
While other factors (hard work, support of others, luck, etc.) likely also play a role in their success, in this survey we’ll ask you to consider only the role played by these two factors.
Question: How much do you believe either:
–your success (for dyslexic adults); or,
–the success of a typical dyslexic person (for parents and teachers);
is due to having Fixed dyslexic challenges (reading, spelling, etc.) versus discovering and developing Strengths?
- 100% Fixed, 0% Strengths
- 75% Fixed, 25% Strengths
- 50% Fixed, 50% Strengths
- 25% Fixed, 75% Strengths
- 0% Fixed, 100% Strengths”
Survey Strengths and Weaknesses
In this survey, we asked respondents to divide responsibility for an outcome (success) entirely to two pre-defined choices (fixing problems versus developing strengths). This is obviously a great oversimplification of a very complex reality. Yet this is also the level on which these issues are often discussed both in informal conversations and even, remarkably, in policy meetings. Our purpose in this survey was to understand basic opinions and how words are used—to get a “view from 40,000 feet”—among the major constituency groups within the DA community on this issue. The goal of this survey is to begin a conversation, not to end one. So to all of you in particular who didn’t like the term ‘fixed’ or the lack of nuance in the options, we hear you. We don’t like them either. But they do reflect realities we—and the students and adults we work with—deal with every day.
How Each Group Responded
In total, at the time of writing we had 272 responses from dyslexic adults, 533 from parents of dyslexic children, and 106 from teachers, for a total of 911.
Averaging the responses within each group we obtained these results:
- Dyslexic adults (ages 18 and up): 30% Fixing / 70% Strengths
- Parents of Dyslexic Children: 37% Fixing / 63% Strengths
- Teachers: 37% Fixing / 63% Strengths
Here are the actual responses:
Differences Between The Groups
Of the three groups, dyslexic adults attributed the greatest importance to discovering and developing strengths. Parents and teachers were similar in their responses.
All groups agreed in attributing major importance to discovering and developing strengths. It’s important to remember that everyone who participated in this study is connected in some way with the DA community, so these numbers may be higher than would be found in the general population due to that selection factor. We’re currently attempting to repeat these surveys in groups that haven’t been exposed to the “DA message”.
Within our community, the differences among the groups is greatest in the proportion who selected “0% Fixed, 100% Strengths”. 11% of teachers selected this option (9% among those who considered themselves “expert” in teaching dyslexic students), as did 13% of parents. But fully 25% of dyslexic adults felt that 100% of their life success was due to discovering and developing their strengths.
Clearly, one takeaway from this survey is that the DA community places great emphasis on the importance of ‘discovering and developing strengths’.
In future posts we’ll try to flesh out what that means. As we’ll discuss, many respondents added comments to their surveys indicating that they saw an important interaction between strengths and fixing. They believed that by first discovering and developing strengths in learning, students will be better prepared to ‘fix’ their learning challenges. We entirely agree, and we’ll discuss this in detail in upcoming posts. We’ll also discuss several additional findings of interest from this survey.
Thanks again to everyone who participated in the survey! And be sure to watch for additional surveys in upcoming days and weeks. Working together as a community we can accomplish things for people with dyslexia that can’t be done any other way!
TEACHERS: If you belong to a listserv of teachers who are not connected with DA and you would be willing to distribute the Teachers Survey to that group, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!